I was shocked recently reading an article about plastics in the Great Lakes and the increase in the amounts of microparticles being found. And most of those microparticles were in the form of microbeads — those things that make many skin scrubs feel rough (they’re also in some other products, but primarily face and body scrubs). How about your scrub or exfoliant? Does it contain microbeads?
The thing about microbeads, it seems, is that they’re so small that they pass right through wastewater filters. So it’s not just bad to use them on the boat, but even when you’re ashore.
You know that if they are finding this stuff in the Great Lakes, it’s in all sorts of other places. And that’s not good. I don’t know if microbeads are part of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, but I have to assume they are. I’m haunted by this picture of a bird from there with nothing but plastic in it’s stomach.
The good news is that there are lots of options other than microbeads for getting all that dead skin off. Yeah, most of us who spend a fair amount of time on the water do feel the need to get rid of that flaky stuff. But let’s do it in ways that doesn’t harm the very water that we were out enjoying.
It’s pretty easy to make your own scrubs from stuff that’s in the galley. Pour about a teaspoon of any of the following (or a combination) into your hand and rub it into your damp skin, then rinse. You’ll be surprised at how well it works!
- Salt (coarse is best)
- Baking soda (great on your face)
- Coffee grounds (yep, you can use ones that have been used to make coffee, which were just going in the trash anyway)
Big plus: these are all cheap. Very cheap. And they’re already in your galley!
Loofahs are another popular way to scrub, but I’ve always found that they get stinky after just a few uses. You can also buy plastic/nylon face scrubbers that last a fairly long time before getting nasty.
When we were cruising in Mexico, I couldn’t find face/body scrubbers. Instead, I bought “Light Duty” 3M scrubbing pads (the while ones) at the hardware. Seriously, I couldn’t tell the difference.
Now I know of another great product: Trekr wash cloths. They’re made by the same company that makes the Scrubr dish cloths that I love because they just never get stinky (read my article about them). The Trekrs have a bit of grit to them — they were originally designed for people who were backpacking and hiking all day and wanted to get clean. I’ve been using them for the past year with just soap (biodegradable soap to be precise) and love them. So that’s another option. You can get them from Amazon (US) or order direct from Lunatec (they offer reasonably priced shipping worldwide).
Got something else that works well for you? Please leave a note in the comments and whatever you do, please don’t use a product with microbeads!