We’ve all been there—you pull out a bottle of dipping sauce or salad dressing and it’s (way) past the expiration date. Yikes! Even though many perishable items, like those of the food variety, have the date clearly printed, it’s still surprisingly easy to overlook or forget about. And that’s not even including other items, like toiletries, that don’t always have a clear expiration. Case in point: your razor.

Not only is it a missing an expiration date, but it’s up to you to remember precisely when you started using it and when to throw it out. Now you may be one of the few out there who knows exactly when to change out their razor, but more than likely, you’re struggling to keep track (just like the rest of us). And that’s just one of the many toiletry items that you should be regularly replacing. For example, hair brushes should be replaced every 6 months to a year—who knew?

So in the name of good health, Barbara Joy Jones, DO, the lead primary care provider at the new GMC Primary Care & Specialty Center-Peachtree Corners, provides a quick refresher on the lifespan of personal health items. From razors and toothbrushes to loofahs and tampons, here’s how often you should replace each item:

Razor. Depending on how frequently you shave, your hair type and where you store it (hint: it shouldn’t be in the shower), you may have to replace it more or less frequently.

•Typically, after 5 to 7 uses, your razor has had enough. Not only is it full of bacteria, which can cause irritation, it’s also dull and less effective.

Medicine cabinet. In the interest of being economical, you’ve likely held onto medications that are either expired, you no longer use or both.

•However, by holding onto old medications, you could be putting your child at risk as many of them may unknowingly misuse them. Also, many drugs, both prescription and over-the-counter, lose potency after their expiration date. It’s likely that this won’t cause any serious health issues, but the medication won’t be as effective. And let’s face it, when you’re taking something for headache relief, you’re counting on it to work.

Toothbrush. You may not want to hear this, but your mouth can be a pretty dirty place. Between old food, bacteria, and germs, your toothbrush has the tall task of cleaning away all of these things on a daily basis.

•So, to ensure your toothbrush can effectively do its job and isn’t full of yucky particles, make sure to replace it every 3 to 4 months.

Old makeup. Maybe you’ll wear that bright turquoise eyeshadow someday, or maybe you’ll give that vibrant lip color another try on your next date night. All of a sudden, several more months (or years) have passed, and so has the use-by date. To avoid irritation or possible infections, remember these guidelines:

• Liquid foundation: 6 months
• Powder foundation:1-2 years
• Mascara and liquid eye liner: 3 months
•Powder eye shadow and eyeliner pencils: 2 years
•Skincare products: 6 months– 1-year • Lip color: 2 years

Loofah. That helpful shower pouf of yours that makes your body wash extra sudsy and keeps your skin extra soft can quickly accrue bacteria if you don’t replace it regularly. Thanks to the moisture in the bathroom and shower, bacteria can easily thrive and cause irritation and infection.

•To ensure that you and your loofah stay so fresh and so clean, make sure to replace it every 2 months, or more frequently if it’s made of natural material (3-4 weeks).

Tampons. This is one of those health essentials that you always want to have on hand. Thankfully, because tampons are primarily made of cotton and are sanitary products, they have a lengthy shelf life. Make sure you don’t mistake sanitary for sterile, they can expire.

•Depending on the brand, tampons can be safely kept for upwards of 5 years. However, it’s important to note that depending on how they’re stored, they can be exposed to dust and bacteria.

A clean start.
It isn’t just your personal toiletries that could benefit from routine refreshers—your health could, too. It’s important to make sure you stay up-to-date on all of your health and wellness needs by working with a Gwinnett Medical Group Primary Care provider. Even if you haven’t been regularly seeing a health expert, now’s the perfect time to start. With convenient locations, like the new GMC Primary Care & Specialty Center-Peachtree Corners, you can receive a first-class health experience in a luxurious and healing environment. Learn more by visiting gwinnettmedicalcenter.org/ptc.