The amount of money we spend annually on cosmetics here in the United States is more than $8 billion. So, it's understandable that you might be a little reluctant to throw away half-full bottles of mascara or an almost-full eye shadow. But, experts are telling us we should do just that because outdated makeup could make you sick.
“Most women do have a drawer full of cosmetics that have been partially used,” says Angela Bowers, M.D., dermatologist on the medical staff at Baylor Regional Medical Center at Grapevine. Since cosmetics usually don’t include expiration dates, it’s difficult to know when to discard them, but you should start keeping track from the day you first open the makeup.
Mascara and eye liner last the least amount of time and should be thrown out after only three months. “The bacteria can get in and the preservatives might not be working quite as well as they were when you first opened it. If you get some of that in your eye you may develop conjunctivitis which we know as ‘pink-eye,’” explains Dr. Bowers. In addition to causing breakouts, outdated cosmetics could also lead to more serious skin problems. Sharing certain cosmetics, such as lipstick, can even spread a strain of herpes that could give you cold sores.
Here are some expiration dates according to Marie Claire Magazine and Dr. David Schlessinger, a board-certified oculoplastic surgeon and ophthalmologist, and medical director of Schlessinger Eye & Face:
Powders and shadows: 2 years
Cream shadows: 12 to 18 months
Foundation: 1 year
Lipstick & lip liner: 1 year
Mascara & eyeliners: 3 months
Makeup brushes: Clean weekly using a mild detergent – I like Dawn dishwashing detergent for getting the oils out.
Start the New Year off with a new batch of cosmetics and throw away the old stuff you've been stashing away for years.
Happy and a healthy 2011.