Are There Plastic Microbeads In Your Blue Toothpaste?

You’ve likely already heard about the controversy surrounding the use of plastic microbeads in various face washes and scrubs, and how they can be harmful to the environment. But these itty-bitty beads may also be lurking in another one of your daily staples—your toothpaste. Here, the complete lowdown and everything you need to know about beads in your beauty products.

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The Basics About Beads

These tiny plastic microbeads, typically made from polyethylene, are a common ingredient in different kinds of cosmetics, where they are most often used for their abrasive purposes (which is why they often crop up in face scrubs and exfoliators).  They initially became a point of contention because of their environmental repercussions. Once they’re washed down the drain, they can’t be filtered out of the water system, and end up in our rivers, lakes, and oceans, where there becomes absolutely no way to remove them. Not only do they become permanent environmental waste, but fish and other marine life end up ingesting them, leading to negative and irreversible impacts on the entire ecosystem.

 

Beads In Toothpaste

Even though they’re typically talked about in reference to skincare, microbeads are also used by many toothpaste brands, both for their scrubbing qualities and to add color to blue toothpaste. But, since they’re considered an inactive ingredient, the FDA doesn’t regulate or oversee the use of these beads. Instead, it’s left up to each individual manufacturer to determine their safety and whether or not to include them in their products. Last year, this became a hot button topic when several dentists came forward after they noticed beads embedded in the gums of some of their patients (can you say gross??).

 

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So What Should You Do?

While there’s no official ban or regulation on beads in toothpaste, we like to abide by the “better safe than sorry” mentality. With so many great Luster toothpastes available (NONE of which contain beads, yay!), why risk it? Consider the Luster Power White Deep Stain Eraser Toothpaste, which, instead of using beads or any other abrasive ingredient to scrub off stains, relies on brightening hydrogen peroxide, the same ingredient dentists use for in-office whitening. This helps lighten teeth and removes up to 95% of surface stains in just 5 days! Or, for an instant brightening boost, consider Luster Now! Instant Whitening Fluoride Toothpaste. The patented Bluverite® technology, deposits blue micro-particles (not beads) on the teeth, instantly creating the illusion of a brighter, whiter smile—and removes surface stains with continued daily use. Both are great options that are safe not only for your smile, but the environment, too.

 

What About The Rest Of Your Beauty Routine?

Luckily, there are a ton of great alternatives to microbeads, especially when it comes to finding an effective way to exfoliate your complexion. Look for scrubs that use natural materials as physical exfoliants, like jojoba beads or rice bran. Or, if your skin is on the sensitive side, an even better bet is to pick a product with chemical exfoliants, different acids and enzymes that slough off skin by dissolving the dead cells; citric and lactic acids, and pumpkin and papaya enzymes are common examples.

 

The Bottom Line

With so many great, non-microbead alternatives out there—for toothpaste and beyond—we say it’s time to ban the bead. After all, when you can look good, feel good, and do good for the environment, that’s truly a beautiful thing. 

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Learn more about your health and beauty products and what you should watch out for in "Triclosan: 1st Registered as a Pesticide, Now in Your Daily Toothpaste."

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