what is microbeads in cosmetics

Say bye-bye to the tiny little plastic microbeads in the exfoliating face cleansers of body washes! These tiny plastic beads have been outlawed in the United States in December 2015 by President Obama. UK will ban the products with microbeads from sale by the end of 2017. Hopefully, rest of EU will ban them soon.

What is a microbead?

The “Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015” defines the plastic microbead as any solid plastic particle that is less than five millimeters in size and is intended to be used to exfoliate or cleanse the human body.

Which cosmetic products can have microbeads?

Microbeads can be found in essentially hundreds of products, which are used create an exfoliating sensation for the consumers.

  • Body soaps
  • Facial cleansers
  • Facial and body exfoliators
  • Toothpaste
  • Many other beauty products

Why are the plastic microbeads bad?

Plastic microbeads are not dissolved with water. After you wash your face or scrub your body, these plastic microbeads go down the drain and pass through water filtration systems. Then, they end up in rivers, lakes and in the sea, where pollute the marine environment even ingested by the fish and birds. These beads bioaccumulate and may pose a serious threat to the wildlife and environment.

Is there a natural alternative to plastic microbeads?

Yes. Natural alternatives such as  jojoba beads, apricot seeds, ground nutshells, rice, apricot seeds, walnut shells, powdered pecan shells, bamboo, among others are biodegradable and pose no harm to marine life. They are just as effective as exfoliators, natural and do not pollute the environment.

If you like to find out what other ingredients are banned in US and internationally in the products used daily, check out Environmental Working Group (EWG)’s Skin Deep database and list of ingredients banned in the United States, Canada, European Union or Japan. 



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