Why You Should Avoid Scrubs with Plastic Microbeads

Cornerstone post-shaving scrub

You may have noticed that we use volcanic sand exfoliating grains in our face scrub, rather than plastic microbeads. There are two reasons why we opted for natural exfoliating grains; the first being that they don’t damage the environment and the second being that we believe these natural grains are a lot more effective. There’s been much more focus on plastic microbeads as of late so we thought we’d look into these little particles to explain why they’re causing havoc to our environment.

Microbeads are the small plastic particles that you’ll find in face scrubs, toothpaste and soaps. They’re little but they’re causing a big uproar in the cosmetics industry as increasing public concerns concludes in a petition to ban them altogether. But what’s all the fuss about? Here are three reasons why you shouldn’t use products with microbeads.

Microbeads pollute the environment

So that you don’t have to go through the trouble of cleaning after using your favourite scrub, these minuscule microbeads are designed to go down the drains of your shower. Most water treatment plants are not well equipped to filter these tiny pebbles, so up to 8 million tonnes end up in our rivers, seas and oceans each year. The UN Environmental Programme has suggested that microbeads have become the most harmful pollutants in our oceans, endangering the sustainability of water bodies and marine life.

As non-biodegradable chemicals they will be around for decades, contributing to the massive concentration of plastics in our oceans. With the growing concerns for the state of our environment, adding unnecessary plastics to our oceans when other viable solutions exist seems rather senseless.

A side of microbeads with your sushi?

If polluting the environment is not a good enough reason to make you think twice about using these products, then knowing that some are finding their way into your food might just do it. Large amounts of microbeads not only end up flowing into oceans, but they also end up absorbing vast quantities of nasty chemicals that can cause hormonal imbalances and neurological diseases. These toxin-filled, non-biodegradable plastic microbeads are then eaten by fish. The same fish that you might be dining on tonight – yum!

Swedish researchers have also found that some species of fish are developing addictions to these plastic pebbles. Fooled into thinking they are a source of high-energy nutrients, fish start to choose microbeads over their natural food supplies. In turn, this increases mortality rates and form all sorts of nasty illnesses. The changes in behaviour patterns are then learnt by juvenile fish, creating a vicious circle of addictive plastic-eating. The researchers have gone further to associate the decline of species such as the perch or pike to the widespread use of these plastics.

Microbeads don’t really work

Aside from all the gruesomeness of imagining yourself having them for supper, there is no actual proof that microbeads work better than natural alternatives! We’ve been led to believe that those little textured spheres help get rid off dead cells more effectively, but there is little evidence backing these claims. Some researchers go as far as claiming that everyday household staples, such as salt or sugar, are better at sloughing away dead skin cells.

So they harm the environment, find their way into your food and don’t actually work- three great reasons to not use products containing plastic microbeads. The good news is that none of our products contain these nasty plastic microbeads. Our pre-shaving scrub uses volcanic sand to gently and effectively slough away dead skin cells whilst helping to release ingrown hairs so that you’re left with a smoother surface for your razor to glide across- meaning less chance of nicks and cuts!

What’s your view on the use of microbeads? Let us know on Twitter and Facebook.

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