How often do you go and pick up your favourite skin care product without a second thought?
Have you taken the time to find out if your products are ‘friendly’?
I would say there is a large proportion of us who now make sure our products aren’t tested on animals, and that is absolutely wonderful, but how many of us know about the ingredients in the products we use and if those ingredients have any effect on the environment?
Late last year the US passed a bill prohibiting the selling and distributing of products containing plastic microbeads, but take a look at your products, I am sure you will find something there that has some kind of exfoliator that contains microbeads – even some baby products.
According to the NPR, microbeads are “tiny bits of plastic, [or] small scrubbing components used in hundreds of personal care products like skin exfoliants and soap,” ie – the little things that scrub off dead skin and gunk out of your pores.
These pieces of plastic, known as polyethylene, are “an excellent transporter of phenanthrene, a byproduct of fossil fuel burning that’s a dangerous ocean pollutant.”
Studies have shown these plastic microbeads don’t dissolve resulting in over 8 trillion microbeads entering US aquatic waterways daily.
The small plastic pieces can be consumed by marine life, and scientists believe they are also likely to attract other pollutants such as oils and pesticides. Their miniscule size means that marine animals often mistake them for fish eggs, a natural part of their diets. And take into consideration the life and food cycle — who consumes fish? We consume fish! The chance of us consuming fish that is contaminated with microbeads is high.
There is also the fact that rubbing these little pieces of plastic against your skin can be harmful. Exfoliation is an important part of an effective skin care routine, but you need to remember that the skin on your face is fragile and can be easily damaged. Most scrubs use microbeads because they are cheaper to produce than other exfoliators; however, they can create small tears in your skin, leaving it vulnerable to bacteria.
Thankfully, Australia has agreed to a voluntary phase-out of the beads by July 1, 2018.
In the meantime, it’s important to ensure consumers are informed and using beauty products such as cleansers, body scrubs and soaps with a natural microbead that is not harmful to Mother Nature! Check the products you use, throw out those that contain toxic microbeads and switch to eco-friendly and more natural products – here are a few to get you started.
The Jojoba Company Jojoba Bead and Bamboo Facial Exfoliant – RRP AU$39.95
Gently exfoliates using eco-friendly bamboo and jojoba beads—no plastic particles! Combined with Australian ivory clay and shea butter for deep hydration. Great to use 1-3 times a week to remove the build-up of dead skin cells.
Musq Face and Body Exfoliant – RRP AU$42.00
Natural rice and clay based exfoliant with all natural ingredients. The Face and Body Exfoliant removes dead skin cells, speeds up skins natural renewal process and allows moisturiser to penetrate the skin deeper resulting in a radiant glow and refined texture.
Paula’s Choice Skin Perfecting 2% BHA Liquid Exfoliant – RRP AU$36.00
An alternative is to go completely microbead free with a chemical exfoliant like an AHA or BHA. This gentle, leave-on exfoliant rapidly unclogs pores, diminishes the appearance of wrinkles and improves skin tone for unbelievably smooth, radiant skin