Those colourful beads in the exfoliating scrub you use for your face, or the ones that are supposed to leave your teeth squeaky clean, are probably microbeads. They’re not as innocent as they seem. Read on to find out why.
First, the basics.
Microbeads are small plastic beads upto 1 mm in diameter, commonly used in face washes, scrubs, soaps, masks, and even your morning’s toothpaste. The main plastic used in them is polyethylene, but there are others like polypropylene, nylon, and some other tongue-twister jargon we’ll spare you from. Why would anyone want to use plastic for such products? Well, because these beads do a decent job of clearing out dirt, and they’re much cheaper to manufacture in large quantities, as compared to their natural counterparts.
What’s the big deal?
First off, plastic on your skin, that too from products which don’t even need them? No, thank you.
More importantly, these tiny plastic beads, millions of them, get washed into the oceans just like plastic bags usually do. They clog drains and seep into fertilizers on their way there, too. What’s worse, is that their small size misleads fish and other aquatic animals into swallowing them as food, which can make them choke.
Phew. How do we fix this?
Well, at Plum, we’ll never use such dangerous ingredients. The more companies make that decision, the faster we can get rid of this problem.
And thankfully, as of January 2018, the use of microbeads in cosmetic and skincare products has been banned by many governments.
Does that mean I’ll have to bid goodbye to a decent scrub?
Nope! Several safe and effective substitutes exist, many of which we use ourselves – cellulose beads for example can be derived from renewable sources, don’t leave residue on skin and are biodegradable. Walnut shells, lemon, jojoba beads and more alternatives are out there, so have no fear!
Let’s make informed decisions when we choose what to buy. That’s a simple step we all can take towards living responsibly!
Until next time then, be good!