Plastic Microbeads in Beauty Products- Why it’s an issue and what you can do to help!

My brother George sits on the board for the charity 5 Gyres, whose mission is to “empower citizens to become leaders in combating the global health crisis of plastic pollution.” Once he informed me on the importance of this issue, I knew I had to do something to help spread awareness.

When it comes to washing your face, body or teeth do you use products with tiny colored beads in them? I’ll be honest… before this issue was brought to my attention I was an offender of using Johnson & Johnson Clean and Clear with micro-scrubbers, as well as Crest 3D-Whitening.

If you’re using products like these, chances are when you use them you don’t think about what happens once they wash down into the drain.


via 5 Gyres

What are Microbeads?

Those little colored beads inside many beauty products such as facial scrub, body wash and toothpaste are microbeads which are made from polyethylene and polypropylene. A few years back companies decided to add them to beauty products instead of using natural exfoliate.


via 5 Gyres

Why are Microbeads an Issue?

Not only do you ingest these microbeads and rub them on your face, but they are going into the ocean.

You can choose to recycle other types of plastic; but microbeads go straight down the drain, through sewer systems and often end up in rivers, lakes and waterways.

Here are a couple statistics provided by 5 Gyres:

“One tube of facial scrub can contain more than 300,000 plastic microbeads”.  That means if ONE person uses four tubes a year, that’s 1.2 million beads into the ocean in a year.

“There are approximately 5.25 trillion pieces of plastic in the ocean; 92% of them are microplastics.”

 “Over 663 species of marine wildlife are affected by plastic pollution through ingestion or entanglement.”

Microplastics are too small to be removed through standard water filtration, and are being ingested by organisms that live in the water. Not only are microbeads impacting marine wildlife, but they are also ending up back on the dinner table.


via 5 Gyres

What’s being done to stop microbeads?

Last year President Obama signed a bill that will ban the manufacturing of them in products starting Jan 1, 2018 with an additional year run off time for them to sit on shelves.


via 5 Gyres

What can I do to help?

Although the bill has been signed to ban microbeads, in the US alone 3 trillion beads are estimated to be used every day…2 more years is a lot of plastic!

Join 5 Gyres and take the pledge to only buy products that are microbead- free!

This is NOT a sponsored post, I’m just very passionate about this issue and want to help spread awareness!


  1. Biana says:

    I’ve actually heard about microbeads from toothpaste causing infections because they’ll get stuck in between teeth which is terrifying!! I’m definitely more conscious of not using those types of products anymore! xo, Biana –BlovedBoston

  2. Rach @ This Italian Family says:

    Oh wow! I have never heard of this! How awful. I’m pretty sure I have a face wash that has these microbeads. I don’t use it often because I like a gentler, every day one, but I do use it occasionally. I’ll have to check when I get home. Thanks for filling me in!

  3. Monisha says:

    Check out Richlands Academy’s Lego league challenge- grade 6 kids in Canada come up with a way to help battle microbreads by using waxworm gut bacteria within the nutrient removal stage of the wastewater treatment facility.

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