Many facial scrubs are filled with exfoliating microbeads that are meant to cleanse the skin, clear clogged pores, and remove dead skin for rejuvenated and soft skin. However, research is showing these little beads are quite damaging to the environment, and they’re now considered a major pollutant in water sources.
Many environmental professionals are recommending microbeads be removed from many commercial products because their effects on marine environments are becoming devastating.
The Dangers to the Environment
Microbeads may be extremely tiny, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t having a negative impact on the environment. Most notably, the Great Lakes region is seeing a huge spike in plastic pollution thanks to these beads. Because they’re so small, they can slip through most water treatment filtration systems, so when the water is returned to natural water sources after treatment, the beads go right along with it.
During extensive testing in the Great Lakes, results revealed 17,000 bits of tiny plastic per square kilometer in Lake Michigan, and Lake Ontario is seeing even more of an effect.
Unfortunately, the beads are the same size as most fish eggs, so many of the animals in these water systems are mistaking the plastic pieces for food. There isn’t too much research on the effects it will have on the animals’ systems, but the plastic contains enough chemicals that it will eventually begin to negatively affect the humans who are consuming these marine animals.
Environmental groups recommend consumers avoid any personal care products that contain polyethylene or polypropylene because it means they contain microplastics.
What Are Some Natural Alternatives?
For people who have to have exfoliants in their facial products, there are some alternatives that will have the same effect without harming the environment. Microbeads acceptable for the environment will biodegrade and hopefully be sustainably sourced.
Some environmental experts are recommending avoiding exfoliants that are sugar-based because it’s simply adding another unnatural product to water sources. Personal care products using fruit enzymes as exfoliants are an excellent alternative to microbeads and won’t have any impact on water sources because they break down so quickly.
Other companies are using things like jojoba beads to replace the plastic microbeads. The jojoba beads exfoliate exactly like the plastic beads, but they’re free of chemicals, and they break down in the water instead of simply passing through the filtration system.
There are lots of ways for consumers to get soft, exfoliated skin without harming the environment. For more information, contact Vermont Facial Aesthetics. It takes a small amount of extra effort to ensure personal care products are simply making skin more youthful without permanently damaging the environment. Contact us today.