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What's Obama Got on Microbeads?

Your facial scrub is doing more harm than good.
What's Obama Got on Microbeads? Your facial scrub is doing more harm than good.

Bid your exfoliating gels goodbye, because those tiny microbeads you’ve been scrubbing your face with has been single-handedly brought to extinction by the United States President Barack Obama.

In an attempt to protect the nation’s waterways, a bill has been signed that outlaws selling of products that contain these microbeads said to be environmentally damaging. Apparently, these small bits of plastic are almost impossible to dissolve and filter, allowing them to easily enter water lines that directly connect to rivers and oceans. This had major companies like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, and Procter & Gamble pledging to phase out products containing the particle. (See the full list of products here.) 

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But what does this mean now for countries like us with arms of huge multinational personal care companies dominating the market? We asked Dr. Aivee Teo what she thinks of the phasing out of microbeads and here’s what she had to say:

“These micronized plastic particles aren’t biodegradable and pose environmental threads (e.g. small fishes might be able to consume them accidentally), but they don’t necessarily harm our skin. The reason why it is being used with cleansing products is because they are very easy to formulate and they are extremely cheaper compared to natural beads (like apricot). They’re also widely available and come with a stable source when formulating. These plastic beads can be shaped into the perfect sphere that’s why they are much gentler on the skin, unlike crushed apricot shells that are microscopically sharp.”

Beauty expert Agoo Bengzon also gave us her two cents on the topic:

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“I think that anything that has to do with the preservation of our environment, in this case, water sources and animals living in these sources should be deemed important. I'm sure responsible beauty companies feel the same way, and will make improvements in their formulations to make sure the environment is never at risk. I believe the problem with microbeads is that they don't dissolve and end up clogging water sources and finding their way into the digestive systems of animals living there. Beauty companies can perhaps find a way to create microbeads that still manage to be effective at exfoliating but are also 100% dissolvable.”

Now, will you join us in tossing out our facial scrubs? Share with us your thoughts in the comment box below.

Images from Giphy

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