Does Glycolic Acid Expire? Here’s What You Need to Know

Glycolic acid is a great product to help reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles and reveal smoother skin. However, does the age of your glycolic acid product affect its efficiency? In this article, we did the research to give you a detailed overview of how you can extend the life of your glycolic acid products.

Glycolic acid and similar products typically last two to three months after they have been opened. If the product is unopened, glycolic acid typically has a shelf life of nine months to one year. After this period, the product will start to dry out and can potentially become more potent, causing skin irritation and redness. 

So, why does glycolic acid expire? How long do other skincare products last? Keep reading to learn more about glycolic acid product expiration dates and how you can properly store your products.

Cream jar, candles and glycolic acid bottle on a pink background skin and body care concept, Does Glycolic Acid Expire? Here's What You Need to Know

Glycolic Acid Expiration

To understand why glycolic acid expires, we must first understand what ingredients make up these glycolic acid products.

Why Does Glycolic Acid Expire?

Glycolic acid is derived from sugar cane, where in its natural state, is a powder made up of small colorless crystals. Over time, these crystals start to break down. They will lose their potency when they come in contact with oxygen over long durations of time.

In many cases, glycolic acid comes in the form of a gel or cream that you put on your skin. Many of these creams will start to degrade quicker than the glycolic acid, resulting in the product changing form. To slow down the aging process of these creams or gels, opt for a tightly sealed product.

Product Shelf Life Vs Expiration Date

The term shelf life and the expiration date are slightly different in their definitions. The shelf life is the amount of time it takes before the product becomes unfit to be used or sold. The shelf life can also mean the timeframe where the seller of the glycolic acid product takes the product off the shelves because it did not sell quickly enough.

The expiration date for the product is typically when the product has already been opened and degrades quicker than when it was tightly sealed. This date isn’t as strict as the shelf life of a product. In many cases, you can use the product past the expiration date if it does not show any signs of being altered significantly.

How To Properly Store Glycolic Acid

While products containing glycolic acid can expire from anywhere between 9-12 months, if you want to increase the product’s shelf life, it is best to store it properly. 

It is important to note that any skincare products, if not opened, can last from 2-3 years. You can increase these products’ shelf life in multiple ways, including storing them in a dark and cool place. You must keep any skincare products away from direct sunlight as they can cause bacteria to react and decrease the product’s lifespan. 

Most people store their skincare products in the bathroom. The bathroom may seem convenient, but it is not ideal for storing these products. The atmosphere is subjected to humidity if glycolic acid products are repeatedly exposed to this kind of environment. It can cause them to deteriorate very fast, and sometimes even before its expiration date. 

How Long Do The Products Last? 

Generally speaking, all anti-aging products with glycolic acid can last anywhere from nine to eleven months. When we talk about glycolic acid pads, these products can last about 2-3 months before the pads dry out. It’s ideal to purchase a vacuum-sealed pack to get your products to last longer.

Over time, the potency of glycolic acid decreases. This causes it to become less effective and the product would not be able to give strong results. Again, it depends on the type of product one uses and when they use it. Make sure to get products manufactured recently to get the best results out of glycolic acid. 

Can You Use An Expired Glycolic Acid Skincare Product?

When any skincare product is opened, or its seal is taken off, it is exposed to all kinds of bacteria. Generally, glycolic acid products will last for nine months to a year. It is always better to get a tight-pumped or a vacuum-sealed container to make the product last longer. A vacuum-sealed container will help the product not be exposed to certain bacterias that might cause it to go wrong.  

In theory, you can use glycolic acid after its expiration date. It will not cause any noticeable harm to your skin. However, using a product past its expiration date, like glycolic acid, may cause it to be less effective on your skin. This means that the product will work but at a lower rate and speed. 

How Long Is Facial Toner Good For?

Although most facial toners can last for a long time (up to 1 year), it’s advised that you shouldn’t use them once they are past their expiration date. How long your facial toner will last also depends on how you store it.

If you store your facial toner in a cool, dry place like recommended on most boxes, it will last for up to 12 months or maybe even more! The biggest giveaway would be the change in scent, smell, and appearance of the product. As soon as you notice any of these changes in your facial toner products, you should toss the product out. 

How Do You Know When Your Skincare Products Have Expired?

When you start to notice a change in smell, appearance, and the potency of your product, it has likely expired. Skincare products are still good to use after their expiration date, but they start to separate over time.

If you notice a creamy product having a layer of oil or pungent smell, it’s past its expiration date. It is highly recommended that you do not put these expired products on your skin because there is a chance of an adverse reaction. If you experience any severe side effects from a skincare product, consult with a medical professional immediately. 

Do Unopened Skincare Products Expire?

Unopened skincare products last longer than the ones that have been opened. However, they will still eventually expire after a long enough time of being unused or not opened.  The speed of how fast the skincare products expire depends on the active ingredients. Products with vitamin C and glycolic acid will expire quicker than a product that is a moisturizer. 

Generally, most unopened skincare products have a shelf life of anywhere between two to three years. Product manufacturers create their products small enough where there shouldn’t be any difficulty using up all of the product before the expiration date. 

In Closing

Cream jar, candles and glycolic acid bottle on a pink background skin and body care concept, Does Glycolic Acid Expire? Here's What You Need to Know

When it comes to glycolic acid, you are typically safe with using the product up to nine to twelve months after you initially bought the product. Once you notice changes in color, smell, and consistency, it’s time to throw it out and purchase a replacement product.

Properly storing your glycolic acid products is key to getting the most out of its life. A product that is not stored correctly can quickly degrade into being unusable.

Before you go, be sure to check out these other articles that may interest you:

Does Glycolic Acid Burn Or Sting?

Do You Use Moisturizer Or Toner First?

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