|Photo: 5 Gyres.org|
(CNN)Say goodbye to your exfoliating shower gel.
Those tiny plastic microbeads you have been rubbing on your face are now outlawed in the United States.
President Obama signed a bipartisan bill that prohibits selling and distributing products containing microbeads. The bill is intended to protect the nation's waterways.
A microbead is any solid plastic particle that is less than 5 millimeters and is used for the purpose of exfoliating or cleansing, according to the bill.
These tiny plastic beads have become ubiquitous in hundreds of products ranging from body scrubs to toothpastes. They provide an exfoliating sensation for users and are designed to wash down drains.
But because they are made of plastic, microbeads do not dissolve and may pose a threat to the environment.
In September, a study published in Environmental Science & Technology reported that more than 8 trillion microbeads were entering the country's aquatic habitats daily. The volume was enough to coat the surface of 300 tennis courts every day.
Microbeads have contributed to a greater increase in microplastic polluting the planet's oceans and lakes, researchers say.
Not only are they hard to clean up because they are about the size of a pinhead, but researchers say they are also posing a threat to aquatic life.
Some marine life mistake small plastic as food particles. Scientists are researching whether microplastics affect the health of marine life once ingested and if chemicals transfer to humans who eat those species later, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.
There are several natural exfoliants such as oatmeal, honey, yogurt, baking soda, lemon juice, and papaya. I avoid using sugar, salt, and coffee, as these tend to be a little too rough on the skin. I make my face wash with ground whole oats, coconut milk, raw honey, and a little coconut oil. I don't usually measure, so I can't give you an exact recipe, but the next time I make a batch, I will measure everything and post the recipe.
Here is a great recipe for a papaya face mask. Note: In recipes calling for honey, use raw honey. The beneficial enzymes in honey are destroyed during pasteurization.
Use organic ingredients whenever possible to keep your face wash non-toxic. If you are making a multiple-use batch of face wash or a mask, store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator to keep it from spoiling.
Bottom line - healthy skin doesn't have to destroy the environment. By making your own beauty products you can be confident knowing that the ingredients are wholesome, non-toxic, environmentally-friendly, and in most cases, more affordable than commercial chemical versions.
Until next time...become the change you imagine.