Microbead ban: Here are some natural alternatives

woman with face scrub on Image copyright Getty Images

The ban on microbeads in certain products has begun in England and Scotland.

"Rinse-off" health products with the tiny plastic particles in them, like shower gel and face scrub, aren't allowed to be sold from 19 June.

MPs have said that they damage oceans, and that a single shower can send 100,000 microbeads into the sea, which can be eaten by marine animals.

A similar ban on microbeads is due to take effect in Wales on 30 June.

Image copyright Getty Images

You may have already noticed a difference in your beauty products, as the manufacture of items with microbeads in them has been banned since January.

One purpose of microbeads is to exfoliate the skin, but some doctors say you can get the same effect without using plastic.

We've asked skincare experts what natural alternatives you can use - and what to avoid.

Brown sugar and honey

Image copyright Getty Images

Natural beauty blogger Kim Wallace tells Newsbeat the best exfoliates can be found in your kitchen cupboard.

"Mix one tablespoon of brown sugar with one tablespoon of honey for a gentle and effective scrub.

"The honey has deep-cleansing properties and the sugar exfoliates.

"And it kind of doubles as a mask. Leave it on your skin for five minutes and rinse."


Image copyright Getty Images

It might sound strange, but porridge isn't just for eating. Oats are gentle exfoliates, and soothing for the skin. They can even help heal sunburn.

"This is particularly good for sensitive skin," explains Kim.

"You can grind up the oatmeal with a pestle and mortar, and using that with water gives a light easy exfoliation."


Image copyright Getty Images

"Another great tip is to use yoghurt as a mask," says Kim.

The lactic acid found naturally in yoghurt is used in lots of commercial skin products because it can help reduce acne breakouts and soften the skin.

"Because of the acids in there you're going to get that deeper clean feeling.

"You won't notice the difference overnight, but use it twice a week and you'll start to see a glow."

Image copyright Kim Wallace
Image caption Blogger Kim Wallace

Dr Walayat Hussain of the British Association of Dermatologists says it's important to use gentle products on your face.

"Different areas require a different degree of abrasiveness."

Dr Hussain suggests using coarser material such as rock salt and sea salt for elbows and knees - but not for your face.

"Do a little test patch of any product you're using for the first time. Just test it out on a small area, see how your skin reacts, see how it feels.

"The forehead's a good place to start because that's a more robust area."

Image copyright Getty Images

Dr Hussain says exfoliation can be particularly beneficial for people with oily skin and acne, but scrubbing too hard will make it worse.

"What you don't want to be doing is scrubbing so hard that you are actually causing inflammation within the spots themselves and then causing scarring, so it's a delicate balance."

A version of this article, Why your skin doesn't need microbeads, appeared on Newsbeat in 2016.

Follow Newsbeat on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

Listen to Newsbeat live at 12:45 and 17:45 every weekday on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra - if you miss us you can listen back here.

More on this story