The ban on plastic microbreads was a long time coming. I wrote about it over a year ago and am so happy to see it has finally passed! Here’s the quick summary: a few years ago, a number of beauty brands started using plastic exfoliating beads in their facial and body scrubs instead of natural exfoliators like coffee grounds, sugar, or nuts because the costs are significantly lower. Unfortunately, as a result, billions of plastic microbeads have been polluting waterways and poisoning fish (the beads soak up toxins in the water which are then absorbed by fish who mistakenly eat the beads thinking they’re food).
Worse yet, many dermatologists say that plastic microbeads are horrible for the skin. “They can clog pores, causing more breakouts, and even worse, they can cause infection and chronic inflammation,” according to Dr. S. Manjula Jegasothy, board-certified dermatologist and founder of the Miami Skin Institute. Dr. Jegasothy recommends chemical exfoliants instead of microbeads (as does my go-to dermatologist expert Dr. Neal Schultz). I love BeautyRx Daily Exfoliating Therapy Cream (on dermstore.com for $65) and the brand’s exfoliating pads (at Saks Fifth Avenue for $70). Both are made with glycolic acid, which easily penetrates the skin. If you have oily skin, you might want to opt for an exfoliant with salicylic acid instead, however, like philosophy Clear Days Ahead Overnight Repair Salicylic Acid Acne Treatment Pads (at Sephora for $42). Salicylic is oil-soluble, meaning it’s able to penetrate pores to help “clean” them and control oil production.