07/23/2024

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A woman named Emma Kinsley recently caught the attention of nearly 2 million people on TikTok after her beautician found beads from her face wash stuck in her pores.

In the video, Emma explains, “Guys, this is crazy. So, I just went in for a facial – and I feel so smooth. And, she asked me in the middle of the facial, ‘What kind of cleanser do you use? ‘ And I was like, ‘Well, I ran out of my normal stuff, so I’ve been using Neutrogena – the grapefruit stuff.’ And she was like, “Does it have orange or red beads in it?” I was like, ‘Yeah, there’s ……'”


“Beads. Neutrogena beads got stuck in my face. She pulled out multiple Neutrogena beads. If you’re using Neutrogena Grapefruit Scrub – stop, stop.”


“It’s a bead, it’s a bead …… I have beads on my skin and I’m freaking out – thank you so much to my aesthetician.”


At the end of the video, Emma shows the exact product she’s using before she throws it in the trash.


BuzzFeed spoke with Emma, who said she had been using Neutrogena Grapefruit Scrub for months before she discovered it-just before her wedding. “I ran out of my usual face wash and I knew I had Neutrogena in my guest bathroom. It’s not an unusual thing for me – whenever I run out and reorder, I usually use it as a backup.”

Emma says the strangest thing is that she has no indication that the beads are clogging her pores. “I actually think the cleanser works well. My skin looks great, and I don’t have any irritation. I also have sensitive skin, but I didn’t know the product would hurt me,” she says.


For three years, Emma has been getting regular facials/waxes, so she has an interesting relationship with Esthetique’s aesthetician Tayler. “When she does an extraction, which is definitely my favorite process, she breaks the silence, ‘What kind of facial cleanser have you used lately?’ I replied, letting her know that I was out of my regular wash. Then she asked if there were pink and orange beads in there …… I hesitated because I wasn’t sure where she was going with it and then said yes. That’s when she told me she pulled them out of my face.”


“When she took the extra time to do the extractions, she explained to me what happens: when you wet your face with warm water, your pores open up. Then you use a cleanser to get in there and get the dirt out. In this in this case, the beads go into the pores to cleanse, but get stuck there and most likely don’t even remove the dirt. Then you finish your routine and close your pores. As you continue throughout the day, as if going to the gym or taking a walk, your pores reopen – prompting more dirt. It becomes a vicious cycle, so the beads can get deeper in there without you even realizing it,” Emma explained what Taylor told her.


On the label of Neutrogena products, it says it doesn’t contain plastic beads, but Emma believes that whatever the beads are made of, they aren’t natural. “If they’re not dissolving on my face, they’re not dissolving period. That’s terrible not only for our bodies but for our environment. So, it wasn’t fun to learn during the week of my wedding, but I was very grateful for this facial so Tayler could show me firsthand what damage these products can cause.”


Emma says the cleansers she usually uses are Fré Skincare because they contain natural ingredients. “The exfoliator in their wash is made with jojoba oil, which is a natural dissolving exfoliant. tayler also had me use Naturopathica and Cosmedix, which have worked wonders on my skin. When I left my facial that day, she sent me home with some new Cosmedix samples that helped relieve the inflammation she extracted from the beads and helped open my pores and help clear them.”


For more information, BuzzFeed also spoke with dermatologist Mamina Turegano, M.D., FAAD. “I don’t necessarily like washing my face with beads because some of them can be traumatic and cause micro-tears in the skin, ” she says.

Turegano says many of the exfoliating beads in the cleanser are made of microplastics such as polyethylene, polypropylene and polyurethane. Salicylic acid is the main active ingredient in the Neutrogena cleanser Emma uses, and – in the list of inactive ingredients – we don’t see any microplastics listed.


While Turegano says it’s not common for beads to get stuck in pores, it can happen, which is why she recommends using a pH-balanced gentle cleanser.

Finally, Emma says the purpose of her video is to help people become aware of what they’re putting on their skin. “Just because it’s on the shelf at your local store doesn’t mean it belongs on the shelf at your house,” she says.

BuzzFeed has contacted Neutrogena about the specific ingredients in the exfoliating beads in its grapefruit scrub. If we hear back, we’ll update you.

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