What are microbeads?
Microbeads are tiny pieces of plastic that can be found in all sorts of places, but when it comes to cosmetics, they’re known for being the barely-there exfoliating granules that slough off dead cells straight from the surface of your skin. Think body scrubs, shower gels and toothpastes. They began to be used in bath and beauty products for their powers of exfoliation (whilst being inexpensive, uniform in size and easy to get for manufacturers), but were quickly found not be as innocent as they look.
Why are they so bad?
They might be small, but microbeads have long been causing a big problem when it comes to our planet. Once we’re done scrubbing our face, brushing our teeth or washing our body, we rinse that product down the drain and those microbeads find themselves meeting up with the sea somewhere along the line. Why? They’re so small, our sewage systems can’t filter them out. Mistaken for food, they end up being swallowed by marine life and bringing harmful chemicals into the food chain. As if that wasn’t bad enough, the non bio-degradable beads also contribute to the huge amount of plastic debris that’s on our ocean floor already (which we know is growing at a scary rate, every day). Once they get into this environment, they’re impossible to remove because of how small they are.
What’s the good news? The UK has now banned the use of microbeads in skincare, putting a stop to their presence in our beauty products and following a ban in the US in 2015. It’s a step forward in protecting our oceans.
What can I use instead?
At REN Clean Skincare, we’ve never used microbeads in our products, making sure that the ingredients we use are as safe on your skin as they are to our planet. Luckily, there are lots of alternative, eco-friendly ways to get fresh-faced, giving your skin the same renewed texture and radiant glow without using microbeads.
It’s not just our complexions that need microbead-free exfoliation to glow. When it comes to bodycare, salts are what we turn to as an eco-friendly alternative. If you’re a fan of indulgent rose scents, our Moroccan Rose Otto Sugar Body Polish uses cane sugar to exfoliate, whilst within the Atlantic Kelp and Magnesium Salt Anti-Fatigue Exfoliating Body Scrub, we use fresh sea and magnesium (Epsom) salts to leave your skin silky smooth.
Our Rosa Centifolia Gentle Exfoliating Cleanser uses exfoliating beads from Jojoba Wax which gently lift and exfoliate dead skin cells and other pollutants, whilst our Micro Polish Cleanser uses naturally-derived microbeads of amber powder. Both are natural substitutes that are biodegradable. Want to switch to exfoliants that don’t use beads at all? That’s where chemical exfoliants come in. Our Glycol Lactic Radiance Renewal Mask uses a cocktail of fruit-based AHA’s to naturally exfoliate your skin. This exfoliating face mask is something that you’d only use a couple of times a week at most to give your skin a boost when it needs it, but not as a part of your everyday routine. Want a daily natural glow-fix? Ready Steady Glow Daily AHA Toner uses the power of three natural bio-actives (AHA’s and BHA’s) to gently resurface the texture of your skin and boost your natural glow.