GREENSBORO, NC -- It’s been there all along, but some people have never noticed them.
An open-jar symbol usually on the back of some beauty products or sometimes on the container or box it came in.

“The icon on the back of the product, actually has a number on it followed by an ‘M’ – which means months.” Angela Garrity with Merle Norman explained. “That's the Point After Opening date (PAO). Which means, once you open the product, that's when you're going to see the product slowly degrade. And that's just from exposure to oxygen.”

SO, if your open jar symbol shows, for example, ‘3M’, you need to stop using that product 3 months after you open it.

This usually is in place of an expiration date.

Garrity says using a product past the PAO period isn't going to necessarily hurt you but it's best if you stop using it.
After that PAO period, some moisturizers will start gunking up, mascara will be clumpy and skin creams might start looking and smelling weird.

"It's not going to look as good, feel as good, or work as good for you," Garrity added.

And it's not just for vanity.
Degrading chemicals in old beauty products could cause skin irritations and some products like mascara could cause infections or cysts.
Bacteria build up can also do that - especially in products that come in jars.
Some people just dip their fingers into the jars and scoop the product.
But Angela advises you use applicators.
Think about it.
All the germs and bacteria on your hands, transferred into the product, which might eventually go on your face.
Most products have chemicals that are designed to kill germs, but again, they don't work as well after a while.

If using applicators is not feasible, make sure your hands are always clean before dipping them into beauty products in jars.
Lastly, for those who wear makeup, it's also a good idea to clean all your brushes often and remove your makeup before bed.

“Removing your makeup every day before you go to bed is an excellent thing. They actually did a study and said that every day that you don't remove your makeup actually adds a day of age onto you,” Garrity said.

Bottom line: keep the products clean and pay attention to the expiration date and Point After Opening period.

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