WTOC Investigates: Makeup expiration concerns

WTOC Investigates: Makeup expiration concerns

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Millions of women wear makeup, but some don’t know that what you put on your face could be infecting and ruining your skin if you use expired makeup.

A lot of women use makeup until it runs out and they need to replace it, but that strategy could lead to infections that could send you to the doctor. Ellen O’Brien is a beauty blogger in Savannah who says it can be a chore to keep track of when different products expire, so she adds a little wiggle room.

“I know a lot of people, myself included, will give a little bit of leeway with powder products, especially if you’re really good about taking care of your skin and you’re washing it regularly, keeping those oils down, because then you’re not going to be transferring it into the powder,” she said.

So, why is it hard for women to part with makeup?

“If you go to one of these high-end places, you can drop like $30 dollars on a mascara, $50 on a lipstick, and it becomes so hard to part with them,” O’Brien said.

Martina Kolovich with Georgia Skin and Cancer says people who use expired makeup are at-risk for developing a variety of skin issues that can lead to serious infections.

“So, if it’s a lotion that your putting your hand into, much higher risk of infection, like staff infection, or the biggest one is acne; bacterial infections like pink eye, but also contact dermatitis so you can have swelling of the eye, itching, even where the eye swells shut,” she said.

Makeup manufacturers are not required to have an expiration date. However, many now use this image to indicate expiration once the product is used. It’s a jar with the top popped up and a number to indicate length of time and the letter M that stands for months. For example, 18-M stands for 18 months.

“If its expired, it can change the composition of the makeup because then you can have allergic reactions,” Kolovich said.

O’Brien tells her blog subscribers three quick tips to make sure they don’t use expired makeup. One, know the symbols, Two, use a sharpie to label your makeup items with the expiration date, and three, take regular inventory of your products.

“About every six months or so, I do like a full clean out of all of my makeup and really go through and make sure there isn’t anything lurking in those drawers that I don’t want to be there,” O’Brien said.

When it comes to lipsticks, powders, blushes, and mascaras you’re unsure of, Kolovitch has simple advice to avoid the buildup of bacteria.

“If it’s that old and it isn’t performing as well, smells funny, toss it, treat yourself, get something new.”

Click here for more information on makeup expiration from the FDA.

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