Does Moisturizer Expire? How Long Would a Moisturizer Last?

does moisturizer expire
It is usually the expiration date of a moisturizer that determines how long it will last once it has been opened.

Moisturizers are often regarded as the best of all. And this could be because no matter what skin problems you have or what skin type you have, using a moisturizer on your skin will solve about half of your problems. So, what makes them so beneficial to the skin? The main reason would be that the moisturizers would cure the dryness of the skin. Even when you have very oily skin, the skin still needs hydration. And this is why using a moisturizer would just make things fall into place.

And this is why the claim that a moisturizer is the best treatment for the skin would not be an overstatement. When we think about moisturizers, the chances of them making a big difference on someone’s skin are pretty high. When the skin care industry was younger, the chances of skin care were limited to a moisturizer. And even our grandmothers only used moisturizer. But does it mean that we can use our mothers’ moisturizer? Well, no, you shouldn’t really use an oil-based moisturizer. So does moisturizer expire?

Yes, like all the skin care products on the market, moisturizers also come with an expiration date. In general, it is assumed that moisturizers would have an expiration date of six to twelve months. The expiry date is usually listed alongside the product’s ingredients. And that is why we say that the expiration date of a moisturizer is set along with the expiration date of the preservative. Even though the moisturizers do come with an expiration date, the chances of them going bad immediately after the expiration date are low. Most moisturizers come in 100- to 150-gram sizes. And even when you use a moisturizer daily, the chances of it being empty within six months are not really predictable. So when you store a moisturizer correctly, the chances of it lasting a long time are very high.

What are moisturizers made of?

What are moisturizers made of

Do all moisturizers thus have the same aspects? Not at all. Instead, the elements we listed are only the foundations. There is a good probability that every moisturizer may burn your face if you are sensitive to any of them. Moisturizers are largely emollients and lipids, but they also contain additional components to help them function. Some of the moisturizer’s important components will be included below.


A moisturizer is best described as an oil-in-water emulsion. So the main element seen is water. While applying the product, the water evaporates, but part of it may still soak in. The skin will feel oily and will not absorb the oils if no water breaks down the fats. That is why water is the most fundamental moisturizer. Most significantly, they do not trigger allergic reactions on the skin.


Glycerine is the best demonstration of a humectant. These kinds of products tend to leak water from the air into the skin’s deep layer. When there is less water in the air, they function in reverse. Water is absorbed from the skin in this manner, leaving it dry. This is why moisturizers are designed for certain climates. However, humectants will generally trap water in the skin.


The moisturizer’s oil serves as an occlusive, keeping water from evaporating. Petroleum is the most prevalent and persistent element in moisturizers. Others, such as fatty alcohol, lanolin, paraffin, lecithin, and stearic acid, are not minerals. Ingredients containing silicone can also be utilized. Moisturizers containing dimethicone do not seem sticky and feel very smooth on the skin. However, some moisturizers include just natural components.


Some occlusive substances serve as emollients and have a tendency to smooth down the skin, while some humectants also have this impact. The majority of moisturizers include alcohol, which may trigger allergies and burns.

These are some of the components that moisturizers must include. In addition, vitamins A and E are utilized; vitamin A is a great anti-aging supplement since it increases the creation of collagen. Additionally, vitamin C acts as an antioxidant and gives the skin a noticeable glow.

Many times, aloe is applied to soothe the skin. We’ll come back to this topic afterward. Lactic acid is a constituent of many moisturizers, which may be the cause of skin burns.

A moisturizer’s functionalities

Why should you avoid expired moisturizers

Most moisturizers expire after a year. When you keep a moisturizer, however, the chances of it lasting a long time increase by up to two years. And by that, we mean as long as the moisturizer doesn’t lose its product integrity, you can definitely use the product. Most moisturizers seem to work in one direction, which is to hydrate the skin. But there are several kinds of moisturizers on the market, and according to how they are made, the chances of them going wrong or expiring also change.

The moisturizer serves as a means of hydration and can be enhanced by the addition of relaxing ingredients. Additionally, it guards against skin drying out. Here, we’ll go over some of a moisturizer’s fundamental duties.

1. Water retention is avoided

The outer layer of the skin, known as the epidermal layer, is where moisturizers mostly act. Additionally, it will prevent any dryness or patchiness.

2. Healthy, radiant skin

The worst feeling and appearance is dry skin. So, with a little moisturizer, the skin returns to normal and receives an increase in moisture. By capturing the water vapor that sticks to the face, moisturizers make the skin supple.

3. It helps with wrinkles and fine lines

If the skin is overly dry, there is a danger that it can strain and eventually stretch, leading to the more noticeable indications of age. This is primarily visible on the smile line, around the eyes, and hands.

4. It soothes the skin and effects a barrier

Last but not least, they have a tendency to repair the skin from the inside out, ensuring that the skin is healed and at ease. Ceramides, aloe vera, and other moisturizing substances are typically included in moisturizers to make them more calming.

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How do I check the expiry date of the moisturizers?

How do i check the expiry date of the moisturizers

For those that are water-based, they tend to last a bit longer than those that are completely fat-based. The reason for this is that the expiration date of the fatty moisturizers is heavily dependent on the expiration date of the preservatives. That is how the most common terms for a moisturizer are formed. Well, even when the expiration date of a moisturizer is not near, it might still go bad as it is stored in a humid and warm corner of the house. The oils and water would separate, and instead of looking hydrating on the skin, they would just look clumpy and oily. And that is how you know when to throw out a moisturizer. Here we’ll be including some facts on how you can decide on the shelf life of your tretinoin:


Well, the most common way to check the expiration date of a moisturizer is by checking the website for an actual date. The brand’s website will clearly mention how long the moisturizer will last and how long it will be usable. You can definitely check the bar code, PAO date, etc., for the moisturizer on the website.

The documentation

Well, this might not be the actual and useful thing, but the moisturizers that come with a prescription will always come with a small note on how to use a moisturizer, and this will also include the manufacturing date and the expiration date. This kind of documentation would most likely include the terms of how long you can keep using the moisturizer, and the dates are mostly sealed on the note.

Period after opening

The PAO sign, which is mostly shown on the back of the tube, is another name for this. Only the items that are not packaged with wrapping will display the PAO symbol. Following the moment you begin using it, the time after opening indications will be measured. And if it says “12M/6M/24M” on it, it signifies that when you open the packaging, the goods will generally last for a year. When the packaging has 24M written on it, the item has a two-year shelf life after unpacking.

Bar code

For the following term, one would inspect the bar code of the items to see when the moisturizer would expire. Additionally, some of the items will include a batch code that may be accessed by scanning the product on their website. The serial numbers are each exclusive to that product and clearly display the expiration date. The batch code sign consists of about 11 digits.

On the packaging

Finally, looking at the box would be the simplest approach to determine when the moisturizer has expired. Typically, the date is written right on the tube on the back of the box. Most frequently, the manufacture and expiration dates will be next to each other, allowing you to clearly comprehend the expiration date. In general, the manufacturing date should be close to the date of purchase, and the expiration date should be distant in the future.

How can you tell if your moisturizer has gone bad?

There are a few things to think about while applying anything to our faces, and the first thing that comes to mind is whether or not the product has expired. The likelihood of a moisturizer going bad right away after it expires is quite slim. However, the chronology and the fact that the moisturizer has fully degraded are relevant information. And it’s affected by a huge number of elements. When a producer places an expiration date on a product, they usually consider the worst-case scenario and so keep the efficacy of the product in mind before providing a date. Even if the moisturizer’s expiration date is many years away, if it is not properly stored, the product might lose its effectiveness. Here are some of the ways to tell whether the moisturizer is expired or not:

  1. The product will begin to lose its texture or color.
  2. The product won’t be as productive or beneficial as it once was.
  3. Allergies and rashes might develop.
  4. A burning feeling as a result of the active chemicals becoming their opposite due to deterioration.
  5. The moisturizer won’t work and can possibly make breakouts severe.
  6. The entirety of the moisturizer’s credibility will be compromised.

Why should you avoid expired moisturizers?

Why should you avoid expired moisturizers

What happens when you use an expired moisturizer? Well, there can be two different scenarios when you use expired moisturizer. The first is that nothing happens to your skin, and the moisturizer is less effective. And the second part could be that the moisturizers would break out your skin. Here are some more reasons to avoid using an expired moisturizer:

  • When you use an expired moisturizer, you are more likely to get a bacterial infection. And this can break you out and even cause severe skin problems.
  • The moisturizer would clog the pores and suffocate the skin. And this would also make the other skin care products unworthy.
  • An expired moisturizer might dry out the skin more, leading to a disaster.
  • Rashes and allergies are also common when you use a bad moisturizer. They might even burn the skin.
  • The expired moisturizers would make the makeup on top look patchy and uneven. As they are separated on their own, they won’t work nicely with the skin prep and makeup.


1. Can I use expired moisturizer?

You shouldn’t use an expired moisturizer. But even after the expiration date for the moisturizer has passed and the product is intact and good to go, you can keep using it until you see problems.

2. Does lotion expire if not opened?

Yes, even if the lotion is not opened, it will expire because the expiration date is calculated from the date of manufacture rather than the date of opening.

Final Thoughts

The expiry date of a moisturizer would undoubtedly differ depending on how it is manufactured and the company that manufactures it. Again, some moisturizers may contain active ingredients in addition to the usual ones, and those products may expire sooner than expected. And these are the kinds of moisturizers that would tremendously highlight the expiration date on a product. Apart from these unusual and hyperactive moisturizers, the general moisturizers would come up with the basic ingredients and would last longer than what is written on the bottle.

So, whenever you use a specialized moisturizer, you should probably check the expiration date before purchasing and make sure the manufacturing date is not more than two to three months. And as soon as the time is up, replace the product. And general moisturizers might be over before the expiration date but take notes. Or you can just grab a marker and write the date behind the cream. And check the moisturizer’s consistency before applying it to the skin, just to be safe.

Key Points

  1. Moisturizers have an expiration date, just like other skincare items on the market. Moisturizers are often thought to have a shelf life of six to twelve months. The product’s components are often given together with the expiration date.
  2. The reason for this is that the fatty moisturizers’ expiry date is strongly influenced by the preservatives. The most typical phrases for a moisturizer are created in this manner. A moisturizer may still go bad even though its expiration date is far off if it is kept in a warm, humid area of the house.
  3. Manufacturers sometimes take the worst-case scenario into account when putting an expiration date on a product. Thus they keep the product’s effectiveness in mind before giving a date.

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