Proper exfoliation removes the shallow layer of dead cells from the surface of your skin, opening the way for moisturizers to make direct contact with your pores. It’s no surprise that exfoliants can be found in many of the products sitting on your vanity or in your shower. Although the basic principle of exfoliation is simple, to scrub away the layer of dead skin, the ingredients that companies choose to achieve this effect can vary. For the most part, the majority of exfoliating agents are okay in my book, there is one so bad that should always be avoided! Former President Obama even signed a bill in 2015 calling for its ban beginning mid-2017.
The ingredient I’m talking about is polyethylene, the synthetic plastic beads many of the biggest names in personal care are putting in their products. Chances are you have a product in your home that contains this exfoliating agent. Polyethylene plastic beads, or microbeads, as they’re often referred to, are solid plastic particles less than 5 micrometers in their largest dimension. The small size allows them to go right down your drain. 1 bottle of a product can contain upwards of 330,000 microbeads and it is estimated that 8 trillion of them make their way down our drains daily. They were first used in personal care products in 1972 and became wildly popular because of how cheap they are to manufacture and how easily they blend into soaps.
But why should you care? The microbeads are not being ingested, so no harm done, right? Wrong! Microbeads have been known to pose a fatal threat to marine life and introduce harmful chemicals into the food chain. Once flushed down your drain, these non-biodegradable beads find their way into bodies of water where fish mistake them for food and ingest them. One environmental study conducted in 2012 to determine the amount of plastic in the Great Lakes found microbeads in high concentrations floating around, as well as in the intestines of fish.
Next time you’re in the market for a facial scrub, take a look at the ingredients. Here are some alternatives to plastic microbeads:
At Beau Brummell for Men, our exfoliating agents are natural, clean, and environmentally safe. Our Gentlemen’s Facial Scrub uses crushed walnut shells and bamboo. Our Walnut Hand & Foot Scrub uses walnut shells, pumice, and oat flour.
Try our sample kit today to see what natural exfoliants can do for your skin. It’s free to try, just pay $4.99 to cover the shipping. You’ll receive samples of the following from men’s skincare experts: