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Those Microbeads That Haunt Our Mid-2000s Face Wash Nightmares Are Officially Banned

They can't hurt the oceans (or your pores) anymore.

Our long, national nightmare is finally over: Those tiny, plastic beads infamously found in myriad exfoliating scrubs circa the mid-2000s are officially banned, as of Monday (Dec. 28).

A sampling of the usual suspects.
It turns out that microbeads suck for other reasons that don't include assailing our sensitive adolescent skin. Scientists and environmentalists have long said that the plastic particles are dangerous pollutants that can pass through wastewater treatment plants and wind up in bodies of water.

"The tiny beads then act as sponges for toxic chemical pollutants and become an attractive snack for marine wildlife," Consumerist reports. "And because we humans often like to eat seafood, that means there's a pretty good chance the spheres could end up in your stomach." Yikes.

According to, the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, which was signed into law by President Obama, will "phase microbeads out of consumer products over the next few years, starting with a ban on manufacturing the beads in July 2017, followed by product-specific manufacturing and sales bans in 2018 and 2019."

If you're looking to cut down on your own encounters with microbeads, you can check out Beat The Microbead's comprehensive list of products that contain the plastic particles. You can also download their app, which can scan products and instantly tell you which ones contain microbeads.

Thankfully, the beads can no longer pollute our precious waters. But their memory is indelibly written into our teenage flesh -- a pain that will last forever.