Plastics in Skincare

Where they end up & how we can change it…

As everyone takes part in Plastic Free July it’s important to remember that although plastic debris like bags and bottles are a definite threat to our beautiful marine life, we can’t forget the lesser known & less visible dangers of plastic microfiber pollution.

Facial scrubs and exfoliants, body washes and lotions – did you know that many of these bathroom cabinet basics have more plastic inside them than the actual packaging they come in?  Scary huh?

The same plastic that is used to make milk containers and bottles also lurks in many beauty products in the form of tiny microbeads. Not only is this less than wonderful for you and your beautiful skin, but more and more studies are showing that it’s leaving a large and not so clean mark on our environment.

So what are microplastics, what makes them so hazardous and how can you help banish these tiny plastic time bombs? Read on to find out!

What are microplastics?

Microbeads are a form of microplastic (tiny, almost invisible pieces of plastic usually between 0.1 and 0 .5mm in size).  Also known as “mermaid tears”, they are deliberately
manufactured beads that give beauty products a grainy, exfoliant like texture and have come to replace natural exfoliating ingredients like oats and ground nut shells. 
LotusKoi_150

Why banish the bead?

Microbeads are so tiny that once down the drain, they slip swiftly through sewage systems out into our oceans, rivers, and lakes.  They closely resemble fish eggs, and marine life are often unable to differentiate between them and food so they gobble them up.  To make matters worse, microbeads attract and absorb toxins and pollutants like DDT, BPA and pesticides to form nasty chemical cocktails.

Studies show that over 663 different species have been negatively impacted by marine debris. Approximately 11% of these cases were specifically related to the ingestion of microplastics.  (1)

It’s believed that in Australia every square km of sea surface is contaminated with approximately 4000 pieces of microplastic! This is devastating for the health of our beautiful aquatic life, but also bad news for lovers of seafood – though scientists say it may be too soon to know the full effects of chemical transfer through the food chain.

How can you help?

Be a conscious consumer! It only takes a few small, simple changes to have a positive impact on our planet. Try buying from trusted, ethical companies and beware of greenwashing – read ingredient lists and check they don’t contain any of these nasties – polyethylene, polythene, PE, phthalates, microbeads or micro-exfoliates, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate, and nylon.

Paw-Paw-Original_300Here is the good news… there are lots of natural, sustainable and environmentally friendly alternatives available that can work wonders for your skin and help you live in harmony with nature! Try a toxin take out challenge and switch from chemical-based, environmentally harmful products to natural, cruelty-free ones.

Here are a few tips to help you banish the ‘bead!

Most microbead products are exfoliating agents. But natural alternatives can give your skin a gorgeous glow too. Try ingredients like papaya extract, brown rice flour, jojoba beads, walnut shells and sugar and salt granules – they will effectively exfoliate and buff away dead skin cells and pore build-up to reveal your beautifully soft, smooth skin!

We recommend…

Bare Faced Exfoliant…

For Most Skin Types

Bare Faced ExfoliantFine granules of rice combined
with elderflowers and chamomile reveal fresh, soft smooth skin.

Papaya Enzyme Mask…

For Most Skin Types

Papaya Enzyme MaskThis mask has been carefully formulated to exfoliate the skin by removing dead surface skin cells while absorbing impurities from the pores.

Cinnamon Facial Scrub…

Oily and Combination Skin

Cinnamon ScrubCinnamon and polished walnut shells gently buff your skin and reduce pore build-up.

For more information on Plastic Free July, to register for the challenge and to get some great tips on how you can help, check out http://www.plasticfreejuly.org/.

References

(1)  Secretariat of the Convention on Biological Diversity and the Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel—GEF (2012). Impacts of Marine Debris on Biodiversity: Current Status and Potential Solutions, Montreal, Technical Series No. 67.