Expired lotion can cause a skin rash or infection because bacteria grows over time, says Debra Jaliman, M.D., a clinical instructor at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine. Throw out moisturizers after one year if opened and after two years if unopened.
Bacteria is more likely to be introduced into jars rather than bottles because fingers are inserted, Jaliman adds. There is also the risk that ingredients such as alpha hydroxy acids become more concentrated as a product ages and cause skin irritation.
Throw out acne and skin creams after two years. Throw them out sooner if there is a change in smell, color or consistency, Fitness magazine notes. Additionally, expired skin creams lose their effect when active ingredients evaporate. If there is no expiration date on the label, throw out sunscreen one year from the date of purchase because the sun-blocking chemicals dissipate.