Talcum powder. You were probably sprinkled with it as a baby and thousands of women around the world have used it in their daily beauty and hygiene routines for years.
But just how safe IS talcum powder?
Johnson and Johnson’s most recent recall of its well known talcum powder for babies has put the spotlight once more on the dark side of this common beauty product.
Talcum powder is used on babies, surely it isn’t dangerous?
Not so fast.
Here’s the risk and warnings you need to know about talcum powder.
What Is Talcum Powder?
Talcum powder (also known as talc) is a mineral in clay mined from underground deposits and contains hydrated magnesium silicate.
What Products Contain Talcum Powder?
Think talcum powder is only for baby’s butts? Think again.
Talc is the softest mineral in the world which makes it useful for many products in the beauty and personal care industry. It’s usually added to absorb moisture, soften products, make makeup opaque, and prevent caking.
You could be using a variety of products in your daily routine that contain talc, including:
- Creams and moisturisers
- Dry shampoos
- Eye shadow
- Loose and compressed makeup powders
- Feminine hygiene products
- Baby powder
- Body and shower products
Talcum Powder, Asbestos and Cancer
The scary issue with talcum powder is its link with asbestos.
Veins of asbestos are commonly found in the underground deposits of talc, which, geologists point out, runs the risk of talc becoming naturally cross-contaminated with asbestos.
Not every talc deposit is contaminated with asbestos but some companies may source talc for their formulations from asbestos-contaminated mines, including sites in North Carolina, Alabama, Vermont and northern Italy.
After asbestos fibres enter the body they become lodged in organ linings and as our bodies can’t break down or remove the fibres, they remain stuck.
This is what can lead to diseases including asbestosis and cancer.
The association between talc use and ovarian cancer, in particular, has been studied and research has revealed:
“Genital use of talc, either alone or in combination with body use, was associated with elevated epithelial ovarian cancer risk.” - The Association Between Talc Use And Ovarian Cancer.
We think this is a pretty compelling argument for leaving talc out of your hygiene routine.
In August 2019, Johnson & Johnson was facing more than 14,000 lawsuits over its baby powder, which included claims of links to ovarian and other types of cancer.
Talc used in cosmetics also has a history of asbestos contamination. Cosmetic-grade talc and pharmaceutical grade talc, often referred to as ‘clean’ talc should not contain asbestos and must meet strict purity requirements (tested by x-ray) to make sure it meets these standards.
However, if companies like Johnson and Johnson are issuing recalls for possible asbestos contamination (despite using pharmaceutical-grade talc) is the safest option to simply avoid any products containing talc completely?
Natural and organic beauty brands use alternatives to talc including silica, cassava root, arrowroot, and cornflower to achieve similar results in cosmetics without the potentially harmful risks of talc.
Read The Label - Know The Ingredients
When was the last time you read (and understood!) every item on the ingredients list of a product?
It’s so easy to buy a product, without giving a second thought to what it actually contains. Especially if it’s a product you’ve purchased for years or appears to be safe - like baby powder!
One of the best things you can do for your health is to always read the ingredient list of every beauty / personal care product you purchase.
Learn the potentially harmful ingredients, like talc often contained in everyday items so you can begin to avoid products that contain these substances.
It’s a murky world of cosmetic and beauty ingredients out there, and talc is the perfect case in point. Big companies that use the ingredients defend them, while research shows otherwise - no wonder it’s so easy to get confused!
We think the best approach is to simply avoid ANY ingredients that are shrouded in controversy like
- SLS (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate)
- SLES (Sodium Laureth Sulfate)
- BHA (butylated hydroxyanisole) and BHT (butylated hydroxytoluene)
You won’t be left wondering about the safety of the ingredients we use in our Coast Sydney Botanicals formulations.
Our luxury vegan skincare brand made with 100% plant skin foods. No toxins, and no BS promises!
Our customers know without a doubt that Coast Sydney Botanicals skincare doesn’t contain any questionable (is it good / is it bad?) ingredients.