All of us are prudent enough to read the labels at the back of our skincare and makeup products to ensure that they’re free from baddies that harm our skin. But were you aware that some ingredients in these products are adversely affecting the environment? From damaging the coral reefs to polluting air, some cosmetics contain ingredients that are detrimental to the environment.

The World Environment Day may have gone by, but we want to keep the sustainable spirit alive. Let’s make it a habit to be more eco-friendly everyday by doing our bit for the environment. Here are some cosmetic ingredients that harm the ecosystem and you can avoid them to help save the planet.

Exfoliating microbeads
 

Exfoliating microbeads

Who does not love the microbeads in scrubs? After all, those little things are what give you the satisfaction of a good exfoliating experience. But a lot of exfoliating scrubs use polyethylene microbeads as scrubbing agents. These are tiny plastic pieces that greatly pollute the water bodies and oceans. One pack of a scrub can contain up to 350,000 microbeads that end up in the water supply, where fish eat them. Since other animals eat fish, the microbeads can work their way up the food chain, causing digestive harm along the way.

The solution: Pick an exfoliant that contains natural exfoliating agents such as sugar or salt.

Sunscreen with oxybenzone
 

Sunscreen with oxybenzone

One of the most common active ingredients found in sunscreens is oxybenzone. While it helps protect the skin against damage effectively, the same can’t be said for the environment. According to various studies, oxybenzone has the potential to actually kill coral reefs around the world. It also damages the DNA of the plants and animals that live in the coral reefs, stunting their growth.

The solution: Of course, skipping sunscreen is never an option, but you could switch to the ones that use minerals like zinc oxide or titanium oxide as the active ingredient.

Synthetic fragrances
 

Synthetic fragrances

Synthetic fragrances are sensitizing and that they cause skin irritation, but using products with synthetic fragrances is extremely harmful for marine environment too. Since wastewater treatment plants don’t remove them, synthetic fragrances end up in our rivers, oceans, and lakes. Additonally, synthetic fragrances have the ability to decrease an organism’s natural ability to protect itself from toxin.

The solution: You can choose products that specifically mention “no synthetic fragrances” on their label, and avoid products with fragrance listed as an ingredient.

Triclosan
 

Triclosan

Triclosan is another toxic chemical that harms not just our bodies but also the environment. This ingredient is commonly used in a variety of antibacterial products such as hand cleansers and deodorants. When flushed into the water bodies, triclosan can change the biochemistry of amphibians, fish, and aquatic plants.

The solution: Avoid products that contain this ingredient and look for products that are eco-friendly.

Plastic
 

Plastic

The beauty industry uses a large amount of plastic that is used in packaging. The rigid hard plastic that claims to be travel friendly is not so environment friendly. Hard plastic never fully degrades and that causes a lot of environmental damage.

The solution: Shop for products that made from biodegradable or recycled materials. Pick the biggest size of your favourite products rather than several smaller sized ones to reduce plastic waste. You can also reuse the plastic containers of your skincare products to for the betterment of the environment.