Beauty care products like cleansing facewashes and face scrubs have become very popular as the ads for these products promise flawless skin, as the ingredients in these products gently exfoliate the skin and in time they help to get rid of the upper layer of damaged skin. However, as all of us know, advertisers are not known for their truthfulness! It is true that the ingredients in these scrubs will help to get rid of the uppermost layer of dead skin cells along with any grime or dust on your skin, but there is no evidence that they can help to reduce pitted acne scars. Furthermore, we are now warned that some of these ingredients are downright harmful – and microbeads are among the worst and can pose very serious health risks.
What Are Microbeads?
Microbeads are extremely tiny plastic balls (5mm or less) that are added to cleansing facewashes and face scrubs. As you massage these products into your skin, the plastic microbeads rub against your skin and this helps to loosen the grease and grime on your skin so that you can literally “scrub” your skin clean. The effect of these face scrubs is therefore similar to using very fine-grain sandpaper to cleanse your skin – believe it or not, some people actually use sandpaper as part of their regular beauty regimen!
What Are The Health Risks From Microbeads?
“Studies show that as these plastic microbeads start to degrade they break down and the chemicals in them have severe and widespread effects on the reproductive, neurological, and immune systems of fish and animals and even to humans”
Microbeads seem innocent enough and it is unimaginable that something so small can pose any sort of significant health risk. However, several studies now show that these beads impact ground water, lakes, rivers and oceans in ways no one anticipated. These plastic beads are ingested by fish and marine life that mistake them for food and this allows plastic pollutants to enter our food chain where they contaminate all life include ours. Studies show that as these plastic microbeads start to degrade they break down and the chemicals in them have severe and widespread effects on the reproductive, neurological, and immune systems of fish and animals and even to humans.
One of the most common chemicals in microbeads is a chemical additive called Bisphenol-A. This chemical is known to disrupt endocrine functioning, which is why it has been banned in several countries. The chemical has been linked to a plethora of health problems including cancer, type-2 diabetes, heart disease, mental deterioration, immune system disruption, and obesity. The chemicals from microbeads pose the greatest threat to unborn children and toddlers which is when their systems are still developing. These chemicals can have a lasting effect on a child’s mental development and can lead to lower IQ levels as well as other emotional and mental health problems later on in life.
What Are The Alternatives To Microbeads?
“Several companies are now switching to organic, cellulose-based microbeads, which do not pose these health risks, so you can avoid any product that includes polymers; you can also make your own natural face scrub at home”
India has a booming beauty industry and unlike most of the developed nations, we do not have any regulations to prohibit the use of microbeads in beauty products. Despite this, several companies are now switching to organic, cellulose-based microbeads, which do not pose these health risks. When buying your face scrub check the ingredients on the label and avoid all products that contain polymers.
You can also make your own home scrub by mixing honey, gram flour, sour lime juice, and a little water. Mix this thoroughly until you have a thin paste and use this instead of your regular face scrub. Lime juice is a natural acid and it will help to breakdown any grease and oil on your skin while gram flour has natural cleansing properties. The honey in this face scrub will moisturize your skin, so using it will not cause your skin to dry out.
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