How your make-up could be hurting you… why you need to ditch mascara sooner than you think & pop SPF in the fridge

FOR those who love trying a new product, it's likely drawers and cupboards are packed with beauty items that have been used once and then forgotten about.

But how long should you keep them for, and are you using out-of date items that could at the very least, stop working, and at worst, be harmful to your health?

How and where you store them can also matter too. In actual fact, Medical Director of Cosmedics skin clinics Dr Ross Perry believes that the majority of beauty products should be stored in the fridge.

Here, he explains why, and the health risks that come with inadequately storing items and using expired products…

Cool advice

When we think about our fridge, most of us would associate it with fresh fruit and veg – not our beauty products.

But actually there are huge benefits to storing certain items in the kitchen instead of the bathroom.

Dr Perry says: "If certain products aren’t stored properly you run the risk of them becoming not as effective because of the active ingredients and also changing consistency.

"If skin products are preservative-free then popping them in the fridge can prevent bacteria from multiplying. 

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We keep food in the fridge, but do you keep your beauty products there too?Credit: Getty

"Bacteria going straight onto the skin can cause skin irritations, bacterial infections and possible eye infections.

"The general rule of thumb if a product is gel-textured or water-based then it will benefit from refrigeration.

"For example eye gels, face mists, toners, and gel-cream textured moisturisers and masks.

"Keeping moisturiser chilled in the fridge is a good idea as it can help with puffiness and boost circulation to the skin.

"Individuals who suffer from rosacea should chill their moisturisers as this will help calm the skin instantly when applied.

"Toner can be put in the fridge – it's not compulsory but can be refreshing on skin, especially in the summer.

"Face masks which have been refrigerated can also have benefits when stored in the fridge for their cooling and soothing properties, and the coolness on the skin will help tighten pores.

Sunny side up

Most importantly, sun cream must be kept in the fridge.

Dr Perry says: "If skin products get too hot, the active ingredients can become less effective, especially in sunscreen.

"SPF needs to be popped in the fridge instead of thrown into a potentially warm cupboard or cabinet.

"A warm environment will lessen the effectiveness of SPF, and ineffective SPF is just a no-no.

"It’s not quite as bad as heading out in the sun with 0 factor on, but essentially you’re just allowing yourself to burn much quicker.

"Just one sunburn can lead to skin cancer down the line so always check the expiry date and keep sun cream in a cool dry place.

"Always check the expiry date, as an average sun cream should last around two years. 

"The same applies to after-sun or aloe Vera.

"The cooling sensation on the skin once the product has been in the fridge will lessen the discomfort of sunburn." 

Expiry etiquette

It can be confusing knowing just how long products are good for.

Dr Perry explains: "Unopened products have a shelf life of approximately two years when stored properly. 

"After a product is opened, it should be used as directed, within one year.

"The six or 12 on the bottle indicate it’s safe to use for that number of months – after opening.

"Look for the best before date as this when the product should be used before and is required for a product that has an unopened shelf life of under 30 months.

"Prescribed skin products from your GP such as acne treatments will also advise on the packaging as to whether they should be stored in the fridge.

"If they're not, the active ingredients just won’t be as active and work in the way they should.

"The consistency can be effective resulting in drying up or becoming clogged meaning it can also harm your skin in the long run."

Lipstick risk

While we may keep our lipsticks for many years, there can actually be serious health risks when using one that's expired.

Dr Perry says: "Try to use a lip brush when applying lipstick rather than direct onto the lips where dry skin, germs and bacteria can build-up, and lessen the efficiency of the product."

It's also ill-advised to share lipstick.

Dr Perry says: "The main risk of sharing a lipstick is passing on or contracting herpes virus and getting cold sores."

Fungal infections and breakouts

You must also be careful with eye products and foundation too.

Dr Perry says: "Mascaras and eye pencils are some of the worst offenders for bacteria build-up, therefore these are best to change every few months. 

"They can cause eye infections like styes or pinkeye. You also risk fungal infections and general irritation.

"Foundation can last around a year before needing to be replaced if its stored correctly, an ideal place is not too warm, away from radiators and somewhere dry and dark.

"Expired foundations can cause allergic reactions, rashes & breakouts.

"They are toxic for your skin so never use any foundation after it exceeds the expiry date."

Brush it off

This one is obvious, but you must also avoid using dirty brushes too.

Dr Perry says: "There is no point in using dirty brushes and sponges dipped into your make-up pots as the bacterial build-up will lessen the shelf-life.

"Again, dirty brushes can end up containing all kinds of nasty bacteria if not kept clean and you’re just transferring the bacteria straight onto your face.

"This can result in acne breakouts, irritation on the face in thee form of rashes, sore red patches and potential eye infections."

Here's how to remove your make-up properly and why you should never leave acrylic nails on for more than five weeks.

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