Article by Helen Chidgey 13.07.16
June 8th was World Oceans Day, and as an eco-friendly company we at Tropic are proud to speak up for our seas! It’s important to us that everything we do has as little effect on our environment as possible, and that’s why we have never, and will never, use microbeads in any of our skincare, body care or makeup products. If you’re not quite sure what microbeads are or why they’re a bad thing, we’re giving you all the info right here!
WHAT ARE MICROBEADS?
Microbeads are teeny, tiny plastic beads found in many skincare products, usually measuring less than 0.5mm, too small to see! They are most often found in face and body scrubs, designed to give an exfoliating effect, and these tiny beads do not dissolve over time meaning they can have a hugely harmful effect on our oceans.
Believe it or not, more than 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans each year, and shockingly researchers have now calculated that if the current trend continues then by 2050, in terms of weight, there could be more plastics in the ocean than fish!
WHAT ARE THEY USED FOR?
Microbeads were first thought to be a miraculous invention, providing exfoliation without an abrasive effect on the skin. In recent years however, they have become a hot topic, with many researchers citing them as one of the worst environmental threats.
Microbeads are still used by many skincare and cosmetic brands in the UK despite being banned in the US and Canada, and they can be found in everything from your body scrub to your toothpaste to your cleaning products.
With microbeads in focus on World Oceans Day, we were interested to know why many brands still choose to use these harmful beads. We chatted to our in-house Formulation Chemist to find out what she thought about the results they provide:
“There are so many natural ingredients out there that provide the same exfoliating effect as microbeads, so there’s really no reason to use them. Many companies include them in their formulations because they are cheaper to produce, but the harmful effect they have on our environment means it’s just not worth it.”
WHY ARE THEY HARMFUL?
Microbeads can either come from large plastic items that fragment into smaller pieces, or from their use in personal care and cleaning products. When these microbeads enter the ocean through our drains, they are ingested by fish and other sea creatures, which cause them all sorts of painful health issues and even death.
This is also bad news for animals and humans on land. According to CBC News and other sources, microbeads can result in fish ending up with harmful chemicals in their body, which many of us then go on to eat. It’s an awful vicious cycle.
WHAT CAN I DO TO CHANGE THINGS?
The simple answer: ditch products with microbeads! There are plenty of natural, plastic-free alternative products out there that work just as well if not better than products that still include this harmful ingredient.
Every single one of our Tropic products are free from plastic! Our popular exfoliating Body Smooth Refreshing Polish is made using mineral rich organic sea salts, and our gorgeous Face Smooth Brightening Polish uses ground rice and bamboo silica particles to get the exfoliating texture – you won’t find a single microbead in there…a win for your skin and the sea!
Let’s ditch the microbeads and help make the world’s oceans healthier places for future generations!