By Fredrica Syren:
They might be itsy bitsy, teeny weeny, but they are a big problem for our environment. Microbeads, tiny beads less than 5 millimeters, are used as exfoliants, and are not only in our soaps but also in other beauty care products such as body wash, masks and even toothpaste. They are designed to wash off and down the drain. The big problem with them is that they are made out of plastic, which of course is detrimental to our environment, and ends up causing damage to our local waters and oceans. It is estimated that over 800 trillion microbeads get washed down the drain yearly; and because water treatment plants are not designed to handle them, most of them end up in rivers and lakes. Because of their size, they are mistaken for food by various wildlife, so make their way back up the food chain to us. Yum!!!
More and more alerts about the impact of microbeads on the environment have become public. Seven states states have passed legislation banning them, and 17 others have bills pending. But, when Governor Jerry Brown signed a fairly iron-clad piece of legislation last week banning all kinds of microbeads, even biodegradable kinds, California became the first state to completely ban them. This is all good news.
Now, the question is how to exfoliate? First of all, exfoliating is good thing and actually helps us shed or peel off dead skin cells. This helps our skin look healthier and shinier. Exfoliating makes sure there is less dead skin to clog pores. Well, take a page from our mothers’ book and exfoliate the old fashion way, with natural products that will not pollute our planet.
Here are two great ways to achieve super soft skin without microbeads.
- Oatmeal is one of the gentlest exfoliants you can find. In general, oatmeal is very good for your skin, whether from the outside (on the skin) or from the inside (eating it)☺ It will work best as an exfoliant if the oats are ground up in a food processor or a coffee grinder then added to water, yogurt or avocado, and applied to the face with fingertips. Another benefit of oatmeal is that it absorbs oil, so you will be cleansing as you exfoliate.
- Sea salt is a great exfoliant, too, because the granules are large and coarse, and won’t dissolve easily. This makes it perfect for use on the rougher parts of your body, like elbows and feet. Just add some salt to some olive oil and massage gen