Micro-beads are small solid plastic particles. Often made of polyethylene, polypropylene, or polystyrene, microbeads are typically the size of a grain of sand. Used as an exfoliating agent, many companies use them in their facial scrubs, shower gels, soaps, toothpaste, and even over-the-counter drugs. Not only have microbeads been found to be bad for you, but they are also incredibly bad for the environment. Which is why they have been banned in over ten countries, including, France, the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, New Zealand, and the Netherlands. Here are some reasons you should avoid buying products that contain microbeads.
Microbeads can damage your eyes
While it is advised that you avoid the eye area when using exfoliants, sometimes microbeads can occasionally make it into your eye and scratch your cornea. According to Dr. Ali Mearza, an eye surgeon from the Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, microbeads can sometimes get stuck in the eye. And while in most cases microbeads can get blinked away, sometimes they can get lodged under the eyelid. When the eyelid closes, the lodged microbead can scratch the cornea, causing redness and irritation.
Micro-beads could impact your teeth and gums
Used in toothpaste to add texture and colour, microbeads may be doing more harm than good to your teeth and gums. According to some dentists, microbeads may cause gingivitis, receding gums, periodontal disease and may even wear away your tooth’s enamel after time. This is because microbeads can potentially trap bacteria and they may even get stuck under your gums.
Micro-beads may tear your skin
Despite being used in a range of skin products, using them too much may be doing your skin more harm than good. While some may think that over exfoliating is the key to better skin, this is simply not the case. Overusing skin products that contain micro-beads can potentially damage the skin. Some brands recommend that consumers use exfoliants every day and the cannot keep up. Some consumers who have over exfoliated with microbead products have reported having inflamed skin and even vascular problems such as rosacea. It is speculated that overuse of exfoliants that contain microbeads can lead to hypertensive skin, as the beads may scratch your skin and may even remove the underlying layer of healthy skin cells.
Micro-beads are bad for the environment and marine life
Not only are micro-beads durable, but they’re also non-biodegradable. This is bad for our oceans as when the beads are washed from our faces, hair or teeth, they make their way down the drains and into our waterways. Microbeads are made to last, which means when they make it into our oceans they remain there for years without decomposing. This can impact our marine life as they mistake micro-beads for food and ingest them. This can not only accumulate in their digestive systems and cause blockages, but it can also make its way up the food chain as smaller sea life are ingested by larger marine life such as fish, oysters, and mussels. Which are ultimately eaten by humans.
An alternative to micro-beads
The good news is that there are many great natural alternatives to microbeads, including Fucus. Fucus is a brown seaweed which has research to support that it could have beneficial properties for the skin. Researchers in Japan have found that Fucus could possibly have anti-aging properties, as it may decrease skin thickness and increase skin elasticity. Which is why Y natural uses Fucus extract in our 200 BUFF Marine Skin Polish, as it works as a natural exfoliant that gently removes the dead skin cells and makes the skin look more vibrant.