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Expire or Perspire: When antiperspirants go bad

Jenna’s question: Do you really have to heed the expiration date on antiperspirants and deodorants? Is it dangerous to use any that have expired?

The Right Brain’s reply:

If you read 5 Ways That Beauty Products Go Bad, you know that regular cosmetic products (like deodorants) are NOT required to have an expiration date in the US. But products like antiperspirants that are over the counter drugs, do have to provide a date.

Is it dangerous to use an antiperspirant that’s past it’s expiration date? Well, it’s not as dangerous as being in jail with flesh eating bacteria, but there are a fews things you should know:

Top 3 Ways Antiperspirants Can Expire

1. Active ingredient absentia

The worst that can happen is that the active ingredient loses efficacy and it doesn’t stop you from sweating. This can happen if the ingredient settles out or crystallizes over time. That’s why companies are required to test their product to determine how long they expect the active ingredient to last.

2. Drying Danger

Antiperspirant sticks are made with volatile silicones that can evaporate as the stick ages (especially if you ever leave the cap off!) This can cause the stick to dry out which will make it crumble when you use it. It can also form tiny crystals that can scratch your armpits.

3. Fragrance Freakout

Besides keeping you dry, most antiperspirants are fragranced to make you smell good. Fragrances are complex mixtures of chemicals that can react and change over time. It’s not uncommon for a fragrance to start to smell bad when the product gets old. So you may not sweat, but your Secret stick could still be stinky.

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