How to Read Period after Opening Symbols on Your Beauty Products

How to Read Period after Opening Symbols on Your Beauty Products
May 29, 2024 Macklin Tan
period after opening

Trying out new products is always exciting for people who are into cosmetics and beauty products. Over time, you probably will have clutters of beauty products that you may forget or no longer use. Chances are these items may be seriously outdated based on their period after opening or PAO.

To make sure that you don’t end up with outdated products, the company adds a PAO symbol on the package. This helps customers understand when their products are no longer usable after a certain period. 

In this article, we are going to discuss more about PAO, why it is important, and how to read these symbols correctly.

What is the PAO (Period after Opening) Symbol?

You can find the PAO symbol on various products including beauty products, skincare products, medicines, and toiletries. The symbol looks like a tube or jar container with certain numbers on it followed by the letter “M” which represents “month”. 

This symbol refers to the time frame of a product remaining safe to use after the first time it has been opened. It helps customers identify how long the product lasts or is safe to use after it is opened for the first time. 

PAO is different from the expiration date. The expiration date is usually a specific date given in months and years. This date shows when the product quit performing as promised even if it never opened.

Why is PAO Important?

The period after Opening is a vital labeling element on beauty products. You will find this label in most European brands because the European Union requires expiration dates printed on cosmetic labels with a minimum durability of more than 30 months. Here are the reasons why PAO is important, especially on beauty products.

Reduced Efficacy

Beauty products may lose their effectiveness over time after being exposed to air, light, and bacteria after being opened for the first time. These labels provide clarity on the optimal usage period so that customers can maximize the benefit while the products are still at their peak efficacy.

Skin Irritation

Using beauty products beyond their PAO can increase the possibility of skin irritation. This is caused by ingredient degradation or microbial contamination that can occur after the products are opened and exposed to air, light, and bacteria. Adhering to the PAO recommendations helps minimize the risk of adverse skin reactions.

Bacterial Growth

Over time, beauty products can become a breeding ground for bacteria, especially if they are used beyond their PAO. This can lead to contamination and potential skin infections. Due to this reason, this label also serves as a reminder to discard products past their recommended usage period.

How to Read the PAO Symbol

Reading the period after opening the symbol is important to make sure that you understand whether or not it is still usable. You don’t want to risk getting skin irritation because of mistakenly using beauty products that have gone bad and past their PAO products.

PAO symbol features an open jar with a number and the letter “M”. The number represents the recommended duration in months. Therefore, if the symbol displays 6M, it means that the product should be used within six months of opening to ensure its safety and efficacy. 

This symbol is usually found on the product packaging, near the ingredients list, or at the bottom of the container. Sometimes it can also appear on the product label or box. Make sure to always check the PAO of every product you have. You may also want to write the date when you open the products to make sure that you finish up the products before the PAO ends. 

Tips for Maintaining Freshness

In addition to adhering to the period after the opening symbol, you also need to maintain the freshness of your beauty products. Maintaining the freshness of beauty products is important to ensure their effectiveness and safety. Here are five tips to maintain the freshness of your beauty products.

Store in A Cool and Dry Place

Keep your beauty products away from direct sunlight and humidity. Store them in a cool, dry place, such as a cabinet or drawer. This will prevent heat and moisture from degrading the ingredients faster. 

Close Lids and Caps Securely

Seal the lids and caps of your beauty products properly after each use to minimize exposure to air and contaminants. This method can help prevent oxidation and bacterial growth that can degrade the products over time. 

Use Clean Hands and Tools

Make a habit of washing your hands before applying beauty products. This will prevent transferring bacteria and dirt onto the skin and into the products. Use clean brushes, applicators, or spatulas when scooping out creams or liquids to prevent contamination.

Avoid Cross-contamination

Make sure that you don’t share your beauty products with other people to prevent the spreading of bacteria and infections. Use separate applicators or tools for each product to avoid cross-contamination. 

Keep Products Clean

Clean the packaging and surfaces of your products to remove dirt, residue, and bacteria. You can use a damp cloth or alcohol wipe to sanitize the exterior of the packing.

By keeping the products clean from dirt or bacteria, you can maintain their freshness and ensure they remain safe and effective for use until the period after opening

By understanding and following the PAO symbol, consumers can make informed decisions about the usage and storage of their beauty products, ensuring both safety and efficacy. Read about: The Best Food and Beverage Batch Coding Solution to understand more about why manufacturers use symbols or codes in their products.

Manufacturers can use one of the best tools to print batch code, which is the DSI Inkjet Batch Code Printer. Read About: DSI Product Review: Inkjet Batch Code Printer for Cosmetics. You can also see a complete list of continuous inkjet printers here.

Make sure to check the label on your beauty products thoroughly for safer use. Read the period after opening carefully so that you don’t miss it and use the products more than the supposed period. This way, you can ensure the safety of your beauty product use. 


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