Retinol is a powerful ingredient that can help reverse the signs of aging.
It’s also incredibly sensitive to light and air, so you need to make sure that you store it properly.
If you’re wondering how long your retinol serum will last, this guide will tell you everything you need to know.
What is the Shelf Life of Retinol Serum?
Retinol serums have a shelf life of two years. That’s not to say they’ll go bad in two years, but the active ingredients will lose their potency and effectiveness over time.
To maximize the shelf life of your retinol serum:
- Store it in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight
- Keep it out of reach or children and pets
- Don’t shake or mix retinol products before each use (this can cause oxidation)
If you’re unsure whether your retinol has gone bad or expired, check for any signs of mold growth on top of liquid products or discoloration on solid ones.
If there is any sign that something isn’t right with your product (whether visible or not), do not use it!
If you do end up using an older product anyway, remember that it may cause redness and peeling on sensitive skin types.
How to Tell if Your Retinol Serum Has Gone Bad or Expired
The shelf life of retinol serum is long and dependable.
The product, however, can go bad.
How do you know if yours has expired?
- Check for discoloration or separation in the liquid. Both are signs that the product has gone bad and should be thrown away immediately.
- If your serum separates into two layers or has a film on top, you may want to toss it—even if it’s still good-looking otherwise. It might not be too late yet; try mixing it up again before deciding whether or not to dump it out completely.
What Happens if You Use a Retinol Serum Past Its Expiration Date?
If you continue to use your retinol serum after the expiration date, you may experience skin irritation, redness, flaking of the skin, and a burning sensation.
If you have sensitive skin or have never used a retinol product before, then it is best to start with a lower dosage of 0.1% first and gradually increase it over time.
If you experience eye irritation while using prescription retinoids (e.g., tretinoin) or over-the-counter retinol products in general (e.g., Retinol Wrinkle Cream), then consult your doctor immediately as this could be an indication that there is an allergy associated with it.
How Long Do You Keep Your Retinol Serum?
How long you keep your retinol serum will depend on the strength of the product, but generally speaking, you’ll want to use it within three months.
If you have a strong formula and are using it daily, then you’ll want to replace it after six months.
- Keep in a cool, dry place.
Retinol products should be stored in a cool environment with low humidity.
The ideal temperature is between 50˚F (10˚C) and 70˚F (21˚C).
- Keep away from direct sunlight and heat.
Retinols can break down when exposed to UV radiation or high temperatures above 95°F (35°C).
If your retinol has been exposed to any of these conditions for too long, throw it out!
By now, you should have a better understanding of how to store your retinol serum and when to throw it away.
Always make sure that you are using fresh products for your skincare routine as well as avoiding expired products.
It’s important not only for the effectiveness but also for safety reasons.