Microbeads – Why we Should Avoid them and Natural Alternatives

microbeads are tiny plastic balls in beauty products

What are Microbeads?

Microbeads are the tiny plastic balls that are commonly found in beauty products such as face masks and shower gels. The microbeads are made of plastic that does not decompose and inevitably ends up polluting the environment. They are supposed to help with the exfoliation of dead skin cells. However many experts say they are ineffective in the small quantities that are found in products. The real reason they are included are to give the product better aesthetics and make people more likley to purchase.

Microbeads ultimately end up as microplastic pollution in lakes and oceans as they are too small to be filtered out. This causes huge environment issues as small animals eat them and either die or end up with compromised health. The plastic from microbeads is working its way into the food chain and damaging fragile marine life. Another big cause of microplastic is synthetic fibres from clothes that have been released by washing machines. Another reason why its best to wear natural fibres.

You can tell if a product has microbeads as they will be listed as either polypropylene, polyethylene or microbeads on the package. Many manufacturers are recognising the damage with all this plastic but are being slow to reformulate. We can force them to act quicker by boycotting brands that still insist on using them.

Natural Ways to Exfoliate

  • Granulated sugar or salt – simply rub all over and rinse off in the shower.
  • Dry skin brushing – using a body brush rub towards your heart then have a shower.
  • Hot flannel – brush your flannel in a circular motion to remove dead skin cells.
  • Chia Seeds – make a chia face mask.
  • Grind up nut husks – ground nut shells such as hazelnut, walnut and pecan make a great decomposable scrub.
  • Oatmeal – mix oatmeal with hot water for a great facial scrub.
  • Turmeric, activated charcoal and baking soda – all of these are also mentioned in natural tooth whitening as they are great for their natural abrasive qualities. Turmeric and activated charcoal are both brilliant for scrubbing but they do stain white bathrooms so its something I tend to use outside in the summer.
Pecan shells
Pecan shells can either be ground up in a electric grinder or using a pestle and mortar for a great natural scrub

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1 thought on “Microbeads – Why we Should Avoid them and Natural Alternatives”

  1. I had no idea those balls were plastic. I will be much more aware next time I’m buying something like this. I assumed they were just something that dissolved easily.

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