Have you heard the scoop on microbeads? Microbeads are the tiny plastic particles found in cleansers, toothpaste, as well as other personal care products.
They have been in the news as we are discovering more about their detrimental effect on the environment. The plastic microbeads wash down the drain, pass through sewage treatment because they’re so small, and end up in the world’s bodies of water.
Making matters even worse, microbeads actually absorb the toxins from the sewage, becoming poisonous to the fish and animals who eat them (since microbeads look like their food). The wildlife consumes the toxic microbeads and then we humans go on to eat those fish and animals, toxins included.
The Canadian supermarket chain company Loblaws was one of the first to respond to these issues. It has stated that it will end the use of microbeads in their President’s Choice and Life brand products. The Canadian government will be banning plastic microbeads effective mid-2018. The governments of the United States, Australia, and the United Kingdom are making moves to ban plastic microbeads in their countries as well.
In the meantime, you do not have to wait for companies and governments to change their ways to get a healthy, eco-friendly scrub down and softer, smoother skin. There are many natural alternatives that you probably have in your kitchen right now. Here are six natural exfoliators you can use in place of toxic plastic microbeads.
6 Natural Exfoliators to Replace Microbeads
Salt particles are larger and coarser than some of these other options making it a good scrub for areas that get a lot of use and are not too sensitive. These areas include your hands, feet, elbows, and other parts that get rough or callused.
The simplest way to use salt as an exfoliator is by combining it with a little bit of oil. Essential oils can also create additional benefits. You can store leftovers in a sealed container for future use. Keep it in a cool, dry, dark place.
Sugar is finer and more round than salt making it an ideal scrub for your face, even including your lips. It is also a great option to prepare your skin before shaving. An interesting thing about sugar is that the glycolic acid present in sugar actually helps any dead skin cells to release.
Again, combine with oil to use and adding essential oils is optional. Store leftovers in a sealed container somewhere cool, dry, and dark for future use.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda is even finer than sugar making it less abrasive and thus gentle for use on your face and other more sensitive areas.
You can add water to it to make a paste. Another option is to add a tiny amount of baking soda to your cleanser on a regular basis.
Oats are probably the most gentle of the six exfoliators today. This makes it the best option for those with sensitive skin. In addition to the exfoliating benefits, the oats will also soak up excess oil present on the skin.
Grind oats in a blender or food processor, and then add water to make a paste and allow the oats to soften and absorb some of the liquid. Honey and/or milk are complimentary ingredients to an oat scrub as well. Make your oat scrub in small batches to use right away. I would not recommend keeping leftovers.
5. Coffee Grounds
As well as being an exfoliator, coffee comes with the added benefit of caffeine which has been shown to reduce puffiness of the skin and may even minimize the appearance of cellulite by increasing blood circulation to that area.Again, you will want to grind the coffee beans, and you can use fresh or brewed (yay recycling).
Again, you will want to grind the coffee beans for use. You can even use fresh or brewed grounds (yay recycling). Add coffee grounds into a salt or sugar scrub or use on their own with the addition of oil.
6. Citrus Juice
Citrus fruits, such as lemons and oranges, contain alpha hydroxy acid (AHA) which releases the dead skin cells from the rest of the skin. Citrus juice can also have a lightening effect on the skin. Be careful though, as it may cause your skin to become more sensitive to the sun.
Simply apply the fruit juice to your skin after cleansing for some no-scrub exfoliation, then rinse with water.
No matter what kind exfoliator you are using, always use clean hands and apply it to a freshly washed face. Gently use small circular motions with your fingertips, and be careful of the area around your eyes. Rinse with warm water and pat dry to finish. You will have achieved soft and radiant skin with ingredients that are good for you and good for the environment. Choose any of these effective options to replace microbeads and enjoy glowing skin.