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Does Desitin Expire? Answered In Detail

If you have a baby on the way you probably already have a pile of baby stiff around your home.

Some things are meant to last for years, like the stroller, the baby crib, toys, and so on, and some things like baby formula have an expiration date. But what about baby rash creams? Does Desitin expire for example?

Main Points

  • Rash creams create a protective barrier for the skin.
  • Rash creams have different ingredients depending on the brand.
  • The most common ingredient in rash creams is zinc oxide.
  • The FDA considers rash creams to be medicine and they have to have an expiration date.
  • In most cases is safe to use an expired Desitin rash cream, but keep in mind the ingredients.
  • Essential oil rash creams are not safe to use after they expire

Does Desitin Expire & Rash Cream Overview

Although Desitin comes with an expiration date in sync with regulations from the FDA, it’s still safe to use it even after the expiration date in most cases.

A rash cream, also known as a diaper rash cream is a protective agent against skin irritation. It usually comes in the form of a paste or a cream and it forms a protective layer that serves as a barrier between the baby’s skin and the, let’s say metabolic waste, from your baby.

Rash creams are made with different ingredients based on the brand you’re getting. Some are essential oil based, some are petrolatum based, but most are zinc oxide based. Zinc oxide is very effective in forming a protective layer to prevent rashes and skin irritations. 

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Expiration date

All rash baby rash creams come with an expiration date. This is because according to the FDA rash creams are medicine, and medicine needs to have an expiration date in order to be manufactured.

This however does not mean that all rash creams actually expire. The expiration date will depend on the brand and the ingredients in your rash cream.

If the product contains essential oils, then you should throw it away after the expiration date. Essential oils can burn the skin and cause irritation after they expire. A baby’s skin is very sensitive so it’s best if you avoid using the essential oil rash cream after the date noted on the packaging.

Rash creams that contain zinc however don’t really expire, but as we mentioned they do have an expiration date on the packaging due to FDA regulations.

It is considered safe to use rash creams that expired a while ago as long as you check for any changes in color, smell, and consistency. If you notice any changes, it’s better to throw it out just in case.

The manufacturers of rash cream put the expiration date on the packaging not to warn you that the product isn’t safe after it expires, but that they don’t guarantee the effectiveness of the ingredients. And there is really no use for you to have a cream that doesn’t work.

What is Desitin?

Desitin is a multi-purpose cream that is can be used on both babies and adults. It is easy to apply and it creates a protective layer that serves as a barrier between your skin and outside damaging factors. It is effective in relieving dry and chapped skin, soothes irritated skin, protects from dry and cold weather, and helps prevent diaper rashes.

Desitin is also hypoallergenic and free from parabens, phthalates, dyes, and fragrances. It’s also tested by pediatricians that give it a go when it comes to using it on your baby’s sensitive skin.

What it contains

There are a few types of Desitin on the market. The most common and basic one contains the active ingredient white petrolatum and inactive ingredients such as paraffin, mineral oil, cocoa seed butter, and tocopheryl acetate.

Maximum protection

If you want maximum protection for your baby’s sensitive skin, then there is a Desitin product that can help you out.

The Desitin maximum strength product contains the maximum level of zinc oxide that forms a protective layer that helps to prevent and heal diaper rashes.

It is also hypoallergenic and tested by pediatricians. It is one of the strongest skin treatments that you can get without a prescription.


The active ingredient in this product is, of course, zinc oxide. The other inactive ingredients include petrolatum, cod liver oil, glycerin, beeswax, and so on. If you’re interested in the full ingredient list, you can always check the packaging.

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Types Of Desitin

Petrolatum based

Desitin usually contains petrolatum, which is actually a fancy word for Vaseline. Petrolatum jelly usually has an infinite shell life, however, when it’s mixed into a cream it can go bad after some time.

This doesn’t necessarily mean that the cream will cause harm, but it won’t guarantee the effectiveness it had before the expiration date.

As we mentioned rash creams are viewed as medicine and do have an expiration date, but whether can they be used after expiration depends on the brand and incidence.

The best indicator when it comes to petrolatum-based creams is to look for any signs of changes in the product. Changes in consistency and smell are an indicator that the cream should not be used anymore.

Zinc oxide based

Zinc oxide is the main ingredient in Desitin rash creams, this is why they are very effective in protecting your skin from irritation.

Zinc oxide also does not expire, however, it’s never a good idea to use creams that are passed their expiration date. These types of products last a long time, so you’ll probably use them all up before it expires.

We mentioned that Desitin contains cod liver oil, so a change in smell will be an indicator that the product has expired and that you should throw it out.

Will Desitin work after its expiration date?

The question does Desitin expire doesn’t have a simple yes or no answer. Zinc oxide does not change its chemical structure over time, meaning that it will be still effective after some time. However, the other ingredients in the cream may be subject to change causing them to be less effective.

Also, it will depend on when the product expires. If the expiration date was a month ago, then it’s totally fine to use the cream, but if it expired a few years ago then look for any signs of changes.

We wouldn’t recommend you use it just to be safe, especially not on your baby’s sensitive skin.

Keep in mind that you should always store the product according to the package instructions to make sure you prolong its effectiveness.

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We all have used expired products without knowing it. Most of the time this is perfume, foundation, hand cream, and so on.

Generally, it is considered safe to use Desitin after its expiration date. The main indirect in the product, zinc oxide, does not expire, but the other ingredients and improper storage can cause the product to lose its effectiveness.

So as you can see it’s not simple to answer does Destin expire, there are a lot of other factors that go into it. To make sure that your baby has the best protection against diaper rashes, we recommend you use Desitin before, or a little while (1-2 mounts) after its expiration date.

All content and media on RaisingSmallSouls is created and published online for informational purposes only. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice and should not be relied on as health or personal advice. The information on this website is not meant to take the place of expert medical assistance, advice, or consultations. You should speak with a medical expert if you have any worries or inquiries while pregnant.