It's hard to estimate the quantity of plastic in the oceans. We know that global production is constantly rising and recent studies estimate that approximately 8 million tons of plastic ends up in the ocean every year. From giant pieces all the way down to tiny fragments, like microplastics, which are small particles measuring less than 5 mm in diameter. Filter feeders (mussels, clams, oysters) can become contaminated with them because they filter the water to feed, while fish can involuntarily ingest them by mistaking them for food or by eating contaminated prey. This is how microplastics enter the food chain and can eventually be consumed by humans. Scientific studies on the toxicological effect of ingesting food contaminated by microplastics are still in the early stages, but we know the risk is real.
Ocean contamination is as urgent as it is complex: in the nineties, cosmetics and make-up manufacturers began introducing microplastics into their formulas to achieve a better sensory experience. These tiny plastic particles are not biodegradable and are extremely persistent in the environment, and obviously in our oceans. The environmental impact is worsened by the fact that most plastic polymers are made from fossil fuels, namely oil.
Many studies have proven that, in addition to causing skin photosensitization, UV filters, a key ingredient in sunscreens, can also have a negative impact on the environment and marine ecosystem. The Hawaii government recently sent a strong signal to the world by introducing a ban on the use of two UV filters (Oxybenzone and Octinoxate) believed to cause harm to coral, the natural habitat and food source for numerous algae and marine species.
The cosmetics of the future take account of sustainability, raw materials from renewable sources, attentive waste-free production, and conscious management of production processes. A holistic, responsible approach that uses innovation and the great work of our research laboratories enables us to provide a sustainable alternative without giving up on the effectiveness and sensory experience of premium products.
The oceans cannot wait any longer. The change must start now and begin with our day-to-day choices.