News from CRIS: Expiring Products - Cosmetics

April 28, 2020

Did you know cosmetic products can expire? In this post, the Center for Research on Ingredient Safety covers the basics of cosmetic product expiration dates.

Are cosmetics required to have an expiration date? 

No, cosmetics are not legally required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to contain an expiration date.

However, companies and individuals who manufacture and market cosmetics bear the legal responsibility to ensure the safety and shelf-life of their products which typically includes expiration date information (1,2).

Are some cosmetics considered drugs by the FDA? 

Many cosmetics can be considered a drug by the FDA. For example, products that contain ingredients to prevent sunburns (e.g., SPF 15, UVA/UVB protection) or acne are everyday cosmetics that are also drugs.
The packaging label on a cosmetic that is also classified as drug must contain active ingredient information, possible side effects, an expiration date, and more as required by regulations.

How do I figure out a cosmetic product's expiration date?

There is a two-part process for calculating the expiration date.
Products will contain an unopened or shelf-life expiration date on the packaging. This date tells us when a product expires even if it remains unopened and unused.


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