The use of microbeads in beauty products has been slammed by environmentalists for the devastating effects the tiny plastic particles has upon our oceans, but now the beauty world is also turning against the miniscule plastic balls. Found in everything from face scrubs to toothpaste, microbeads have replaced traditional, biodegradable alternatives such as ground nut shells and salt crystal in our favourites products, with billions of beads ending up down the drain on a daily basis. After making their way into the sea, the microbeads absorb toxins before being ingested by marine life, and eventually ending up on our plates.
While the ban on microbeads will come into effect in countries worldwide in 2017, beauty experts are also shunning the plastic source. Dermatologist Martin Wade from London Real Skin has highlighted why microbeads can actually be a skin nightmare - not a saviour.
“Microbeads are found in a variety of skin products including scrubs, exfoliators, cleansers, moisturisers and even some make-up items. Although a popular ingredient, I would recommend against using products that contain microbeads for the skin as you are essentially rubbing your face with plastic – the same plastic used to make milk bottles and household containers!” Martin told Cover Media.
Instead the skin specialist urges people to try natural alternatives such as oatmeal and salt if you want to use physical exfoliators.
Even better is a chemical exfoliator that contains polyhydroxy acids to gently remove the dead layers of skin.
“As well as having no dermatology benefit to the skin, we now know that microbeads cause significant damage to the environment as the plastic beads are too small to be filtered by sewage systems and are washed into our rivers and oceans,” he added.