JAN23 What are Microplastic Cosmetics

What are Microplastic Cosmetics?

Alex Williams
10 Min Read

Microbeads are synthetic polymer-based solid plastic particles. Microbeads are around the width of a single human hair, measuring between 5μm and 1mm in diameter. Manufacturers have gradually replaced lesser-durable natural abrasives such as sea salt, crushed pumice, and oatmeal powder with microbeads, which are less expensive to use. The majority of plastics in the sea disintegrate into very minute particles. These microscopic plastic fragments are referred to as microplastics. Other polymers are purposefully made to be tiny. Cosmetic microbeads are tiny beads that are found in a variety of health and beauty items. Let us dig in deeper and learn more about microplastic cosmetics, microplastics in beauty products, and their harmful effects.

1. Are Microplastics used in Cosmetics?

Microplastics are different types of plastics that are smaller than 5mm and are present around us in the environment. They can be hollow and solid, appear in a variety of shapes and sizes, and, most importantly, are neither biodegradable nor water soluble. Microplastic is added to cosmetics and products of personal care intentionally to improve its effectiveness.

These microplastic cosmetics can carry heavy side effects and may cause terrible diseases after prolonged use. Studies have shown that a type of microplastic known as microbeads is commonly found in personal care products which is a leading reason for plastic pollution on Earth. An estimate shows that the use of personal care products in a territory can release more than 37 billion microbeads per year. These products upon use release microplastics which when washed transport these plastics through water causing severe pollution. Must read 29 Types of Makeup Every Woman Should Know About.

2. What are Microplastic Cosmetics?

Microplastics are plastics that are smaller than 5mm, these are added to various cosmetics by various companies to improve their effectiveness. Microplastic cosmetics involve cleansers, toothpaste, mascaras, eyeliners, etc. Microplastics are used in cleaners for their exfoliating properties which provide better cleaning. Numerous surveys have been conducted involving a lot of renowned brands which show that the majority of these companies add microplastics to their products to create better products. Microplastics are a very terrifying threat to the planet because they don’t decompose, cause severe pollution, and are linked with a lot of diseases. Owing to such reasons a lot of companies have started to find substitutes for microplastics which are more eco-friendly. 

3. What Cosmetic Products contain Microplastics?

The following cosmetic products contain microplastics: 

  • Foundation
  • Eyeshadow
  • Eyeliner
  • Mascara
  • Lipstick
  • Nail polish
  • Glitter

4. How can You Tell if a Product that you use Contain Microplastics?

JAN23 What are Microplastic Cosmetics 1

Microbeads can be found in some facial cleansers, toothpaste, and body wash, as well as lipstick, eyeliner, sunscreen, deodorant, nail polish, and other personal care products. They can also be found in a variety of abrasive household cleaning goods. You can use the following methods to determine microplastic cosmetics in beauty products: 

Examine the ingredient list: The following are common microbead and microplastic ingredients used: 

  • Polyethylene (PE) 
  • Polyethylene Terephthalate (PET)
  • Nylon (PA) 
  • Polypropylene (PP) 
  • Polymethyl methacrylate (PMMA)

Speak with the manufacturer: Cosmetic producers are required to list the components in their products. However, if the product is registered as a therapeutic product, the manufacturer must simply identify the active substances and their percentages, as well as any potential allergies or ingredients that may harm some persons. In this case, you can contact the manufacturer directly to inquire whether the product contains microplastics or not.

Look through the apps: For example, Beat the Microbead is a collaborative initiative supported by over 90 non-governmental organizations (NGOs) from 38 different countries. Its website contains a vast database of microplastic-containing products from several countries which you can also download on your phone and scan a product’s barcode to see if it includes microbeads. 

5. Why are Microplastics in Beauty Products?

Microplastic cosmetics are commonly utilized in skincare products to offer exfoliating characteristics that help remove dry, dead skin cells and unclog pores, which is why they’re commonly found in peelings and other exfoliating products like bath gels. The majority of them serve as bulking agents for products, assisting in boosting product volume. Other similar compounds aid in the development of film or thick layer, control of viscosity or thickness or fluidity of substance, hair fixation, aesthetic enhancement like glitters in the bubble bath, and adhesive quality, among other things. Check out the 15 Best Bath & Body Works Fragrances.

6. Do Toothpaste contain Microplastics?

Yes, plastic may be present in the toothpaste you use. Microplastics in toothpaste can become trapped in the gums and trap germs, leading to gingivitis. Microplastics can be discovered in personal care products; however, by 2020, all microplastics or microbeads should have been removed from personal care products; nevertheless, this is not always the case. By choosing natural toothpaste, you can prevent microplastics and acquire plastic-free packaging. 

7. Does Colgate Toothpaste have Microbeads?

Microbeads were utilized by Colgate-Palmolive in a small number of dental care and personal hygiene items to improve the appearance and facilitate cleaning. However, several organizations expressed alarm about the potential influence of microbeads on ocean pollution. Recognizing that consumers had concerns, they discontinued the use of microbeads at the end of 2014. Consumer concerns have recently shifted away from microbeads and toward various polymer-based compounds, most of which dissolve into water and biodegrade. They will continue to monitor science and analyze the use of polymer-based materials to ensure that the environmental profile of their products proceeds towards improvements. 

8. Does Dove Body Scrub contain Microplastics?

No, there are no microplastic cosmetics in Dove body scrub. They take ocean protection very seriously, which is why they were among the first businesses to stop using microbeads while the small plastic particles that were once common in the face and body scrubs or exfoliants. They prohibited them in 2014, in response to worries that plastic particles were accumulating in our oceans and lakes and harming the ecosystem, by substituting exfoliating goods with natural materials that are healthy for the environment and skin, such as coconut shells, apricot kernels, and kiwi seeds. (See What is the difference between a Manicure and a Pedicure?)

9. Does Mascara have Plastic in it?

Yes, the mascara contains microplastics that come into contact with our eyes, as these are tiny fragments of plastic with tremendous impacts. However, they’ve traditionally been used in cosmetics, personal care products, and cleaning products as exfoliants, bulking agents, and abrasives, or to control the release of active components and extend the shelf life of a product. They’re also in various cleaning products, such as abrasive hand soaps, detergents, waxes, and polishes. According to brand research on microplastic constituents in products, 90% of mascaras contain plastic. 

10. What are Cosmetic Microbeads?

Microbeads are synthetically made pieces of plastic, which are smaller than 5mm and do not decompose or dissolve. Microbeads are one of the leading causes of pollution as they are abundantly used in cosmetics which results in heavy disposable of these microbeads causing pollution. Cosmetic microbeads are used in various cosmetic products like lipsticks, eyeliners, sunscreen, etc. Microbeads are used in a lot of cosmetics for their exfoliating properties which prove to be a very cost-effective and efficient way of cleaning the skin. The growing problem of pollution has caused many companies to consider substituting microbeads with more environment-friendly compounds like beeswax, silica, and clay.

Tiny plastic particles, or microplastics, are utilized in a variety of products, including cosmetics, sun lotions, hair products, lipsticks, toothpaste, and many others. For example, if the item is glittering or contains shimmer particles, you may be certain it contains microplastic particles. Cosmetic-derived microplastics are expected to represent 2% of worldwide microplastic emissions. The remainder comes from textiles, tires, and city dust. This percentage might be reduced to zero if the cosmetics industry shifted to natural alternatives such as clay, wax, and starch instead of microplastics, which are not only damaging to your skin but also the environment in the long run. (Also read What does Head to Toe Beauty Mean?)

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