So, we heard a little rumor going around the Internet beauty-sphere, telling us that we should start keeping our beauty and skincare in the fridge. But of course, we couldn't make a move without knowing how this small change would really affect us. And since we already store our LUSH Cosmetics in cold temperatures, it couldn't hurt to explore this topic a little further.
While we understand it could keep our nail colors from separating (because who doesn't HATE that terrible moment?), should we really be refrigerating our cosmetics? We asked three dermatologists found that this is a fad that hasn't made a huge splash in the skincare world... yet. Keep reading to find out what you need to know about cooling off your beauty products.
Makeup has preservatives for a reason.
Most, if not all, of the cosmetics you buy have preservatives that allow the product to last for a period of time. Because of this, refrigeration doesn’t necessarily extend expiration dates. “Storing the products at normal room temperature and discarding any containers left open over a period of three months is a good rule of thumb,” recommends Dr. Aurora DeJuliis, who owns The Aurora DeJuliis M.D. European Medical Spa in Montclair, N.J.
However, organic and natural cosmetics may lack preservatives, which would then make refrigeration a great storing option, she says, because a cold temperature could possibly replace those missing preserves. But Dr. DeJuliis adds, “Particular attention should be paid to the expiration date, and should not be used beyond that.”
But some topical prescriptions require cool temperatures.
Acne medications that are applied to the skin can be stored in the fridge, depending on the chemical makeup of the cream. “There are a couple of prescriptions where it is recommended to refrigerate them if you don’t plan on using them up within 60 days or so. This is most likely due to the preservatives in them wearing off and leading to oxidation of the chemicals," Dr. DeJuliis says.
Refrigeration doesn’t impact active ingredients, but it can change the way a formula looks.
Cold temperatures won’t change the main, active components like the retinol in your face serum, but Dr. Ranella Hirsch, a dermatologist based in Cambridge, Mass., notes that they could look different. “The challenge a lot of times is the texture when you refrigerate a product," she explains. “Oil and water can separate or something like olive oil will turn into a butter-like consistency.” Unless you want to slather chunky oil on yourself, keep it in the pantry.
No matter how natural your DIY beauty mixtures might be, keeping them cold won't make them last longer.
“Any home remedy you make should be used once and the excess discarded,” explains Dr. Carolyn I. Jacob, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Chicago Cosmetic Surgery and Dermatology. Considering that some homemade concoctions use perishable items like yogurt, Dr. Hirsch believes they don’t last any longer than they would if they were used as food. She adds, "Those are meant to be used when they’re made up, and any leftover mixture should be thrown away."
Basically, “You don’t want to put rancid food on your skin,” says Dr. Jacob.
So, what does refrigerating your beauty goods actually do? It makes them feel good.
Although it’s still cold out, when you finally do encounter the summer heat, the fridge might be your saving grace. “Spray products like sunscreen and Evian Mineral Water Spray are super refreshing when cold, and this motivates people to actually use sunscreen,” Dr. Hirsch says.
And when you’re recovering from a rough night, throw your eye cream in the fridge. “When applied cold on the skin, it will reduce inflammation and swelling, making it the ideal pick-me-up after a night of poor sleep," says Dr. DeJuliis.
So the next time you think about cooling your products off, take some time to consider the pros and cons.
Don't worry, this isn't the only weird beauty ritual we've encountered:
WTF Is That??
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