• Emma Kinsley said she made a shocking discovery at a pre-wedding facial.
  • She said her esthetician pulled red and orange exfoliating beads out of her pores.
  • The beads in the face wash she used are not made of plastic, but a biodegradable alternative.

Days before her wedding, Emma Kinsley went for what she hoped would be a relaxing facial with her favorite esthetician.

She told Insider that she had noticed a lot of inflammation in her face leading up to the big day. Mid-facial, the specialist asked her if she had switched up her cleansing routine.

Kinsley responded that she had been using Neutrogena's pink grapefruit foaming scrub since she ran out of her usual wash.

"The kind with the orange and red beads in it?" the esthetician asked calmly.

"You could tell she just wanted to let me know without interrupting the facial and the relaxation of it," Kinsley recalled.

But the experience left her anything but relaxed, as she learned that the esthetician had extracted what looked like microbeads from her pores. Kinsley shared her story on TikTok, warning other users to take caution when choosing their face wash.

She thinks the beads could have caused breakouts along her jawline

Kinsley told Insider that she had been struggling with acne that she thought might be hormonal. She was broken out along her jawline, which can be brought on by hormonal changes throughout the menstrual cycle.

She said she made sure to wash her pillow frequently in case that was causing the breakouts, but nothing seemed to help. 

According to her esthetician, the beads in the face wash were getting stuck in her pores and likely trapping dirt underneath, Kinsley said. She noted that she has a tendency to "push a little harder than necessary" when she washes her face, which may have been a factor.

Marisa Garshick, a dermatologist in New York City who did not treat Kinsley, told Insider that these types of beads are typically a gentler alternative compared to other exfoliating ingredients.

"When it comes to physical exfoliants it is best to avoid large irregularly shaped particles, such as walnut shells, as these can disrupt the skin barrier and cause micro-tears, damaging the skin," Garshick said.

If you prefer to avoid exfoliating scrubs, chemical exfoliants such as alpha or beta hydroxy acid or a wash containing salicylic acid can work as alternatives, she added.

The beads are made of a biodegradable plastic substitute

The beads in the Neutrogena scrub are not made of plastic, according to the ingredients label.

Plastic microbeads have been banned from rinse-off cosmetics made in the US, including face wash and toothpaste, since 2015 due to concerns about ocean pollution.

Researchers have created tiny plant-based beads that function similarly to their plastic predecessors, with one key difference: they're biodegradable. While the beads hold shape in the face wash and provide an even exfoliation, they're meant to break down relatively quickly once exposed to bacteria in the environment.

Neutrogena's pink grapefruit scrub contains cellulose and microcrystalline cellulose, which are both used to make modern microbeads. Those ingredients pass the Environmental Working Group's clean beauty assessment; however, the fragrances used in the wash scored high for allergy and immunotoxicity risk, according to EWG's Skin Deep database.

Neutrogena did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment.

Read the original article on Insider