Thursday, August 13, 2015

Be wary of plastic microbeads

Take a good look at the ingredients list of your skin care products, your beloved facial scrub may contain those dreaded plastic microbeads. Yes I won't deny that I do love a good exfoliation every now and then, and these microspheres (or other fancy names some companies call it) do the job really well and polish skin to perfection. But after reading about microbeads, I've started to lessen my consumption of products with this dreaded ingredient. 

Obviously made of plastic, these are non-biodegradable and are minute enough (approximately 1mm-5mm) to pass through filters in our sewer system eventually finding themselves in the ocean, to be later ingested by fish and other marine mammals. Pretty soon, we'll be finding these microbeads on our dinner tables, too. Yuck. 

I am a voracious reader of labels. I always check the ingredients list (and Google) before I buy and you should, too! Microbeads are sometimes camouflaged under scientific names such as polyethylene (PE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA), and nylon.

I checked my personal care stash and here are some of the products I have that contain microbeads. Whatever I have at the moment, either I give them away or I use them (waste not, want not) but have no intentions of re-purchasing.


You can never go wrong with a natural facial scrub that contains bamboo granules, clay, and strawberry seeds, take for example the Human Nature Detoxifying Mask+Scrub. These scrubbies exfoliate rather well and are good alternatives to synthetic ones like the Asian Secrets Lulur Facial Scrub.


It never really occurred to me that toothpastes could contain microbeads beads I always though it was only included in facial and body products. Some toothpastes contain PE to help in the whitening or cleaning process so always read the label. A good alternative (though not whitening per se) is the Himalaya Herbals Active Fresh Toothpaste, while Pepsodent makes use of hydrated silica (a somewhat better alternative to PE beads)

I won't be including body scrubs in this list because you sort of get the drift. Always read the ingredients list of your skin care products and if possible, do the environment a favor and skip those that contain microbeads.

Don't know where to start?

As I always say, start slow. You can't change your lifestyle or do a major overhaul of your beauty regimen overnight. Use up whatever you have at the moment and then decide whether it's worth repurchasing. Don't just throw everything away, wastage is also a huge issue nowadays.

Also, not all "natural" alternatives work for everyone and you may only have to lessen instead of totally eliminating microbeads from your life. In any case, less consumption can still have an impact on the environment.

There are a lot of natural alternatives to scrubbies such as walnut shells, apricot seeds, bamboo granules, etc. Some may harp that crushed walnut shells are too abrasive on skin, but so are spherical beads if not used properly. The key is to exfoliate gently.

Any thoughts on this microbeads issue? 
Do you have lots of products at home that contain them? 
Sound off in the comments!


Post a Comment