Natural Exfoliation Alternatives to Microbeads

One of our top priorities at Ayr Skin Care is respecting the environment while creating the most powerful, healthy products for your skin. And one way we achieve this is by offering natural exfoliation alternatives to improve eco-friendly skincare routines.

The Issue with Microbeads

Plastic in our oceans is a persisting environmental issue for our planet. About 8 million metric tons of plastic are thrown into the ocean each year. That is about a garbage truck of plastic per minute! Of those, 236,000 tons are microplastics – tiny pieces of plastic smaller than your little fingernail.

Unfortunately, the beauty industry is contributing to the problem, making eco-friendly skincare a challenge. A few years ago, NPR published an article about pollution in the Great Lakes and the environmental fallout of microbeads entering the world’s water. Microbeads are those small plastic beads found in many soaps and scrubs. They are too small to be filtered out by wastewater processing facilities, and so end up back in our lakes, rivers, and oceans. The researcher interviewed in NPR’s article estimated an average of 17,000 bits of tiny plastic items per square kilometer just in Lake Michigan! The problem with plastic is that it is not biodegradable – it just breaks up into tinier and tinier pieces. These tiny pieces of plastic can choke plant life and also can be ingested by fish and animals who mistake the pieces as food.

Here in the US, some states have started passing legislation to help ban these harmful beads, but some of these restrictions have not come into effect yet. In California for example, legislation was passed in 2015 to stop the sale of products containing microbeads, but all the restrictions will not be fully rolled out until 2020!

Another area of concern for us is that some of these states have bans in place, but still allow microbeads if they are made of bio-degradable plastic. Biodegradable sounds ok at first, but these types of plastics require an industrial scale composting facility to get the plastic really hot so it can degrade as intended. Our existing water treatment plants do not have these facilities in place to filter out and break down these types of beads either. Microbeads were designed not to break when washed down the drain.

We have made great strides since the NPR article was originally published, but with legislation loopholes and long timelines, the bulk of the responsibility still falls on manufacturers and consumers to make sure that we are aren’t adding more of these microbeads into the environment.

How to Make a Change

The first step is being conscious of your product labels in your shopping cart and being informed about the ingredients listed.

When shopping for natural exfoliation options for your body, choose products that have natural based exfoliants such as sugar or salt instead of plastic.

For facial exfoliants, sugar or salt can be too harsh, so look for fruit acid based exfoliators and masks to help clean and clear your face. Some products are now using jojoba beads as well, which are a great, natural wax based alternative for those who still enjoy a “scrubby” sensation while they exfoliate.Our Reveal Exfoliating Foam Facial Wash uses coconut-based cleansers blended with light fruit acids to gently wash away dead skin, pollutants, and grime without washing more plastic down our drains.

At Ayr Skin Care, we strive to make our skincare products eco-friendly to people, animals, and the environment. Instead of plastic microbeads, we looked at the best, biodegradable exfoliants in nature to give you a healthy glow while keeping the world’s waterways healthy and clean!

To get started on learning about eco-friendly skincare ingredients, please read about our favorites here. Questions? Reach out to us!

If you have any questions or comments, we would be happy to answer you personally! Please contact us at