5 Alternatives to Talc Powder That Don’t Cause Cancer
Talcum powder seems to be everywhere. It’s in the makeup we use, certain types of soaps, condoms, medications, crayons, and even paper. And while it appears useful and rarely harmful to healthy skin, it can cause health issues.
Long-term inhalation of talc powder can cause severe lung problems, such as asthma, bronchitis, or talcosis—a pulmonary disease caused by talc. It has been linked to lung and endometrial cancer. Many women and their families filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, claiming that its talc powder containing asbestos caused ovarian cancer.
Two studies that were conducted back in 1982 and 1999 suggest that talc increases the risk of ovarian cancer. Products that contain talc are used around the perineal area. The particles enter the womb and move up the fallopian tubes into the ovaries, where they can’t break down and cause the development of cancerous cells.
Below are some other natural alternatives that don’t cause cancer.
Who would’ve thought that an alternative to talc powder is sitting in our kitchen pantries? This magical powder is cornstarch. It’s derived from the starchy part of a corn kernel, and it’s a common food ingredient used to thicken soups and sauces. But cooking is not the only place where cornstarch is applied.
It’s used in textile manufacturing, but also in medicine, where it serves to supply glucose for patients with glycogen storage disease or as an anti-stick agent for latex products. Today we see a bunch of videos on social media where cornstarch is being used to create the non-Newtonian fluid, which is a fluid that doesn’t follow Newton’s law of viscosity.
But cornstarch has also found its place in the beauty industry. While it can’t be used to set makeup, it’s great for treating some skin problems, such as itchiness, athlete’s foot, or bug bites. Even though cornstarch has slightly larger particles compared to talcum powder, it can still be used to absorb excess moisture on the skin.
This starch is extracted from the storage roots of the cassava plant, and it’s yet another ingredient that we use in the kitchen, both as a baking flour and a thickener for sauces, giving the food a chewy texture. It’s commonly used in Asian and cuisine. Tapioca starch is gluten- and wheat-free and is suitable for people who have gluten intolerance.
When it comes to skin and hair care, tapioca starch can be used for brittle hair, and it’s excellent for hair growth while it nourishes and repairs it. When used as a deodorant, it absorbs sweat while maintaining the natural perspiration of the body, perfectly replacing products that contain talc powder. It also makes the skin feel soft and can be found in many beauty products, such as shampoos or bath bombs.
Kaolin clay forms as a result of the weathering of aluminum silicate minerals. Bentonite clay forms from volcanic ash and water. Kaolin clay is rich in kaolinite mineral, and it shouldn’t be confused with bentonite, which is a form of mineral consisting of montmorillonite. They are both used in the production of skincare products.
Still, kaolin clay is gentler than others, which makes it perfect for all skin types, especially sensitive skin. Kaolin clay is a great facial cleanser, pore detoxifier, and exfoliator. It helps treat acne and absorbs excess oil without damaging the epidermis. Since kaolin clay is a natural absorbent, it’s used instead of talc powder to prevent chafing and rashes.
Arrowroot starch derives from the rootstock of many tropical plants, such as Florida arrowroot, Japanese arrowroot, and Maranta arundinacea. Like all the other starches, it’s used as a thickener and retains thickness in frozen or thawed dishes. Just like tapioca, Arrowroot starch is gluten-free, which makes it a popular thickener among people with gluten sensitivity. Arrowroot contains a considerable amount of potassium, iron, and vitamin B. This makes it great for metabolism, circulation, and heart health.
Arrowroot can be used to fight zits, as a face mask, dry shampoo, or deodorant. This starch is entirely natural, and when it’s finely ground and mixed with cornstarch or baking soda, it turns into a gentle, 100% vegan alternative to talcum powder.
This list wouldn’t be complete without the mention of famous baking soda. Many use baking soda in the baking process, as it acts as a leavening agent and helps the dough rise by producing carbon dioxide. Still, its application is way more versatile.
When combined with water or vinegar, it becomes a potent cleaning agent, and when placed in the fridge, it eliminates tough odors. When mixed with essential oils, baking soda becomes an air freshener, and it can also be used to absorb moisture from furniture or carpets.
When it comes to the health benefits of baking soda, its versatility doesn’t surprise us. It can be used to treat heartburn, whiten the teeth, soothe bug bites, and improve exercise performance. It’s a safe alternative to talcum powder, but it can be a bit more abrasive for sensitive skin. It’s best to mix it with cornstarch or kaolin clay for optimal results.
Talcum powder is an ingredient in many beauty products, but since it’s closely connected to asbestos, it can cause cancer and other health conditions. That’s why people around the globe look for alternatives, and once again, nature has provided us with multiple options to choose from.
Cornstarch, tapioca, kaolin clay, arrowroot starch, and baking soda are some of the healthiest alternatives. What’s even better is that these ingredients are not only alternatives to talc powder, but they also have a wide application, from skincare to cooking and everything in between.