Why are microbeads considered beauty industry’s most HARMFUL ingredient

In Health, Health News

The nation is now battling for the ban of microbeads. But are you aware of what that is and how that could affect us adversely? If you’ve ever applied an exfoliating body wash, a face scrub, or even just toothpaste, then it’s relatively sure that you’ve come across the little topical beads. So, how can this little bead cause all this confusion and agitation? In here we have described more about what it is and the effects caused by it.

What are they?

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‘Microbeads’ are small plastic beads which are used in the cosmetics industry for aiding in exfoliation purposes. You might see colourful microbeads floating in your shower gel, or perhaps they may be hidden in products that you wouldn’t even imagine.These microbeads are made of plastic and hence they are cheap to make. Though it’s only actually been in the past few years that all the adverse implications of applying them have come to light, they have been actually around for ages.

Why are they bad for the sea?

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These microbeads are very small and hence the sewage system can not filter them. Therefore they get washed into the rivers and oceans. From there they absorb all the toxins and get consumed by fish and other animals. This could either contaminate them or perhaps even kill them.

Why are they bad for my skin?

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Dr Martin Wade, who is a Dermatologist at London Real Skin says that even though it is a popular ingredient, he would suggest against using products which carry these plastic beads as you’re basically just rubbing your face with plastic. On the other hand, when these beads are used in the toothpaste, they could have harmful consequences on your gums as well.

What has microbeads in?

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Other than shower gels, these tiny microbeads are present in mascara, toothpaste and sunscreens. The only way to be certain is to examine the labels before purchasing anything new.

There are brands which just won’t write ‘contains microbeads’ on their packaging. In this case, you’ll need to look out for the “science-y” names like:
*nylon and polypropylene
*polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)
*oxidised polyethene
*polyethene terephthalate (PET)

What are my alternatives?


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Some of the best natural alternatives give you the exact same effects and hence you don’t have to be using the microbeads at all. For exfoliation, you can just try oatmeal or salt-based scrubs. As with the toothpaste, there are tonnes of toothpastes available out there that don’t carry the beads – that also includes the whitening ones.

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