Exfoliators may contain a number of ‘enhancers’ (abrasives) including salt, sugar, sand and even nut kernels. While these ingredients may make your face ‘zing’ the end result may not be what you’re looking for, as some can actually cause small scratches or rashes. Some may strip your skin of essential oils or worse, burn rather than clean off dead cells. And then there are microbeads in skincare.

What are microbeads in skincare?

Consumers are increasingly choosing environmentally friendly skincare products.

Microbeads, also known as microplastics, are tiny plastic particles also used in many skincare products, including cosmetics, soaps, toothpaste, exfoliants, and other beauty products. Microbeads are usually made of polyethylene, polypropylene, or other types of plastic, and added to products for their exfoliating or scrubbing effects. They help to remove dead skin cells, dirt and oil but also have significant environmental concerns.

  1. One significant issue with microbeads in skincare is the environmental impact. Due to their small size, (usually less than 5mm) microbeads are not effectively filtered out during wastewater treatment. As a result, they end up in rivers, lakes and sea, posing a threat to aquatic life. Marine animals can mistake them for food.
  2. Microplastics ingested by marine organisms can accumulate toxins from the surrounding environment. These toxins can become concentrated as they move up the food chain, potentially reaching humans when we consume seafood.
  3.  In recent years, many cosmetic manufacturers have opted for natural and biodegradable alternatives. These alternatives include ingredients like ground apricot kernels, jojoba beads, rice bran, sugar and bamboo particles. These substances provide similar exfoliating effects without the environmental impacts.
  4. Increased awareness among consumers has led to a shift in demand for more environmentally-friendly products. Many consumers actively look for cosmetics labeled as ‘microbead-free’ or ‘microplastic-free’.
  5.  If you have products containing microbeads, it’s essential to dispose of them responsibly. Avoid flushing them down the drain, as they can still end up in water systems. Instead, dispose them in the rubbish bin.

Banned in New Zealand

Many countries, including New Zealand, have banned microbeads and people are increasingly seeking eco-friendly alternatives to help protect the environment and marine life.

Microbeads in skincare and shampoos are banned in New Zealand.

When using a new face product for the first time, our nurses suggest you try a little on your face first, to see how your skin reacts.

We have two cleansers. One is gentle and the other more deep cleansing, as well as our Exfol A plus serum, which not only gently exfoliates it adds a dose of Vitamin A serum to help close up pores and even out skin tone at the same time.

One of our cleansers offers a deep clean.

Our product range is natural, not tested on animals and contains active ingredients so no need for harsh exfoliants.