When you reach for the milk in your fridge, the first thing you do is the sniff test followed by the expiry date check.
Some people don't even know how or where to check for expiry dates on their cosmetic products.
All cosmetics are made under strict conditions to control the growth and accumulation of microbes during use
Preservatives are used to stop bacteria from growing, but they have a finite shelf life.
All cosmetics have expiry dates, which are calculated based on the length of time the preservatives in the product are able to control contamination.
If the expiry date is printed on the packaging or the actual product, it is displayed in the form of a symbol resembling an opened pot with either 3M, 6M, 12M, 18M, 24M, or 36M printed in the middle, corresponding to the number of months the product can be used.
Most products have an expiry date of three to 12 months, providing the user has not had an infection, such as conjunctivitis.
However, our latest study shows that people are using products beyond the expiry dates and allowing microbial contamination to build up.
To avoid contamination, make sure you discard makeup that has passed the expiry period, don’t apply makeup if you have an infection or broken skin, never share cosmetics with friends, and definitely avoid using makeup samples in stores.
(Research by Amreen Bashir. Lecturer in Biomedical Science, Aston University)