The name “medicine cabinet” is unfit for what should be held in this very important space of your home. Believe it or not, medicines are not the best items to keep here. Not only is it open to anyone including kids and snooping houseguests, the medicines that are here may be altered by the temperature and moisture. Many topical creams and ointments need to be kept in a cool dark area. Oral medications also require non-humid, cool environments, where as some even need refrigeration.
This area is also a place for medicines to sit and spoil. We often forget about how fast medications expire. Skin creams with retinol, hydroquinone, and acne medications often not only become ineffective, they can cause rashes or skin irritation if expired. The best rule of thumb is ‘when in doubt, throw it out.’ Just be sure you are disposing the medicine in an FDA approved manner. See www.fda.gov, ‘How to Dispose of Unused Medicines.’
Even if you don’t keep medicines in your medicine cabinet you should always keep it clean! Most people simply wipe the mirror in the front of the cabinet! Do yourself a favor tonight (in light of spring) and give your medicine cabinet a deep clean.
1) Remove everything
2) Throw out the old medicines and cosmetics, check expirations
3) Wipe clean
1) Organize your favorite products and replace anything you had to purge!
2) Keep topical antibiotics, skin creams, sunscreen, all within a tight cap and in a locked drawer or linen closet.
Good timeline for products:
- 3-5 years: Eye and lip pencils, hair styling products
- 2-3 years: shampoo, conditioner, shower gel, body lotion, perfume, foundation, lipstick, lip-gloss
- 2 years: Bar soap, shaving cream, deodorant
- 1 year: Nail polish, bath oil
- 3-4 months: Mascara and liquid eyeliner
*Anti-aging, acne treatment, and sunscreen shelf life depends on expiration dates on the bottle.
Take the first steps to your Spring-cleaning efforts and give your medicine cabinet a check-up!