No matter whether you are using a product in cooking, beauty, or even art, one thing that is often on our minds is the expiration date and what that means for the product that we are using.
Expiration dates can be confusing and unclear as to whether they are a hard and fast rule or simply a guideline to get the best out of a product.
In all honesty, the shelf life of products varies wildly from brand to brand and product to product, and it can be particularly important to pay attention to when your skin is involved.
In this article, we will look at whether bentonite clay expires and what we can do when it has expired.
What Is Bentonite Clay?
Bentonite clay is a common ingredient in many skincare products due to its high absorption capabilities for oils and other substances. In addition to the absorbent properties of this clay, it is also suitable for use on sensitive skin.
It is often formed from volcanic ash which will also give it clarifying properties. It is also widely believed that there are multiple health benefits to the clay although they are mostly based on anecdotal claims rather than backed up with science. It is often hailed for its detoxifying benefits both inside and outside of the body.
Many skincare companies claim that bentonite clay in their products helps the substance adhere to the skin properly. It is also a beneficial ingredient in sunscreens and has been proven to help sunscreens be more effective than others that don’t contain the clay.
How Is Bentonite Clay Used?
As touched on above, there are many uses for bentonite clay that mostly pertain to beauty or skincare in some way.
The clay can be used in beauty products such as makeup to ensure that the product adheres to your skin properly and stays in place, and it can help to thicken certain formulas that might benefit from a denser consistency.
Similarly, in skin care products, the bentonite clay can help to absorb the oils and impurities from your skin as well as help other skin care products adhere to your skin to help extract the full benefits of the product.
For example, face masks that contain bentonite clay are likely to stay in place on your skin and help to absorb any excess oil and dirt from your pores.
You can also purchase bentonite clay from many health food stores that have been designed for consumption. When ingested, this clay can help to remove excess aluminum, mercury, lead, and many other toxins from your body.
In addition to the detoxifying effects of this clay, it can also help optimize your body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients, and it contains minerals within it such as copper and iron.
Does Bentonite Clay Expire?
As with all beauty and skincare products, bentonite clay has an expiration date that will be printed on the packaging that it comes in. However, because the clay is a natural product, it is possible to use it after the stated expiration date.
Although it is important to note that there are several factors that can affect the longevity of your bentonite clay.
If you have not stored your bentonite clay properly, it may dry out. When it dries out it is possible to revive it with some water, however, if this is not successful, or it has dried out even when properly stored, your clay is likely to have expired and be unusable.
Other indicators that your bentonite clay is past its expiration date include changes to the color, consistency, or odor of the clay. If your clay begins to smell rancid, it is unsuitable for continued use.
How Long Does Bentonite Clay Last?
As mentioned above, there are some things that you can do to affect the longevity of your bentonite clay and ensure that you get the most use possible out of the product. On average, bentonite clay lasts for around six months.
The most obvious way to ensure that your bentonite clay lasts is to make sure that you are storing the product in line with the instructions on the packaging. Most commonly this involves keeping the container closed properly and storing it in a cool and dry place.
The longevity of your bentonite clay can be affected by other ingredients that are present in the product. For example, a bentonite clay product that has been formulated with exfoliating acids such as BHA will have an increased risk of expiration and possible skin irritation.
The purer your bentonite clay is, the longer it is likely to be able to last as long as the correct precautions have been taken.
Is It Safe To Use After The Expiration Date?
The safety of using bentonite clay past its expiration date also varies from person to person. Because everyone’s skin has different levels of sensitivity and different triggers for reactions, it is difficult to say whether there is a risk when using expired bentonite clay.
If you are unsure as to how your skin will react to expired bentonite clay, a patch test is the best option. Simply apply a small amount of the product to your skin, inside your wrist, or behind your ear are great places. Leave it for an hour or two before washing it off.
If there is no reaction, you should be fine to use the product in an emergency. If there is irritation, remove the product immediately and do not use it on your face.
Even if you do not experience any reaction to the expired product, it is always best to replace the expired clay as soon as possible to avoid the risk of irritation and infections.
Like most products, bentonite clay can expire. However, it is possible to continue the use of the product past the stated expiration date provided that the product still looks and smells as it should.
If you are unsure, make sure that you perform a patch test before using the product.