How Your Acne Treatment is Killing Nemo

So you walk into CVS to grab some more face wash, just an average shopping trip and one more walk down the cosmetics isle. 

You look at the array of options all trying to persuade you into buying them. Oh look! Suddenly you find the one, with lush bursting micro-beads, a fresh start to any morning and an even better exfoliator. How could you go wrong with a choice like that?

Recently I discovered that the repercussions of that purchase don’t end at treating pesky teenage acne. Instead, my beauty regiment was killing not only Nemo and his friends, but it was hurting me more than it was helping.   

Here’s what a little digging revealed:

When you head over to the sink and give your face a good scrub, the micro-beads in the face wash don’t disintegrate because they are made out of plastic. Instead, they wash into oceans, lakes, estuaries, and more! The tiny micro-plastics are less than 2mm and cannot be filtered out by wastewater treatment plants. Unfortunately, when Nemo and his friends are swimming around, they cannot tell the difference between the micro-plastics and food. 

Statistics show that 633 species are affected and that 35% of fish have accumulated plastic in their systems. When the micro-plastics enter the water, they absorb toxic chemicals and eventually become a million times more toxic than seawater. This absorption causes chemical and physical harm to the marine animals. In fact, the collection of these materials and the chemicals are considered toxic priority pollutants in the U.S. Clean Water Act

As sad as it is to know that you are hurting Nemo, you also have to consider yourself. Humans ingest those fish that swim around for dinner! The chemicals in the micro-plastics cause damage to our own livers as well as our hormones. 

Now consider that Neutrogena Deep Clean, for instance, has 360,000 micro-beads in just one bottle. So what happens when you’ve put all your faith in name-brand products?  Try looking for natural exfoliants in the ingredients, such as Apricot shells, Jojoba Beans, or raw sugar. Just take the time to check the label!

If you really want to save Nemo, you need to know what you’re supposed to look for and where. You should be checking cosmetics, sunscreen, body wash, toothpaste, skincare, and industrial and household cleaning products for polyethylene, polypropylene, polyethylene terephthalate or polymethyl methacrylate.

There’s a lot in our daily lives that hurts the environment, but there are almost always ways around the problem. It just takes a little extra time and consideration.


Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4, 56

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5