How much plastic is in your beauty regime?
Over the past decade, we have found that many consumers don’t realise the amount of plastic, in particularly microplastics, that are prevalent in their everyday beauty products.
These products don’t just include make up, but also include products such as; shampoos, soaps, toothpastes, moisturisers and other creams. The statistics can be quite shocking and the effects these microplastics can have on your health are concerning.
What are microplastics?
The true definition of what is classed as a microplastic is still under review, but currently the ECHA says: “Microplastic means particles containing solid polymer, to which additives or other substances may have been added, and where ≥ 1% w/w of particles have (i) all dimensions 0.1 µm ≤ x ≤ 5 mm, or (ii), a length of 0.3 µm ≤ x ≤ 15 mm and length to diameter ratio of >3.”
To put it simply, microplastics are tiny particles that contain solid polymer (or plastic).
Where are microplastics found?
Microplastics are becoming prevalent throughout the natural world, especially within marine environments. This means you can digest microplastics without knowing about it, from eating fish. However, microplastics are being added to beauty products without making it clear on the labelling. A recent study by Plastic Soup Foundation, looked at 10 of the leading beauty brands (including L’oreal, Garnier and Oral B) and found that a large percentage of their products contain microplastics in some form.
Can plastics affect your health?
Once you have ingested or inhaled microplastics, they can enter your bloodstream and from there can move freely around different areas of the body, causing many issues and increasing your risk of health conditions such as:
Increased chance of infection
The long term effects of exposure to microplastics are still being monitored, so the extent of possible health problems is unknown at this point.
What can you do as a consumer?
As a consumer of beauty products, you should be aware of what you can do to make sure change happens in the industry as a whole. Here’s a few tips for you to think about when you are planning to purchase your next bottle of shampoo or tube of toothpaste.
Choose Zero Plastic inside your products. There are many cosmetics brands that do not want to contribute to this irreversible microplastic pollution. Support these businesses and choose 100% micro plastic free products.
Scan before you buy. Use tools that empower you to make the right choice and help you learn about the problem. The Beat the Microbead app is free to use and the fastest way to learn if your cosmetics and personal care products contain microplastic ingredients.
Demand transparency from your favourite brands. You have a right to information about the substances you are exposed to every single day. You have a right to know if substances in your cosmetic products are tested thoroughly. You have the power to make companies accountable and encourage them to change.
Make your voice be heard. Let the policymakers know that you do not want plastic inside of your cosmetics. Sign petitions, send letters to your local politicians and support organisations that are putting in the work to make our planet’s future plastic-free.
Spread the word. Talk to friends, family, neighbours, and colleagues. Share on social media and tell people around you about the intentionally added plastics inside personal care and cosmetic products and let them know what they can do about it.