You know those exfoliating cleansers with “microbeads” that you see everywhere these days? I just read a blog post pointing out that those microbeads are, in fact, made of plastic. Which, when I read it, I was like, well DUH, why didn’t this ever occur to me before? What did I think they were made of, pixie dust? I guess I always assumed they were some sort of magical laboratory-invented material that would eventually dissolve, if I even thought about it at all. Nope—just polyethylene, which then washes down the drain and eventually into the ocean, where fish and other marine creatures eat them. Nice.
I haven’t used a plastic-based exfoliating cleanser in a long time, not because I had any awareness of the potential environmental problem, but because they tend to include ingredients like parabens that I’ve been trying to eliminate from my personal care products over the years. The good news is that if you need a scrub, there are plenty of natural alternatives. I’ve seen salt, sugar, and oatmeal all recommended as ingredients in homemade scrubs. The classic St. Ives apricot scrub that we all used in high school is obviously made with, well, apricot kernels. There are a bunch of other options listed here.
Personally, I love Dr. Hauschka Cleansing Cream (you can get it at Whole Foods or lots of places online), which technically is not a scrub, since they specifically tell you not to scrub with it (there’s this whole “technique” to applying it). I’ve also tried this scrub from Pangea Organics but found it a little too coarse and rough—it would probably work better on teenage skin. What products do you like?