The easy sign to tell if your skincare products have expired that you might be ignoring

Are you guilty of ignoring this?

sign skincare has expired
(Image credit: Getty Images)

Did you know there's a super easy to way to tell if your skincare products have expired that you might be totally overlooking?

If you're anything like us, you probably have a drawer (or two... or three) that's basically full of skincare products that are half-used. Of course, this isn't totally ideal if we're trying to be economical about our beauty purchases. On the flip side, you may be one of those people who uses only a handful of products for months, calling on your old reliables to always get the job done. 

Did you know, though, that these products may have expired and you didn't even know it?

Sad, but true. Experts from Kiehl's Skincare revealed to woman&home that there is one sign you should always look out for to see if any of your products have expired - and you could be easily missing it.

sign skincare has expired

(Image credit: Getty Images)

According to Kiehl's Skincare experts, "Products naturally degrade slowly over time even when stored correctly. Some last longer than others depending on the ingredients, preservatives in the formula and the way they’re packaged."

How do I know if my skincare products are expired?

The experts said the tell-tale sign of an expired product is if it suddenly starts making you itch when you apply it - especially if it didn't itch before. "If you’re suddenly getting itchy from a product you’ve had for a while it’s definitely time to let go and bin it," they said.

You can also search on your product for a POA (period after opening) label that will typically give you a six or twelve month warning for product expiry. 

If there's no POA and you're not sensing any itchiness, Kiehl's says to take a deep look at your product if you're suspicious it may be expired. 

Check for:

  1. The smell - is it funky?
  2. Is the colour different?
  3. Has the texture become different?
  4. Has the product separated?

If the answer is "yes" to any of these questions, it's time to toss. 

Woman applying sunscreen SPF to her face in the restroom mirror

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Worrying about whether you've used expired products lately? It shouldn't do much harm - but Kiehl's doesn't recommend using an expired product. 

"First up, they won’t be as effective. Active ingredients break down over time and there’s potential for chemicals to alter," they said. So for example, if you have a sunscreen that you think could be expired, it won't be effective in protectung you from the sun, causing you to get burnt. 

"Expired products will also become full of bacteria and transferring that to your skin might cause redness, a mild rash or an eye infection. Because of this, expired products need to be discarded," they said. "If you have sensitive skin, then you’ll want to be extra vigilant."

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream £53 | Kiehls UK

Kiehl's Ultra Facial Cream £53 | Kiehls UK 

This classic cream deeply nourishes with olive-derived squalane and botanical oils. It's loved by all for its ultra-light, non-greasy texture, it's fragrance-free so suits sensitive types and helps your skin hold onto hydration during extreme winter temperatures. 

Madeline Merinuk
US Lifestyle News Writer

Madeline Merinuk is woman&home's US lifestyle news writer, covering celebrity, entertainment, fashion, and beauty news.

She graduated in 2021 with a B.A. in Journalism from Hofstra University, winning multiple student journalism awards, including a National Hearst Award, during her time there. After graduating, she worked at, the digital site for the Today Show, where she wrote pop culture news and interviewed big-name personalities like Emily Ratajkowski, Haley Lu Richardson, Emma Corrin, and more.

Her personal interests, in no particular order, are: cheese, Joni Mitchell, reading, hot yoga, traveling, having multiple chapsticks in every handbag at all times, and dancing to ABBA songs as if she were in the Mamma Mia movies.