Should Microbeads Be Outlawed?

Chances are you don’t think about the environmental damage you are causing each time you rinse off your favorite exfoliator and watch it disappear down the shower drain. But did you know that the microbeads in our scrubs and soaps are made out of plastic? Guess where our shower water flows? If you guessed the ocean, then it probably just clicked! Each time we use these kind of products, we are contributing to polluting our oceans with marine debris plastic, or as we’d like to think of them, skin softeners. While it’s hard to deny how much healthier our skin is after exfoliation, it’s certainly less appealing knowing that each time we scrub off our dead skin cells, we are also flushing plastic that will eventually wind up in the ocean.

Due to the harsh environmental impacts these microbeads are causing, many environmental groups have been applying pressure on those making, selling and buying these personal care products. Gyre 5, a California based environmental group has put together an aggressive plan of action to stop the use of microbeads on all levels by getting retailers to discontinue selling such products and by forcing manufactures to put a halt on their production. In addition, Gyre 5 is encouraging consumers to boycott the purchase of microbead products while spreading awareness so lawmakers will take notice and ban the use of microbeads once and for all.

By 2015, Unilever, maker of Dove, Vaseline and Ponds, has promised to phase out the use of plastic microbeads as scrub materials in their beauty products, saying, “The issue of plastics particles in the ocean is an important issue.” With the pressure to outlaw microbeads in cosmetics, you can’t help but wonder how a product that promises to be so beneficial to your skin can be so harmful for the environment. Knowing how important this issue is, will you stop exfoliating?