Ban The Beads: Why You Need To Think Twice About Exfoliators25/02/2014
by Mark Walton
Protecting our oceans and marine life
Much concern has been aired in recent months in relation to the damaging affect some skincare products can have on the environment. Unknown to many consumers, some mass-market skincare producers use plastic microbeads as abrasive scrubbing agents in facial exfoliators, soaps and body scrubs which are small enough and buoyant enough to flow down drains and out into waterways, rivers, lakes and oceans. While these multi-coloured beads may look nice in scrubs and exfoliators they are hugely harmful not just to fish and other marine life, but also marine birds who mistake these beads for food or come in to contact with them through the fish that they eat.
Why cosmetic producers continue to use them?
Other than the fact that they’re cheap, the reason for using handmade plastic microbeads is the ability to mould them into perfectly round shapes and also dye them different colours to make cosmetics appear more attractive. While we all like our cosmetics to look and feel nice on our skin, this should never trump environmental and animal welfare.
The Alternative: Natural Exfoliators
We all love a facial wash that makes our face feel fresh, cleansed and super clean, but this
should not have to come at a cost to the environment. For this reason, environmentally friendly cosmetic companies – like ourselves here at VOYA – have committed to only using certified organic ingredients and naturally biodegradable scrubbing agents like spiney bamboo and walnut shells in their products rather than plastic beads which will not degrade and will continue to pollute the environment for generations to come.
So what should we look for in our scrubs and exfoliators in order to avoid these environmentally unfriendly microbeads? Look out for alternatives like rice, apricot seeds, spiney bamboo, walnut shells, shea nut, willow bark or pecan shells. As these holistic ingredients aren’t perfectly round they actually work as better exfoliators. With such good alternatives, the switch away from microbeads should be relatively easy.
Small Changes, Big Difference
Some improvements have been made in America after 22 cosmetic companies were seen to file for trade secret status in order to avoid telling the public about toxic chemicals found in almost 1,500 cosmetic products. However, with very little regulation in this area it is up to us to support cosmetic companies who promote the use of natural ingredients and lead the way for other cosmetic companies to improve their standards and make this a standard practice.
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