You might have heard the recent controversy surrounding ethical skincare and the devastating consequences of microbeads within everyday products, however have you really considered who your skincare regime may be hurting?
Microbeads are small, non-biodegradable, plastic pieces found in everyday facial exfoliants and cleansers. They are designed to be washed down household drains, yet they are too small to be filtered out in sewerage plants and end up reaching natural waterways.
The beads can act as tiny sponges, absorbing other chemicals and pollutants such as pesticides, and may be ingested by marine animals, later working their way up the food chain.
The toxic ingredient has attracted both environmentalist and government condemnation with bans in some US states and an anticipated ban in Australia by 2017, as one bottle of facial scrub contains over 300,000 microbeads alone.
Lucy Cloonan, founder of ethical and environmentally sustainable skin care range Tula Naturals believes consumer education is key in preventing harmful products from reaching our environment and our bodies.
'Over the years harmful plastic microbeads have replaced natural biodegradable ingredients such as rice, and salt crystals" Ms Cloonan said.
'Several studies demonstrate some commonly used skincare and cosmetic ingredients show toxic effects to the body in moderate concentrations such as reproductive and developmental complications, skin irritation and damage to the brain and nervous system.
'As consumers, it is important to be educated about our products to protect ourselves against harmful chemical ingredients, or supposedly natural ingredients, that can cause havoc to the environment and to our endocrine systems" she said.
Lucy's top tips on protecting yourself and the environment against potentially harmful ingredients include:
1) Check the back of your products and if the ingredients are hard to pronounce, they are probably chemical based and are not good for your skin, body, or the environment.
2) If you are unsure about which ingredients are safe, there is a great book called "The Chemical Maze". This book was invaluable in Lucy's quest to start a natural, organic skincare range.
3) Research and use products that are 100% plant based and natural, which are free of chemicals, preservatives, artificial fragrances and alcohol.
Tula Naturals produce one of the most ethical and natural skin care ranges in Australia. Products are 100% plant based; contain only natural organic, chemical free and biodegradable ingredients. Our packaging is recyclable and/or biodegradable.