Subscribe to Newsletter


Is Your Face Scrub Toxic?
Written by Dr Jessica Wu   
Monday, 24 February 2014 00:00

Do you use a face scrub, exfoliating cleanser, or whitening toothpaste? If so, you may want to check the ingredient list. That’s because polyethylene microbeads ...


February 24, 2014

On the Shelf / In the Lab

Is Your Face Scrub Toxic?

Share with friends
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Forward

Do you use a face scrub, exfoliating cleanser, or whitening toothpaste? If so, you may want to check the ingredient list.  That’s because polyethylene microbeads, which I have written about and are commonly used in many scrubs, appear to be toxic to the environment and may potentially be harmful to your health.

Last week, lawmakers in New York state introduced a bill that would ban products that contain these tiny plastic beads.  Researchers have found that the beads, found in some scrubs, soaps, and toothpastes, are being flushed down the drain and accumulating in rivers, oceans, and lakes, including the Great Lakes. Toxins such as pesticides, petroleum, and other chemical waste can bind to the beads, which float on top of the water and do not degrade with normal sewage treatment. Fish may then mistake the beads for food, thereby introducing toxins into the food chain.  Some of the largest companies that make personal care products have voluntarily pledged to remove the beads from their products in the next few years, although there is no definitive deadline.

Until then, I suggest avoiding products with “polyethylene” in the ingredient list, such as Neutrogena Deep Clean Gentle Scrub, Proactiv+ Cleansing Body Bar, and Colgate Advanced Whitening Toothpaste, among others.  Instead, choose those with natural scrubbing ingredients. For example, my MicroPolish Exfoliator contains finely ground, sustainably harvested Ivory Palm Seeds instead of plastic beads. The Ivory Palm granules are smooth so they gently buff away dead, dull skin cells and unclog pores, leaving skin super soft and radiant.  Plus, the palm seeds degrade naturally and do not add to the plastic waste that’s polluting our waters. $29.99 at Costco.com.


Welcome to the first issue of my revamped newsletter.  A great big Thank You to all of you who have been reading my daily emails since 2009, as well as those of you who have just signed up. Please let me know what you think, and spread the love by sharing my news with your friends!

Style Obssesion: Motorcycle Jackets

Style Obssesion - COVER

Motorcycle jackets are my go-to outerwear, whether I’m on my Harley or doing errands on the weekends. I also like to throw mine on over a cocktail dress to toughen it up. And that’s why I’m obsessed with this new Balenciaga Petal Peplum Biker Jacket: it’s tough but unmistakably feminine. I love the rounded shoulders (echoes of the classic Balenciaga cocoon coat from the ‘50s), nipped-in waist, and subtle peplum for a feminine shape. But it’s $5,350 – eek! Or, check out zappos.com for vegan-leather, quilted, and brightly colored versions ranging from $60- $1000 (free shipping and returns).

Rouge Coco Shine
Product Image
I can’t get enough of Chanel Rouge Coco Shine in Aventure. For the office, I layer it over a pink-nude lipliner for lasting color; on weekends, I wear it alone for a shiny, natural tint. It comes in 33 sheer, beautiful colors ($35). For a less pricy alternative, try Revlon Colorburst Lip Butter (about $6).

Recent press

Polar Vortex making your skin dry and scaly? Check out my advice on how to heal winter skin, along with a yummy homemade scrub recipe I gave Cristina Ferrare and Debbie Matenopoulos on the Home & Family show

Talk to Me

Got a burning question, new product that you’d like me to review, or just want to say “hi”?
I’d love to hear from you. Send your comments to:

 <script language='JavaScript' type='text/javascript'>
 var prefix = 'mailto:';
 var suffix = '';
 var attribs = '';
 var path = 'hr' + 'ef' + '=';
 var addy64150 = 'feedback' + '@';
 addy64150 = addy64150 + 'drjessicawu' + '.' + 'com';
 document.write( '<a ' + path + '\'' + prefix + addy64150 + suffix + '\'' + attribs + '>' );
 document.write( addy64150 );
 document.write( '<\/a>' );
 </script><script language='JavaScript' type='text/javascript'>
 document.write( '<span style=\'display: none;\'>' );
 </script>This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it
 <script language='JavaScript' type='text/javascript'>
 document.write( '</' );
 document.write( 'span>' );

I will do my best to publish your questions in my newsletter. However, I can’t guarantee a personal response to each one. The material in this newsletter is provided for educational purposes only, and is not to be used for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.


Where to Find Dr. Jessica Wu

Title - In Bookstores
Book COVER 'JESSICA WU M.D. - feed your face'  

Get a Taste of Feed Your Face!

In this video clip, Dr. Jessica Wu talks about the inspiration behind her top selling book, Feed Your Face: Younger, Smoother Skin and a Beautiful Body in 28 Delicious Days. Find out how you can heal your skin by choosing the right foods to eat.

Title - At the office

Look and feel your best with Cosmetic Dermatology

Dr Wu has been taking care of patients in her Los Angeles office since 1997. Learn more about her medical practice and line of skincare products at DrJessicaWu.com

Request an appointment

Follow Dr Jessica Wu
Facebook Twitter Pinterest Forward
About Newsletter

People often ask who’s been writing my daily columns since 2009. And the answer is: ME! I’m often at my computer late at night, after a long day of seeing patients, or early (very early!) in the morning before a new day begins. What you read here is from me alone – and when I recommend something, it’s because I like it and have purchased it myself, not because anyone paid me to promote it.

- Jessica