The Truth About Microbeads

cleansers that contain microbeadsMicrobeads are tiny plastic bits that are  used as exfoliators  in  skin care products.  Regular exfoliation is essential to remove the top ead  layer of skin cells and dirt that make a complexion  look dull and muddy.  Not only does exfoliation freshen and clarify the skin, it also stimulates  cell growth. Nice.

Microbeads may be good for the skin, but  not  so much for the environment. Microbeads are not biodegradable and  when rinsed off the skin, these little round plastic bits  are accumulating  in the lakes and oceans.  Studies indicate that fish  consume  microbeads which  can put these  beads into  our food supply.  That’s the  bad news.  The good news?  At the very end of last year  President Obama signed  the Microbead Free Water Act of 2015.2015.  This bipartisan bill  is designed to phase out the beads  within 5 years.

Which Products have Microbeads?

I was not happy to read that quite a few of my favorite products  contain microbeads.  Cleansers  from Aveeno, Clearasil, Clinique, Kiehl’s, Oil of Olay, Victoria’s Secret and toothpastes from Crest contain this  problematic  ingredient. The tiny size and smooth round  surface allow for gentle and exfoliation.  By contrast, some natural  exfoliators including ground walnuts and apricot pits may  scratch and tear the skin.   But there  are  many more choices for  great skin care.  Exfoliation is  more than  just  microbeads,  much more.

Exfoliators That  are Good for  Your skin and The Environment

There are three main alternative exfoliation options– mechanical, chemical and natural grains:

*Microdermabrasio Devices–

These battery run brushes deliver effective yet gentle exfoliation.  Some cleansers used with these popular devices  offer a cleanser that does contain  microbeads.  You can get excellent results with plain soap or liquid cleanser formulated for your skin type.  They can range from $29 drugstore devices to $200  models from Clarisonic.  I hve found that they all  deliver wonderful results.

Chemical Exfoliation

There is a long and excellent list of chemical exfoliation ingredients.  At the top of the list  are the alpha  hydroxy acids  eg lactic acid, glycolic acid and citric acid.  They  are  used in cleansers,  moisturizers and masks and  do a fantastic  job in  all of these formulations.    Salicylic acid is another strong exfoliator  that is excellent for oily and acne prone skin

Natural Exfoliators

Grains of sugar and salt are  safe for both your skin and the environment.  You will need to add them to either oil for dry skin and  glycerin for  oily skin for a great exfoliating cleanser  or  mask  ( They  will dissolve quickly if  added to liquids). I love  making cleansers  and masks with  rice flour.  The tiny, smooth  grains gently but throughly remove pore clogging debris.   I even uploaded a video  on Youtube demonstrating   how to make an exfoliating mask using  soy milk and rice flour.

Current  exfoliating cleansers and masks are being reformulated, but there are so  many  other options, this new law  will not even be a blip on your skin care routine.

One final  thought:  My  go- to  exfoliating  cleansing routinue  starts  with reusable micro fiber mini cloths that I offer in Fashion Flash Boutique.  Each $20 kit contains  seven  cloths and a launndy bag to wash them.  Not only do  they  do an amazing job of clarifying the skin, they do not  add a single molecule of waste  to  our environment.  Just  saying….

 

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