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Heather Leslie in Vogue

10 July 2021
Are there trillions of microplastics in your sunscreen right now?

One bottle of sunscreen can contain up to 100tn intentionally added plastic particles—here’s what you need to know.

If you applied sunscreen this morning, the chances are you are now wearing billions of microplastics. Just one bottle can contain up to 100tn intentionally added plastic particles—used to bind ingredients together, form a thin coating on the skin and make it waterproof—according to the Plastic Soup Foundation, a Dutch campaign group working to ensure no plastic enters any body of water. Should you be lucky enough to be on a beach holiday right now, that may be an unavoidable fate.

In fact, taking part in Plastic-Free July is going to be a challenge for any of us who buy conventional beauty products, and not just because of the packaging. Despite a ban on microbeads in a handful of countries such as the US and UK (which includes particles up to 5mm in diameter), many are still teeming with plastics so tiny they’re invisible to the naked eye, and too small to be affected by this legislation. 

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