Are Microbeads Bad for Your Skin?

Terri's Tips

Microbeads may be microscopic, but they are causing a stir in the beauty industry and creating serious problems for our aquatic environment. These tiny plastic beads serve no benefit to the skin and are used as cheap alternatives to effective mineral and plant-based exfoliants.

Their environmental impact

Most commonly, microbeads are added to facial cleansers, scrubs, body wash and even wrinkle-filling facial creams. Environmentalists and scientists have discovered large quantities of microbeads in Australian waterways that are causing long term damage to marine life. The beads enter our waters via sewerage systems and are non-biodegradable. Every day, billions of these plastic particles are being flushed down our drains and into our lakes, rivers and oceans. Microbeads act like sponges and are capable of absorbing toxic by-products from our waters. If eaten by our marine life these toxins can make their way up the food chain, back to you and I as consumers. Numerous countries across the world including the USA, Europe, Canada, Sweden and now Australia are in the process of banning polyethylene microbeads in personal care products. Leading Australian supermarket chains, Coles and Woolworths, have pledged to withdraw products containing microbeads from their shelves by the end of 2017.

Opt for the alternatives

As part of our Clean Science philosophy, Synergie Skin pledges to avoid the use of any microbead technology in any of our formulas. There are many naturally derived materials that can be used for exfoliation such as walnut husks, coffee grinds, sugar and salt. We choose to formulate with aluminium oxide corundum-derived crystals (as found in MediScrub), a premium mineral scrub agent and the same material that is used in microdermabrasion treatments.  

Are aluminium oxide crystals safe?

There is some concern regarding aluminium's general affect on the body. Synergie Skin's aluminium oxide crystals are large scrub crystals and cannot penetrate into the body, unlike aluminium chlorohydrate, which is mostly found in in antiperspirants and made up of small particles that prevent perspiration from the sweat glands, and can be be toxic when inhaled or dissociated into the body. Corundum is a natural mineral that is almost identical to sapphire, highly stable, and unlikely to break down anywhere, let alone in the body. In terms corundum's impact on our waterways, these are natural minerals and will pass through aquatic life to become part of the natural waterbed, just like sand and silt minerals.

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