Tiny spheres of plastic, known to consumers as microbeads, have been used in beauty products ranging from cleansers to exfoliators for decades. They were seen as a gentle way to improve the overall quality of your skin, but as it turns out, they've been causing more harm than good. Once you've utilized the product, the little orbs are sent down the drain and waste water treatment plants don't have the ability to filter them out.
As a result, microbeads end up in oceans, rivers, and streams where animals that don't know any better see them as a part of their food pyramid and feast on them. Not only are these beads toxic to animals, but if a fish eats microbeads and ends up on your dinner table, you and your family are exposed to the toxins as well. In addition to these chemical risks, microbeads found in other products—like toothpaste—have a tendency to get stuck in gums and cause dental problems.
On an international level, activist groups such as Beat the Microbead and 5 Gyres have been fighting for a ban on microbeads over the past few years and they've finally made some headway. On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, legislation that prevents the future manufacturing of beauty products that include microbeads. If you have one of these products in your beauty regimen, it is highly recommended that you toss the product and find something new to love.
Here's a list of all offending beauty products in the United States that contain microbeads. Some of our favorites that were unfortunately on the list include Clean & Clear's Morning Burst Cleanser and Neutrogena's Blackhead Eliminating Scrub.
While this might be devastating for beauty girls everywhere, this is also an opportunity to explore and find new products that will save your skin while also taking care of the environment. Replace your cleanser with this Acne Clearing Scrub by Biore, and get smoother skin with a natural exfoliator formulated with jojoba esters that sloughs away dead skin for good. By being mindful of the products you are using on your skin, not only will you prevent harmful chemicals from being released into the environment, but you also will be preventing these chemicals from harming your body in the future.