As you all no doubt know, the UK has recently banned the production and sale of certain products that contain microbeads, or microplastics, in an attempt to slow down the rate at which our oceans and waterways – not to mention their inhabitants – are filling with plastic pollution. It’s a fantastic step for the UK, following on from the 5p charge on plastic bags which, since it’s introduction in 2015, has seen an 80% drop in the number of plastic bags used, but the microbead ban has hit the exfoliator industry hard. Lots of brands were already ahead of the curve, but many common products that would once frequent the shelves of retailers like Boots and Superdrug will be discontinued and withdrawn from stores, leaving many in need of a new go-to exfoliator.
Well never fear!
This week on #SkinTheKnow, we’re going to talk you through the process of finding a new, reliable exfoliator that is kind to your skin and to the environment – without breaking the bank.
Microbeads – why all the fuss?
Microbeads are the tiny pieces of plastic added the rinse-off products such as face washes, toothpaste and shower gels, intended to give the products an exfoliating quality to scrub away dead skin and dirt. This is all well and good, and the synthetic nature of the beads means that they are perfectly round and therefore not likely to damage or cause excessive abrasion to the skin (when used correctly, that is; see our previous article to find out how often you should exfoliate).
The problem lies when these products are then rinsed off your skin and down the drain.
Many of these microbeads do not get caught in the filtration system of our sewage works, and therefore a small percentage of them make it into our waterways and oceans. This percentage, however small, has been building up over the years, especially when you consider that approximately 680 tonnes of microbeads were used in cosmetic products every year in the UK alone.
These tiny fragments of plastics do not biodegrade, and on their journey to the ocean collect tiny particles of plant life, or phytoplankton, and are mistaken by fish as a food source. The tiny plants are digested by the fish, but the plastic is left behind, which can lead to the blockage of digestive tracts, leading to starvation, and in some case, poisoning the fish from the toxic chemicals in the plastics. This not only affects the fish that eat the plastics but also the other animals further up the food chain that eat the fish – that includes us!
Natural and Biodegradable Exfoliators
There are many companies, as well as articles online, that are preaching the benefits of natural exfoliators as an environmentally friendly alternative to the plastic microbeads. A lot of these exfoliators are things like ground up apricot stones, or walnut shells, which are perfectly harmless to wash down the drain and won’t cause any fish to have tummy troubles. These alternatives are also often praised because of the vitamins and minerals that naturally occur in the scrubbing ingredient.
The problem with these though is what they can do to your skin.
While microbeads are synthetic and formed into perfect little spheres, the fragments of shell or fruit pit are all irregular shapes, often jagged and with sharp edges, which can cause unnecessary abrasion to your skin, leaving tiny wounds and scratches on the surface. These can leave your skin open to infection and can result in reddened skin, inflammation and possible spots.
There are also face scrubs that use biodegradable plastics in the production of their microbeads, but these too have been covered by the UK ban, as it is believed that the plastic does not degrade quickly enough, and still cause damage to the environment.
Amazing alternative to Exfoliators:
- Rosacure® Gentle Cleansing Gel – specially designed for rosacea, with remarkable soothing action
- Aknicare® Gentle Cleansing Gel – Calms angry skin while gently cleansing and toning
So which do you choose?
Do you prioritise what’s best for your skin, or do you do your bit to save our little corner of the world and all its fishy friends?
We at SkinMed® say both!
Our exfoliator available online, Aknicare® Cleanser, does not contain a ‘scrubbing’ agent at all, instead, ours utilises a chemical agent, to gently clear away excess skin and oils, without doing any damage – to you or to the ocean. On top of that, it’s also specifically designed for those suffering from acne – as if it couldn’t get any better!
And if you don’t suffer from acne? SkinMed® also have a wide range of chemical exfoliators available to purchase from out many SkinMed® accredited clinics, that offer fantastic results for a variety of skin types and conditions. To find your nearest clinic, simply give us a call on 0333 247 2474 to speak to a member of our clinical team.
In these changing times in which our impact on the world around us is becoming more and more apparent, chemical exfoliators are definitely the way forward, offering you the results you want, without impacting the environment. Aknicare® Cleanser can be purchased individually or as a part of out Aknicare® and Acne TripleLock® product sets.
To learn more about Aknicare® Cleanser, click here
Acne TripleLock® is a clinically proven skin solution, and unlike cosmetic brands, is medically licensed in the treatment of acne, with thousands of successful users across the UK and Europe.
The products were created through decades of experience, in collaboration with top dermatologists from all around Europe. Professor Tony Chu, President of the Acne and Rosacea Association UK (ARA UK) endorses and prescribes the products for his patients – you can be certain you’re in the right hands.
To learn more about the Acne TripleLock® range, click here
SkinMed® has a variety of product ranges to treat many skin conditions, suitable for almost all skin types.
Need help deciding what to buy? Take advantage of our trained skin specialists, they know skin inside and out as well as our extensive product ranges – that makes them the best people to ask when it comes to seeking advice.
There’s no such thing as a silly question, we’ve heard it all! Contact us using the details below: