One seeming constant in many exfoliating products has been the existence of microbeads. These tiny plastic beads help scrub free grime and dead skin cells to augment other aspects of an exfoliating product. Lately though, multiple countries and states in the USA are beginning to issue bans against the manufacture of microbead containing products. The decision may seem arbitrary at first, but there are good reasons for the decision. OROGOLD wishes to take the time to explain why there are an increasing number of microbead bans going into effect around the world and what you can do in the face of them. These bans are all rooted in trying to preserve the beauty of nature and prevent unnecessary death and harm befalling countless animal species and humans too.
What Precisely Is A Microbead?
As previously highlighted, microbeads are traditionally plastic beads included in exfoliating skin care products. They provide the rough part of scrubs or body washes they help to deal with unwanted debris on the skin. Each product using microbeads has a large number of beads within it. They sit in the product absorbing the chemicals and waiting to be used. There is, at least, one other kind of microbead though. Some products utilizing natural ingredients make the beads from the other components of the plant the product focuses on or a similar one. This results in a rough, natural exfoliant that helps support skin health while still being biodegradable. Most bans are concerned with the plastic variety, but some bans cover both forms of microbeads as a way to be thorough and avoid anyone trying to skirt around the bans.
What’s The Problem?
Understanding the problem requires taking steps to understand the scale of microbead use. You’ve probably used products utilizing microbeads before and it is likely your friends have as well. It is difficult to say how many of these beads are in one product, but you only use a fraction of them at a time. This doesn’t seem so bad at first. However, everyone using microbeads is flushing similar amounts of those beads into the water supply routinely. It rapidly begins to add up until the microbeads begin to saturate aquatic environments. This is bad enough as it can disrupt the food chain at high enough concentrations on its own. The bigger problem is that the beads are still saturated in the product they came from in the first place. OROGOLD understands that it seems a bit silly to worry about microbeads at first, but consider that fish and other organisms eat these beads. The topical products they are from leech into the systems of other animals. This can kill the animal or make it poisonous to eat. The bans are going into place to curtail this issue.
What Can I Do?
Many of the bans going into effect in the United States start going into full effect in 2018. That means that we all have time to figure out new products to use in place of the banned types. If you’re dedicated to microbeads, you should begin looking into products that utilize natural components to provide the exfoliating component as opposed to microbeads. These are becoming more available as the industry shifts towards favoring natural ingredient combinations for skin health. Ideally, you should also spread the knowledge of the bans to help ensure people are aware of the problem and begin to take their own steps to switch their products over. Ultimately, the bans aren’t as much to stop the microbeads from getting to unsafe levels in aquatic environments as they’re already there. Bans are going into place to stop the problem from getting any worse.
Microbead bans aren’t a random whim. The pursuit of beauty has accidentally created a situation with high potential hazard for both animals and humans. In the end, the shift of products is little more than a temporary inconvenience. OROGOLD encourages you to look for newer and better products than ones utilizing microbeads. It highly likely they’ll be better for your skin in addition to being better for the environment.