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Why You Should Use Microbead-Free Exfoliants

Before you find out why you should be using microbead-free exfoliants, it helps to learn a little bit more about what microbeads are.

What are Microbeads?

Microbeads are tiny, round pieces of plastic. The biggest they get is about one and a half millimetres, and that explains why they are called ‘micro’.

When you exfoliate your skin, you need something that is abrasive, but won’t damage your skin. Something like a small, round plastic bead. So microbeads are used in many exfoliants and other personal care products that use abrasion, like toothpastes. To top it all off, microbeads are very inexpensive to produce versus natural materials, like crushed nut shells and seeds, which can do the same thing as the beads.

Why Use Microbead-Free Exfoliants?

Microbeads are used in so many popular products, at the height of their use it as estimated that 8 trillion of them were released into our water system every day.

Although they are plastic, microbeads are very good at absorbing pollutants. That might sound like a good thing, except the microbeads enter the food chain in lakes and oceans when they are eaten by plankton and other tiny sea life.

When larger fish eat the beads or bead-laden plankton, the pollutants in the microbeads can harm them.

But that’s not the worst thing. The beads on larger fish are so tiny, they can end up on your dinner plate – pollutants and all. Some of those pollutants are linked to health problems in humans, including birth defects, cancer and developmental issues.

As of July 1, 2018, the manufacture, import, and sale of most toiletries that contain microbeads are all banned in Canada. So, if nothing else, you should use a microbead-free exfoliator because those with microbeads are now illegal.

What Are Some Microbead-Free Exfoliants?

Fortunately, a few exfoliant makers were quick to remove microbeads from their products in favour of alternate materials. And we use two of them in our face and body treatments here at Ashgrove Spa.


Guinot products use only natural Shea grains, made from the African shea tree nuts.


Babor’s exfoliants use organic exfoliating grains based on sugar syrup in place of plastic microbeads.

A face and body exfoliation is not just a treat for yourself. A twice-weekly scrub is important for removing dead cells, improving blood circulation and the skin cell’s metabolism. To learn more about face and body exfoliations or to book an appointment, please contact us.

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