Form of plastic (synthetic polymer) that has numerous functions in cosmetics products. Rounded polyethylene beads serve as an abrasive agent in many facial scrubs, often used instead of overly abrasive alternatives like walnut shells and ground fruit pits. Also used as a stabilizer, binding agent, thickener, and film-forming agent in moisturizers.

Back to Ingredient Dictionary

About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!