Does Lube Expire? Gynecologists Weigh In

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Does Lube Expire? Gynecologists Weigh In

The right lube can make sex more comfortable, but before you reach for the bottle you've had tucked in your nightstand for months (years?), you should know that lube can expire.

Wait, really: does lube go bad? While not every lube is stamped with a sell-by date, shelf life generally ranges from one to three years, according to testing data from the Food and Drug Administration.


"While there are no known risks to using old lubrication as this has not been well studied, I would advise my patients against this," ob-gyn Ankita Langan, MD, tells us. "The chemicals in the lubricant may change over time and could potentially cause a skin reaction or may not work as well." An allergic reaction, which may cause itching and burning, is one of the risks associated with lube, so you don't want to do anything to make one more likely.


"In general, it's good practice to not use any product past its expiration date," adds ob-gyn Naz Homaifar, MD. "There aren't too many ingredients that really expire in lubricant, but there is a theoretical risk for certain ingredients (like Nonoxynol-9, a spermicide) to go bad." It's better to be safe than sorry, so if the expiration date on the bottle has passed, or you notice anything different about the lube — like a change in the smell or consistency — it's best to toss it. If you're unsure about whether it's time to replace a bottle, you can always check with the manufacturer.


Likewise, if you're ever concerned about which lube is best for you, you should talk to your ob-gyn. "I typically tell my patients to use fragrance-free, water-based lubricants as these are less likely to cause an allergic reaction," Dr. Langan says.


But there are lots of things to consider: Dr. Homaifar noted that some ingredients are linked with an increased risk of infections like bacterial vaginosis, while oil-based lubes can damage latex condoms, making them less effective for those who rely on them to prevent pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections.



Written by: Lauren Manaker on POPSUAGR