Skincare 101

Should you refrigerate skincare products?

Cute mini fridges are all over Instagram promising that refrigerating skincare products will calm the skin, enhance their absorption and increase the shelf life. So how true are these claims? does storing your skincare in a cool temperature have any benefits? if yes, does this apply to all beauty products?

This is an important topic because refrigerating products that aren’t supposed to be stored in cold temperatures may alter the formulation, degrade the actives, or even reduce the shelf life of the product.

To find if a skincare product can or should be refrigerated we have to consider:
1. The ingredients it contains
2. The formulation – Is it water-based or oil-based
3. Does it contain preservatives
4. The instruction on the bottle! duh!

**If you are not sure what your skincare contains, then it is best not to store it in the fridge unless it is instructed on the bottle.

Products that you should not store in refrigerator: 

  • Silicone Based Products – might harden up in the fridge.
  • Clay masks – might harden up when refrigerated.
  • Sunscreen – the formula might harden up or separate in the tube.
  • Oil-based liquid formulas such as serums might turn cloudy. โ€œLow temperatures can cause water and oil to separate, and the formula will not return to its original state.โ€ Avoid storing skincare products like most face serums, which have both water and oil components in refrigerator.
  • Creams which contain a high amount of oil/wax – the products might harden up. 
  • Facial oils
  • Formulas in the form of foam or whipped cream

Products which might benefit from being refrigerated:

  • Topical prescriptions: read the instruction
  • Products that donโ€™t contain preservatives: Although refrigeration is not a substitute for preservatives, sometimes storing Organic and Natural products (which do not contain preservatives) at low temperatures helps slow down bacteria growth and can prevent product degradation.
  • “Some products contain live active cultures of probiotics or growth factors. Typically, these will be found in a refrigerated section at time of purchaseโ€; brands will usually state this on their packaging.
  • Actives  such as Vitamin C and Retinoids benefit from being refrigerated; this will help keep the vitamins from breaking down and oxidation.
  • Ampoules:  An ampoule is just a fancy word for a concentrated treatment with a high level of active ingredients. They are typically in small packages and sealed off to cut air-exposure to harness the full benefits of the active ingredient used. Some brands do recommend keeping it in the fridge, but I always recommend asking! 
  • Water-Based Products: Keeping items like hydrating toners, essences, aloe gel and sheet masks in the fridge can provide a refreshing and cooling effect.

Things to consider if you want to refrigerate these products:

* The refrigeratorโ€™s temperature! the temperature varies in different parts of a refrigerator and this temperature can affect skincare products differently. If you want to refrigerate some products put them in the small fridges specifically designed for this purpose to reduce the probability of irregular temperature.

* If you once put the product in the fridge you have to store it there all the time. The constant changes of temperature might ruin the formulation.

In general, the maintenance of your skincare items depend on the individual formulation, storing some skincare/beauty products in the fridge can help calm inflamed skin and decrease puffiness; however the trick might not work for people with sensitive skin! Cool temperatures do not increase the product absorption and since most of the skincare products contain preservatives, refrigeration doesnโ€™t necessarily extend the shelf life of these products, so this is not one size fits all. It is always safe to store products in a cool (room temperature), dark place out of direct sunlight.

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