What are microbeads?

Microbeads are solid plastic particles of 5 mm or less, and are used to exfoliate or cleanse in personal care products. The microbeads we have used in some varieties of our cleansing products are made from polyethylene which can also be used for a variety of purposes, from imparting color in certain types of toothpastes, to providing the base of some chewing gums.

Being safe

We included microbeads in some of our exfoliating cleansing products and toothpastes based on positive feedback from people who use them. Microbeads are safe for people and polyethylene is approved for use in some foods by the FDA. Because microbeads are made from plastic certain groups have questioned whether plastic found in our oceans and waterways are from microbeads. The science to date shows the breakdown of larger plastics to be the primary source of plastics in the ocean, not microbeads.

Feeling safe

While microbeads are completely safe for people, and part of an enjoyable product use experience, we understand there is a growing preference for us to remove this ingredient. Therefore, we are in the process of eliminating them from our toothpastes and cleansers.

We have begun removing microbeads from our toothpastes. The majority of our global product volume is already microbead-free and we offer products without microbeads for those who would prefer them.

We have also begun identifying alternative exfoliating ingredients for our cleansing products where microbeads are currently used. We already have microbead-free cleansing products for those who would prefer them.

Our goal is to remove plastic microbeads from all our cleansers and toothpastes by 2017.