Exfoliating in a Post-Microbead World
Microbeads are a fairly modern invention, but they exploded on the market for face exfoliators to the point that many people consider them fundamental ingredients in skin care products. The scrubbing power and benefits convinced many consumers that all the best exfoliators contained microbeads.
And for a while, they did work. The gritty quality of microbead face and body exfoliators helped remove makeup and toxins from the surface of the skin, and there were no health problems associated with using them. Skin care companies were also pleased with the tiny beads since they were cheap to produce.
But public perception changed dramatically this year when Illinois banned the small plastic beads, followed shortly by New York. Microbeads don’t break down easily in water, allowing many of them to clog and contaminate water systems after users washed them off their face and bodies. They may not be toxic to humans, but they’re taking a toll on the environment nonetheless.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to recreate the microbead effect without the use of plastic. Biodegradable and natural alternatives like small plant seeds, ground nut shells and bamboo can provide exfoliation that can match the best exfoliators without damaging the environment. Some may even work better, while being more gentle on the skin.
Many natural skin care providers already offer products like apricot seed scrubs and rice exfoliators for customers who want their skin care regimen to be easier on the environment.
Larger companies may have a harder time adopting microbead alternatives due to cost, but companies like Unilever, The Body Shop, L’Oreal, Johnson and Johnson and Colgate-Palmolive are already transitioning to microbead alternatives. By 2015, all of their microbead products will have been fazed out.
The best exfoliators are good for you and the environment. Check out microbead alternatives today and do your part to help the earth.