Now that we know what microplastics are and how to recognize them, the arising question is: Why are they used?
The cosmetics industry uses microplastics for a plenty of reasons: plastic particles are considered pleasant-feeling skin-scrubbers, their uniform size and appearance can make them less abrasive than natural alternatives – like Almond or Oats.
Microplastics are also used to lend the products color or sparkle effect and last but not the least, they are cheap to manufacturers.
In 2018 the European Commission requested ECHA (European Chemical Agency) to prepare a restriction dossier on the use of intentionally added microplastic particles. After a deep assessment involving industries actors, the agency found out that cosmetic products used between 540-1120 tonnage of microplastic/year (and just for leave-on products).
Doing the math, more or less the equivalent of four whales of plastic every year?