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Wednesday, June 8, 2016

Exfoliate Without Doing Harm, Ban the Microbeads

On December 28, 2015, President Obama signed into effect the "Microbead Free Waters Act", which prohibits the sale of products that include microbeads in their formula and will ban microbeads in the U.S. as of July 2017.

This is wonderful since microbeads have become an environmental disaster. The polymer technology to manufacture polymer beads was invented by the late Norwegian Professor John Ugelstad and these perfect little monosized spheres went into production in 2002 with the Norwegian company, Microbeads AS. They were used in a wide range of industries, not just with cosmetics and personal care. Uses included paints, plastics, ceramics and adhesives. Being cheap to manufacture, they seemed like a dream until it was realized how destructive they were to marine life.

Microbeads are made of non-biodegradable plastic. When they get washed down the drain they end up in local rivers and lakes. Being so tiny, they slip right through most water treatment systems. 
About the same size as fish eggs, to any organism that lives in the water, they look like food. Once in the food web, such toxins are passed right along to humans and other wildlife.

Microbeads are in so many personal care products, body scrubs, facial cleanses, toothpastes, all things most everyone uses on a daily basis. So many beads are believed to be polluting the Great Lakes that our world's largest source of fresh water is being poisoned.

Until the ban is completely in effect, what you can do is read labels. If polyethylene or polypropylene are listed as an ingredient, there is most likely microbeads in that product.

Another option is to use other sources for exfoliation. 
The definition of exfoliation is the cosmetic practice of removing dead skin cells from the top layer of the skin, called the epidermis. Amazing fact is that our skin can naturally shed 30,000 to 40,000 dead cells per minute.

If you feel your face or body has a dull appearance it could mean an accumulation of those dead surface cells. Remove them by means of dry brushing, a loofah sponge, a hemp scrubby pad or by using a salt or sugar scrub. 
Complaints people often have with moisturizers is that they seem to leave an oily residue. Of course a reason could be the lotion itself, but it could also be because the person is applying a moisturizer to old, dead skin cells and it is not penetrating the upper layer of the skin.

Sugar scrubs are a great way to slough off that old layer, unclog blocked pores, and reveal radiant freshness to perk up that tired look.

Cane sugar contains a naturally occurring acid known as glycolic acid which belongs to the family of alpha hydroxy acids (AHA). These acids stimulate and loosen the dry, flaky layer created by accumulating dead skin cells. 
White sugar is the result of sulfur dioxide being introduced to the cane sugar before evaporation which bleaches the sugar to be white as are most familiar. 
These scrubs below use raw, unprocessed sugars such as demerara and cane juice sugar.

Though exfoliation is important for an effective skin care routine, you can't overdo it and you must be very gentle. The skin of your face is fragile and can be easily damaged. It should be treated with care, no scrubbing, or you may irritate or even create tiny tears which leave the skin vulnerable to bacteria.

Salt scrubs are great too, but if used on the face you must remember that salt can be more abrasive than sugar. Using salt for a body scrub is a great way to cleanse and detoxify by drawing out impurities. Sea salt is a much better choice than table salt. Table salt is bleached and refined, therefore it lacks many of the minerals of the ocean.

The salt scrubs below are called salt polishes because they not only contain a moisturizing oil but also a touch of castile soap. Therefore, you get the effect of a good clean as well as the expected exfoliation.  

Coconut Oil Face and Body Sugar Scrub

Vegetable Glycerin Face and Body Sugar Scrub

Glowing Skin Salt Body Polish

Lemon Zest Glowing Skin Salt Body Polish