Beauty Companies’ Dirty Little Secret

Since 2017, when plastic microbeads came under the spotlight, there was much commotion to get this “ingredient” banned from cosmetic and skincare products. Great, you might think, because they succeeded. But did you know that there are tons of other microplastics out there that are still perfectly legal, and have been since the 1960’s?

Some of the main culprits are:

Dimethicone

Polyethelene

Acrylates Copolymer

Carbomer

These legal microplastics show up in shampoos, facial cleansers, moisturisers and lots of other products. Often they are used as thickening agents. Seems like good old corn starch isn’t really good enough anymore. There are other microplastics out there – look out for anything that has acrylic or acrylate in the word, or a polymer of any kind.

Some beauty brands, like Avon, have been against animal testing for over 30 years. Great, you might say. But I recently found out that around 80% of the products I looked at have microplastics. Many of these products used to have their ingredients listed on the website, so you knew what you were buying before you actually made the purchase. However, I have noticed that since the increased use of microplastics in their products, they have stopped listing ingredients for many of their skincare and beauty products on the website, and all of those with unlisted ingredients contained microplastics. It seems Avon is cottoning on to the fact that we are becoming more aware of what is and isn’t acceptable.

Even companies like The Body Shop are still using microplastics. There is Acrylate Crosspolymer is their Microdermabrasion Vit C facial scrub, for instance. It was also in their Satsuma Body Scrub, which is now no longer available.

There are some good websites that go into detail about the legal microplastics still available for companies to use in their products. There is also a petition to get the EU to ban ALL microplastics. As the companies refuse to take responsibility for their actions, it’s up to the consumer to be informed on every purchase. Which is, I know, a right pain the arse. But if we care enough about what kind of world we are leaving to our descendants, and to all life, then we must take the extra few seconds to read that ingredients list, read up on the latest information, and stay aware.

Some articles to help you get started on microplastics are:

Get to Know Your Microplastics

Get to Know Your Microplastics Part II

For a wonderful company in the UK that is totally plastic-free, has 100% recylable packaging, offers refills through the post and also student and NHS Key Workers discounts, see UpCircle for their great skincare products. This is a personal recommendation, not a paid promotion ­čÖé

Be healthy.

A89A0650BMI (body/mass index) is only one thread in the tapestry that is your overall health. I had my NHS health check today, and scored a BMI of 29. This puts me in the “overweight” category. Obese is anything over 30.┬áThe NHS Health Check is a health check-up for adults in England aged 40-74. It’s designed to spot early signs of stroke, kidney disease, heart disease, type 2 diabetes or dementia. It looks at a range of possible health issues, with weight simply being one of them. They enter all the criteria into a form which calculates your overall risk for the above. Anything less than 10% means that you are at low risk. I scored 0.82%.

We can focus far too much on weight, as opposed to overall health. I will never be as thin as I was in my 20’s, and that’s fine. Overall, despite the arthritis, my body is in pretty good condition, and for that I am so very thankful. Being healthy is what matters most, not a number on a scale. Besides,┬ámost BMI testing does not factor in muscle/fat ratio.┬áI was told by the nurse (who was stunned, as she rarely sees anything less than 1%) to keep doing what I was doing, because it was very good.

Yes, I have a rounded belly, bum and hips. Yes, I am classed as “overweight” according to the weight equivalent of standardised testing. But I’m still damn fine, fierce and healthy. THAT’s what matters most!

Photos of me┬áby Graham Haynes, from “Beauty and the Belly” workshop June 2017┬áhosted by Mystic Belly Dance