We were just delighted to see that the leaders of the beauty blacklist, such as aluminium salts, silicones, acetones, parabens and triclosan, have vanished from most cosmetic products and now there is a new enemy: plastic. In the air, in the sea, in us. The smallest plastic articles are everywhere. What consequences this has and why people in beauty labs work with plastic at all, you can find out here:
What is microplastic?
Plastic is plastic and therefore a synthetic polymer, composed of macromolecules, based on petroleum, coal and natural gas. Microplastics consists of exactly these macromolecules. The solid, insoluble and non-biodegradable synthetic compound is in a size range from less than 5 millimetres to 1,000 nanometres. That is quite small. One can distinguish between two types of microplastic: Primary and secondary. Primary microplastics are particles that are already in the size range of microplastics when they enter the environment. Type A of primary microplastics is already intentionally contained in products, e.g. in the cosmetics and personal care industry. Type B of primary microplastics, on the other hand, is created during the use phase. Examples of this are car tyres or fibres from synthetic textiles, which enter the waste water during washing. Secondary microplastics, on the other hand, are created during the weathering process and decay of larger plastic parts, e.g. through wave movement and solar radiation.
Why is plastic used in cosmetics?
Microplastics, often in the form of fine granules, are widely used in cosmetics production. It is used here in various sizes and moulding compounds, among others as powder or solution. In face peelings as abrasive, in other products as emulsifier, filler, film former or binder. And in shower gels, shampoos, creams and many other products - theoretically, microplastic could be found in every beauty product. In cheap as well as in expensive ones - but why? Because plastic is cheap to produce.
Which products often contain microplastic?
- lipsticks and lip gloss,
- shower gel, cream bath and soap,
- facial cleansers, peelings and scrubs
- make-up, rouge and powder.
How can you tell if there is plastic in the product?
Read! If "polyethylene (PE)", "polypropylene (PP)" or "nylon" are on the so-called INCI list of the product, it is better to remove them from the shopping basket very quickly. If it is too stressful for you to read the small contents while shopping, you can also inform yourself in advance on many websites. Or super practical: App's that read the barcode and show you if there is something dubious in it, such as Codecheck.info orToxFox !
How harmful is microplastic?
According to the current state of science, the health risk posed by plastic in cosmetics is manageable, because even in the smallest sizes it is not supposed to be absorbed, at least not by our skin. But it is a big problem for our environment. Microplastics, which end up in the drain due to the use of e.g. the above mentioned products, end up in our waste water. Since it can hardly be filtered out by sewage works at present, it also contaminates our rivers and seas. This microplastically contaminated water causes massive damage to our ecosystem. Since the particles, which because of their structure like to bind pesticides to themselves and thus mutate into small poisonous spheres, are not biodegradable, they are absorbed by fish and other marine animals - and cause the animals to die or microplastics to land on our plates. In addition to pesticides, numerous other environmental toxins, such as heavy metals, tend to accumulate in microplastics. Thus, up to one hundred times higher levels of pollutants have been detected in microplastics than in seawater. As mentioned above, microplastics also enter the human organism through the food chain through the consumption of fish. Possible consequences have not yet been sufficiently researched, but it is likely that such accumulations will not be without consequences in any body.
Are there alternatives to microplasty?
For sure! Flours or minerals, silica, linseed, fruit seeds or salt and sugar crystals are just a few of many alternatives that are already in use!/p>
What does happybrush do against microplasty?
All happybrush toothpastes are 100% microplastic-free. In addition, we do without questionable ingredients such as triclosan and sodium lauryl sulphate. How important clean drinking water is to us is also shown by our cooperation with organisations that are committed to this issue worldwide. Have you heard of #BrushForWater? That is our current project with Plan International.