Most of us are familiar with the silky soft, fresh smelling, good old baby powder that mothers have been dusting their babies with since the dawn of time. Once a very common household staple, baby powder still holds its very own spot on many changing tables these days.
Have you ever read the label on your baby powder container?
For the record, if it says TALC, you should definitely ditch it.
(No need to panic though. There is a very simple alternative to baby powder that you can use instead.)
WHAT’S WRONG WITH TALC?
Due to very fine particles, talc can cause breathing issues, lung damage, or even death when inhaled. Studies have shown that inhaling talcum dust can lead to shortness of breath, wheezing, obstruction of the airways, and respiratory failure. As a result, the American Academy of Pediatrics now advises against using talc-based baby powder.
But that’s not all.
Fears have grown over whether talcum powder could be carcinogenic. Earlier this month, Johnson & Johnson has been hit yet again when the company was ordered to pay $110.5 million to Lois Slemp, 62, of Virginia, for allegedly failing to disclose the cancer risk associated with its talc-containing products. The jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for fraud, negligence, and conspiracy. In 2016, three other jury trials reached similar verdicts (though, in all fairness, some have not).
Does that mean that talc-containing products cause cancer?
Well, no. I mean, maybe. The evidence isn’t clear.
Some talc in its natural form contains asbestos which is known to cause cancer if inhaled. According to the American Cancer Society, however, this type of talc has not been used in the U.S. households since 1970s. While talc might no longer contain asbestos, the ACS admits that the evidence on carcinogenicity of asbestos-free talc is “less than clear.”
It has been suggested that asbestos-free talcum powder might cause ovarian cancer with regular use, but these findings haven’t been conclusive. In addition, some animal studies have shown that talc can cause tumors while others have not.
Not very reassuring news in a product that has the word ‘baby’ built in the name…
Now let’s forget about talc for a minute.
TALC ISN’T THE ONLY PROBLEMATIC INGREDIENT IN BABY POWDER.
Since the news about dangers of talc-containing products first came out, some manufacturers have decided to replace talc with corn starch. However, if you read the labels, you’ll notice that many types of corn starch-based baby powder contain synthetic fragrances, another ingredient best avoided.
Now, I’m not saying that it’s difficult to find a natural type of baby powder. If your goal is avoiding both talc and synthetic fragrance in a baby powder, there are definitely products on the market that you’ll find suitable.
Or, you can save your money and use a natural, safe, baby powder substitute. That’s right!
THERE IS A VERY SIMPLE ALTERNATIVE TO BABY POWDER.
I’m positive that there is a whole bunch of natural baby powder recipes floating on Pinterest. And I’m sure they work, too, and smell like a lavish lavender field or baby cuteness with a drop of morning dew. If you want to make homemade baby powder, more power to you! And if you feel a little, well, lazy, the following single ingredient baby powder substitute involves no measuring or mixing. Just sayin’.
It’s pure CORN STARCH.
Simple enough, right? I recommend using corn starch (preferably certified organic) as a simple baby powder alternative because it works, and if you don’t already have it at home, it can be easily found.
If you’re not sure where to find corn starch, don’t feel bad. Head to the baking section of your grocery store right around where baking soda and baking powder are located. It should be right there.
Using corn starch really feels no different from baby powder, and it helps soak up wetness and moisture the exact same way as well. All you need to do is pour some into a small container with a lid and keep on hand.
If you research this topic, you’ll notice that ANY TYPE OF POWDER is starting to get frowned upon these days by the medical community. However, corn starch powder isn’t as concerning as talc because its particles are larger and less airborne.
☞ Even though there is no evidence of corn starch being harmful for kids, it is not without its problems. Corn starch may make diaper rash caused by a fungal (yeast) infection worse as is can promote bacterial and fungal growth – something to keep in mind.
APPLY ANY KIND OF POWDER CAREFULLY…
You may have vivid memories of babies and moms appearing out of white clouds of the powdery goodness like I do. However, times have changed, and creating a powder mushroom cloud is now a big no-no.
If you do decide to use any kind of powder, never shake it directly on baby’s skin. Carefully sprinkle a small amount onto your hand instead, then apply gently on your baby’s skin. Don’t forget to close the lid, and ALWAYS keep all powders away from kids.