Did you know micro beads are bad for your face and the planet? Microplastics may be small, but they’re causing big problems for our environment and our health. These tiny pieces of plastic used in personal care products are designed to go down the drain and into our lakes, rivers, and oceans — by the billions every day. They absorb toxins in the water, are eaten by marine life, and can make their way up the food chain all the way to our dinner plates.
What are plastic microbeads?
Microbeads are really tiny plastic particles usually smaller than two millimeters. The composition of microbeads can vary and often include polyethylene (PE) or polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), polymethlyl methacrylate (PMMA) or nylon. Bottom line, it’s all plastic!
What products contain plastic microbeads?
Plastic microbeads are in face soaps, body washes, and even toothpastes. They are sometimes included in “age-defying” makeup (yes, filling in wrinkles with plastic dust!), as well as lip gloss and nail polish. Most wastewater treatment doesn’t filter out microbeads, and they get discharged into waterways. As a result, micro-plastic particles are found in bays, gulfs and seas worldwide, as well as inland waterways.
Does microbead pollution impact us?
Could the plastic you’re washing your face with end up in your sushi? Crazy, but yes. Fish species that humans harvest for food have been known to eat micro-plastic particles at an alarming rate and the toxins absorbed in those plastics transfer to the fish tissue.
Plastic microbeads absorb persistent organic pollutants (long-lasting toxic chemicals like pesticides, flame retardants, motor oil and more) and other industrial chemicals that move up the food chain when the toxic-coated beads are consumed by fish and other marine organisms. A single microbead can be up to a million times more toxic than the water around it!
Why won’t the personal care products industry swap the plastic out for a natural substitute?
This question is kind of hard to answer because (surprise!) the industry isn’t being real forthcoming about why they want to substitute one kind of plastic for another. What I've gathered from doing a bit of research into this issue is that companies want to keep the plastic in their products because it’s cheap and easy to source. But more importantly, plastic microbeads are smoother than natural alternatives like apricot shells, jojoba beans, and pumice. Why is smoother “better”? Smoother means these cleansers will be less effective at exfoliating, which means you can use them everyday, which means they want you to buy more of their Stuff!
So what is a good alternative? Well I have recently discovered The Goodness brand. They make products that are not only cruelty free but great for the environment. I tested out the Every Week Face Scrub and the Certified Organic Chia Seed Oil and I instantly fell in love with these products. With both products containing avocado, chia and coconut oils among many other beautiful ingredients, it's no wonder my skin felt amazing after. The Every Week Face Scrub doesn't contain micro beads, isn't tested on animals and comes at the hot price of only $12.95AU!
With #WorldOceanDay coming up on the 8th June, let's come together and jump on the #BanTheBead bandwagon by switching our microbead-filled scrubs for something that is good for the skin and the planet! Who's joining in? Let me know in the comments if you have switched your scrub or thinking to switch. Would love to know how many people are aware of microbeads and what they have changed in their Skincare routine xx