Plastic microbeads can no longer be used in cosmetics and personal care products in the UK, after a long-promised ban came into effect on Tuesday. The ban initially bars the manufacture of such products and a ban on sales will follow in July.

I was recently staying with my parents and whilst showering spotted a bottle of shower scrub by well know bodycare brand. I knew immediately that those little blue beads floating around in the gel would be plastic microbeads and after a check on the ingredients, (look out for Polyethylene , Polypropylene, Polyethylene terephthalate, Polymethyl methacrylate and Nylon), I was right…I didn’t hesitate in removing it to the bin explaining to my mum why.
She had seen on the news about the mircobead ban and was shocked such a well known company  would use that ingredient , we figured it would more than likely down to cost. Although my mum (unlike me) isn’t a skincare junkie and wouldn’t spend a lot of money on products I was pleased to hear she had visited a local Holland and Barrett to replace her body and skincare with free from nasties products. Go mum… She was very happy with the selection and price point.

Thousands of tonnes of plastic microbeads from products such as exfoliating scrubs and toothpastes are washed down the drain and into the oceans each year. Not only are they filling up our oceans causing harm to wildlife and environment they as also scratch our delicate skin due to the rough edges. It’s good to exfoliate your skin to remove dead skin cells that can block pores and help aid skin turnover process but no one wants to scratch there skin in the process, do they!

I generally opt for a liquid exfoliator which contain skin friendly acids like;

  • AHA – Lactic Acid – Glycolic Acid – Mandelic Acid
  • BHA – Salicylic Acid
  • PHA – Gluconolactone Acid – Lactobionic Acid  (for more information on these acids and how they work see my post, ‘Skin friendly Acids’)

These nibble away at the dead skin cells leaving you with smooth, clear, bright skin.  Look out for products containing fruit enzymes too, pineapple, papaya, pumpkin, lemon, they work in the same way as the acids.
However if you do prefer a physical scrub (I do like to use these every now and then) their are some natural ingredients that make good exfoliators like oats, rice powder, cocoa grains, some nut shells and crushed stones like garnet.

You can exfoliate your skin everyday as long as you are carefully with the type you use. Over exfoliating can cause significant damage to your skin cells and hair follicles leaving you with sore red inflamed bumpy skin..OUCH!
Always read the label and directions before use.

Here are a  few of my favourite, free from microbeads, physical exfoliating scrubs;

The Bodyshop Vitamin C Microdermabrasion £18.00 100ml
Goldfaden MD Doctor Scrub £65.00 £100ml (£35.00 for 50ml also available)
Diptyque Multi-use Exfoliating clay £44.00 (100ml)
Cane & Austin Face and Body Treatment Scrub £32.00 200ml