Continue Using Expired Retin-A?

I have a (very expensive) tube of Retin-A that expired about two months ago. When I use it, I don't get any peeling or redness, but I haven't been using it long enough to see any results either. Is it okay to keep using it? Do you think there's any active ingredient in it? How long can I keep using it after this point?

Doctor Answers 4

Expired retin-A should be fine

Although we are stringent in our office not to dispense expired samples (can you believe in Florida this is a criminal offense!), topical medications maintain their potency for at least a year. In fact, Benzoyl Peroxides increase their strength with time. Thus, I see no real problem using a cream two months past the expiration date. In fact, the samples I alluded to coming from my office: I use them on myself and family.

I would be much more fastidious with solutions, drops etc. since the preservatives in these products are not preserved and an eye infection can be serious.

As far as your not noting redness, this often does not happen with Retin A, especially if you are using a lower strength. Also, Retin A does not magically erase wrinkles and lines. What I tell my patilents is that if they use a Retinoid for the next twenty years, I can pretty much guarantee them that in twenty years they will look years younger than their cohorts who do not use Retin A (provided they wear sunscreens and do not smoke).

Virginia Beach Dermatologist
4.7 out of 5 stars 14 reviews

Expired Products

On products the expiry date is there for a reason. Although, in regards to cosmeceutical products the expiry relates to the active ingredients and vitamins within the product. You will not see the full benefits from the product due to the ingredients not being as fully active as they once were. 

I would recommend purchasing another face cream.

Kind Regards

Chien C. Kat, FRCS
Birmingham Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 79 reviews

Expred retin A: Throw it Away

I don't think you will get any other response on this web site or from any other responsible medical professional.  If a medication is expired, and especially if you have used expired meds without intended results, throw the medication away.

Stephen Prendiville, MD
Fort Myers Facial Plastic Surgeon
4.8 out of 5 stars 93 reviews

Expired Retin A

In compliance with the company's printed information and in light of publishing this in a public forum, it is in your best interest to discard the product and use material that is not expired.

Otto Joseph Placik, MD
Chicago Plastic Surgeon
4.9 out of 5 stars 81 reviews

These answers are for educational purposes and should not be relied upon as a substitute for medical advice you may receive from your physician. If you have a medical emergency, please call 911. These answers do not constitute or initiate a patient/doctor relationship.