Have you ever wondered what are these micro granules in your personal care products? Unless it is a natural product it is more than likely these granules are made out of plastic. As plastic is cheaper and easier to obtain that natural equivalents. Plastic particles in these cosmetics is  definitely harmless. in most product plastic microbeads are used in exfoliators and face an body scrubs. Since the  appearance of plastic in cosmetics  around 50 years ago, it has become very common in cosmetic and personal care formulations. In many cases it has replaced natural options as it is cheaper and easier to obtain.

At first I thought plastic will be found mostly in exfoliating face and body scrubs and maybe whitening toothpastes, but there are a lot more uses for it.Their use goes well beyond scrubbing effect in scrubs. Plastic ingredients are a vital part of variety of leave-on and rinse-off formulations such as:

  • deodorants,
  • shampoos,
  • hair conditioners,
  • shower gels,
  • lipsticks,
  • hair colouring products,
  • shaving creams and foams, 
  • sunscreens and many many more.

Microbeads and other plastic ingredients are present in different products in different percentages. Some products might contain only 1% of plastic ingredients and some might contain even 90%.

An average shower peeling contains as much plastic in form of exfoliating microbeads as the packaging it comes in.

Plastic microbeads in cosmetics and personal care products are poured down the drain after each use. They will never be collected for recycling, they do not decompose and more than likely eventually they will end up in our Eco system in the water and soil. Scientists found plastic in fish, oysters, honey and rain water.

How to find plastic microbeads in the ingredient list?

Many companies are removing plastic ingredients from their products. For the moment they only thing we can do is to check the ingredient list before we will buy any other personal care product.

We should watch out for

  • POLYETHYLENE (polietylen, PE),
  • POLYETHYLENE TEREPHTHALATE (politereftalan etylenu, PET), POLYESTER-1 (poliester),
  • POLYURETHANE (poliuretan).

Here are a few well known companies that declared removing microbeads from their cosmetics: Avon, The Body shop, Loreal, Lush, Unilever and many many more.

When we buy only environmentally friendly products, we contribute to keeping Earth clean and we do not absorb any chemicals through our skin.

I am very passionate about natural products and when there is a choice between a natural product and regular product I will always go for the natural version. In natural products plastic micrebeads are replaced with crushed nut seeds, salt crystals, sugar and milled coffee beans.

Check your cosmetics and see how many of skin care products you own are plastic free 🙂