Most people associate microbeads with facial and body scrubs (yes, you might be scrubbing your skin with plastic!) but microplastics are actually used in a wide variety of skincare including washes, shampoos, conditioners, lotions, gels, cosmetics and... toothpaste! Sadly, avoiding skincare which contains them is often a lot harder than we realise.
Why? Microplastics are often used as texturisers - they are used to make a product feel silky and velvety, or to reduce the feeling of oiliness in a lotion. They’re also used as bulking agents to create a feeling of heaviness or richness in a product, or binding agents, i.e. to help keep lotions and creams stable). And they’re used in products which need to create a film of protection such as hair conditioners and nail polish or have light-reflecting effects (think make-up). We may literally be covering ourselves in plastic - and guess where it all ends up. These tiny fragments of plastic seep into our waterways and soil through many well-known sources such as disposable cups (which are lined with plastic) and wet wipes (most use synthetic polymers to make their wipes stronger)
As always, simple, all natural skincare is best. Get to know the products you use well and slim down the number on your shelf. The fewer skincare products you use, and the more you know about them, the better off your skin, and our environment will be!
For a comprehensive list of microplastic ingredients to watch out for and avoid: