baby powder talc-free

Setting The Record Straight on
Talc-free Baby Powder

Clean beauty industry maven Mary Futher founded kaia naturals® after spending 20 years working for global beauty companies. Mary now shares her weekly content series, delivering a quick fix, home remedy, or clean beauty product suggestion for a variety of human discomforts that some may find too embarrassing to discuss.

If you’re a new mom and are delving deep into the internet to find the do’s and don’ts of raising a kid in this era, then I’m sure you’ve read the countless articles about baby powder. With the 66,000 cases against the famous white bottled Johnson & Johnson baby powder – now talc-free – making headlines for not only weeks and months, but years, we are still left with the question, can I use baby powder on my child?

With all the controversy around the namesake Johnson & Johnson, I was interested in learning exactly what was going on. Should you be using baby powder? Is it talc that’s the problem? The asbestos? Or the particles in general? Well, I’m here to set the record straight and give you the answers to all these questions.

Why is baby powder with talc bad?

baby powder talc-free products

Baby powder using talcum powder, at one time contained asbestos which is said to be carcinogenic. There are a plethora of scientific studies that date back to the 1970s suggesting that long term use of talc-based baby powders containing asbestos on female genitals have correlation to ovarian cancer.

After asbestos was eliminated from baby powder formulations, talc-free baby powder started appearing on the shelves of many drugstores. However, it created a sense of false reality, making it seem that powder was safe to use on ourselves and our babies.

Ovarian Cancer

The truth is, you and your baby should stay far away from putting powder around female genitals. A study released by the American Association for Cancer Research points to reports that suggest women who use genital powders have more than a 40% increased risk of cancer.

The reason of this correlation was discovered when women with ovarian cancer were examined and found to have powder particles on their ovaries. When applying the powder, the powder particles migrated from the vagina to the ovaries and through the reproductive tract.

baby powder talc free caution label

Implications to the Lungs

The health concern regarding the lungs comes from inhaling the powder. As adults, we may have the ability to avoid directly breathing in the particles, however a child is more at risk. There are many reports as well as organizations like The Center for Disease Control and Prevention that they warn against inhaling powder. Inhalation can cause respiratory problems, like lung scarring, difficulty breathing, and it can reduce lung function and fibrosis.

It's all in the label

How often do you flip the bottle around to read the caution statement? Sure, keep it out of reach from children but nothing else is relevant right? Wrong. If you read the back of the bottle, it has a caution statement regarding inhalation, and it advises that this product is for external use only. External meaning not the genital area, as that can quickly transfer to internal. This is why this caution statement appears on the label.

Alternatives to talc free baby powder

Some people may feel strongly about using talc-free baby powder as it no longer contains asbestos and there are some sources that show that it is no longer a risk. However, I must point out that contrary to traditions of diaper changing, for keeping baby dry a better alternative is a barrier for moisture and your child will be protected from moisture if they use the following treatments:

Zinc Oxide for babies and diaper rash

Zinc oxide cream is a much better alternative for keeping your child dry as it creates a barrier between moisture and that works to prevent diaper rash.

baby powder talc-free applying lotion on skin
baby powder talc-free charcoal deodorant

Deodorant for thigh chafing

If you use the talc-free baby powder between your thighs for chafing,  try this charcoal deodorant on your thighs that will help create glide, eliminating the friction caused between your legs.

I love using body powder and the new cornstarch versions can be very effective, but I advise using powders (all powder) with caution as not only inhaling powder is dangerous but powder absorption inside female genitals can be risky. Just be cautious of powders but you can enjoy the benefits new talc-free formulations.

Each week on my blog The Little Book of Human Discomforts I share clever solutions for seemingly embarrassing skin, body, and hair issues. Consider subscribing below to be the first to know when new content is live! I also share lots of body and skincare tips on Instagram @kaianaturals and on my TikTok page @maryfuther.

Medical disclaimer:

The information provided in this blog is taken from Pubmed, The American Association for Cancer Research, Huffpost, R29, Parents magazine.

All content found on this website is created for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this Website. 

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