The period of use (English: period afteropening, PAO ) indicates how long a cosmetic product can be used after opening without causing any harm to the consumer.
For product labeling is a symbol representing an open cream jar, followed by the period. The period is expressed in months here ( shortcut M) and / or years ( shortcut A).
In the European Community, the obligation to indicate the period of use by the EC Directive 2003/15/EC was introduced in 2003. The symbol was defined in Directive 2003/80/EC. Affected are cosmetic products with a minimum durability of more than 30 months. For products that are no longer than two and a half year shelf life, a date of minimum durability shall be indicated, see the Cosmetics Directive.
The obligation to use duration indicator was implemented in Germany by a decree of 6 October 2004 into national law; it is defined in § 5 paragraph 1 sentence 1 No. 2, para 2a Cosmetics Regulation. The reaction in Austria was carried out by the cosmetic labeling regulations 2005 amendment; the rules for the Use By date can be found in § 4 para 1 No. 5a cosmetic labeling regulations.