Here’s something that no one ever thinks about – How do your exfoliants affect the waterways of our world?
Already, our oceans are in serious danger. Not just with the recent oil spill, but with what has come to be called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch – a virtual floating island (about the size of Texas) of plastic bags and other odds and ends. While there are some things we all expect to appear in a plastic island; water bottles, pvc piping, and other plastic containers, there is one thing we probably never think of – exfoliants.
Most exfoliants are liquid based with beads mixed into them, meant to scrub away dirt and dead cells to leave soft, healthy skin behind. The trouble is that most of these beads are made of plastic! These “microbeads” end up going down the drain and into our waterways, eventually finding their way to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch and smaller clusters like it. Even worse, these beads are so small that they often are ingested by small creatures, even plankton, with often fatal results.
So how do we avoid these tiny plastic beads without sacrificing the feeling of clean skin? Use all natural exfoliants! There are plenty of natural exfoliants on the market today that use ground seeds, nuts, and salts instead of plastics, such as St. Ives Apricot Scrub, which uses ground apricot kernels and is award winning as an exfoliant.
Want to know whether your face wash is among the culprits discussed above? Just look for “polyethylene” in the label’s ingredient list, and check here for a more in depth article and a list of other all-natural brands, as well as brands to avoid.