Microbeads to be “scrubbed” from ingredient lists

Microbeads to be “scrubbed” from ingredient lists

The UK government has recently announced a ban on the sale of products containing microbeads by 2017, so too has the US. So what are microbeads? … tiny plastic beads added to face and body scrubs as an exfoliant. If your ingredient list includes polyethylene or polypropylene then chances are these little plastic balls are cleaning up your skin.

So what might this ban mean?
As yet we don’t know, but all will become clearer following a period of consultation due to begin later this year. Already some cosmetic companies have responded by announcing they will voluntarily phase out these controversial microbeads by 2020 and other companies like Johnson & Johnson and Proctor and Gamble faster still, by the end of 2017.

Balls may be banned, but you can still buy crushed nuts!

Worry not you can still buy exfoliating products. Smaller businesses have faster turnaround times and can bring new products to market faster, so we are likely to see a range of new exfoliating products hit the shelves. But much better look to the growing number of natural skincare companies who have never tried juggling with these plastic balls, instead you will find wonderful alternatives to polish your skin – jojoba beads, almond meal, crushed nut kernels. You even have the means of developing your own scrubs with ingredients in your kitchen from sugar, salt, oats and coffee grounds.

What’s wrong with microbeads?
Well as far as we know they don’t directly cause us any harm by using them as exfoliators. However, environmentalists believe they are building up in our oceans, being eaten by marine life and so potentially entering the food chain, so may end up inside us instead of on the outside. There isn’t much evidence yet about the threat to human health but there is a need to find out more. What we do know is that plastic in the form of bags alongside microbeads are polluting our amazing oceans, and harming marine life, you may have seen video clips of turtles who have eaten plastic bags, or marine life trussed up in plastic fishing lines and nets.
I have been privileged enough to see the beautiful, silent, vibrant underwater world we need to preserve when I used to dive. So please if you haven’t already make the switch now, and not just cosmetics, check your household cleaning products too.

Why exfoliate?
As we age our cell turnover slows down, by rubbing off the top layer of skin we expose fresher, smoother looking skin. Skincare products applied after exfoliating absorb better, and with regular exfoliating we stimulate production of new skin cells.

5 natural ways to fresher, smoother looking skin now
1. Use a muslin cloth as part of your skincare regime, dead skin will be gently washed away.
2. Use a product with natural exfoliators, as mentioned earlier. One of my favourites is Bodhi & Birch – Rosemary Chi Himalayan Detox Salt Scrub.
3. Try body brushing – find out how on the label of our stimulate bath salts
4. Bathe in Ass’s milk like Cleopatra. The lactic acid in milk is a gentle exfoliator, if you can’t find any then add a handful of dried milk powder to your bath.
5. Your face needs the most gentle of treatments and I use Konjac sponges which are made from the root of the Konjac plant and are compostable. My favourite anti-ageing sponge is infused with the antioxidant rich green tea.

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