If you’ve been searching for the best way to reduce moisture, eliminate odor, and prevent chafing, you’ve probably encountered many conversations, discussions, and debates about talcum powder.
This natural product has been used for a long time to help keep skin dry and prevent skin chafing. By cutting down on moisture and reducing friction, talc has long been an ingredient in baby and body powders.
In recent decades, however, people have become increasingly concerned about the safety of using talcum products on the skin. While the research and studies looking into this situation leave a lot of questions to be answered, many people feel that the potential benefits of these products simply don’t outweigh the risks.
Fortunately, there are a number of alternatives to talcum powder that you can use to keep your sweatiest spots clean and dry all day. Let’s take a closer look at why many people are skeptical of talcum powder and what other products you can use for your personal hygiene.
What Is Talcum Powder?
Talcum (often abbreviated as “talc”) is a clay mineral that is commonly used in personal hygiene products as well as paints, ceramics, and roofing materials. It has long been used in baby powder and other body powder products because of its efficacy in helping to absorb moisture and prevent skin irritation.
While talc is incredibly versatile and used in many industries, several safety concerns have been raised surrounding this silicate mineral.
In recent years, there has been growing concern that the use of talc in certain products could be contributing to specific diseases– particularly lung and ovarian cancers. A number of studies have been run to determine if there is a link between talc and certain cancers, but at this point, the evidence of a direct link remains quite limited.
There are a number of complex factors at play when determining whether talc is safe. One such factor is the association between talc and asbestos. Asbestos is another type of silicate mineral that occurs naturally and is widely used in construction because of its heat-resistant properties. These days, though, the use of asbestos in construction and for other fireproofing needs has been made illegal in a number of countries because it has become clear that it has a negative impact on human health.
So, what does talc have to do with asbestos?
Basically, talc deposits and asbestos are commonly located in the same spot. This means that the mined talc could end up being contaminated with asbestos.
In 1976, stringent quality controls were put in place, including separating talc for industrial uses from talc for cosmetic and food uses. Though this has helped mitigate the issue, there is still a large concern surrounding the potential contamination of talc with asbestos during the mining process.
A number of lawsuits have been brought against major personal hygiene companies because of the presence of talc in baby powder, most notably Johnson & Johnson.
- In 2016, the family of an Alabama woman that died from ovarian cancer was awarded $72 million. Having been diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2011, the woman had been using Johnson’s Baby Powder for more than four decades. However, Johnson & Johnson won a reversal of the verdict in 2017.
- In 2017, a California woman who developed ovarian cancer was awarded $417 million, but the verdict was also dismissed by a judge with the Los Angeles Supreme Court.
To make a long story short, the safety of talc is a complicated and confusing topic. You’ll find studies that seem to link talc with pulmonary issues, ovarian cancer, and lung cancer.
At the same time, major health and safety administrations are unclear about whether or not it is safe to use talc.
Studies About the Potential Link Between Talcum Powder and Cancer
There have been a number of studies that look at the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer. The notion is that the tiny talc powder particles could travel through the body to the ovaries if applied to the genital area or condoms, diaphragms, or sanitary napkins.
Before you skip over this section because you don’t have ovaries, it’s worth considering how your personal care products could potentially impact the health of your spouse, girlfriend, or sexual partners.
The findings of these studies in women have had mixed results. Some studies report that there is no increased risk of ovarian cancer, while others report a slightly increased risk.
One thing that makes it hard to study the potential link between talcum powder and ovarian cancer is that this type of cancer isn’t particularly common. This means that the study sizes tend to be a smaller size and, therefore, might not be large enough to detect an increase in risk.
Studies have also looked into whether people who mine and mill talc have an increased risk of lung cancer and other respiratory diseases. Just like with ovarian cancer studies, some have returned results that suggest an increased risk of these diseases, while others haven’t found a link.
Studying this potential risk of talc in this way is complicated by the fact that other minerals are often present during the mining process. This means miners can be exposed to a laundry list of substances underground, such as asbestos or radon.
Finally, there are also concerns that talc could be linked with other forms of cancer. At this point, potential connections with other cancer types haven’t been extensively studied.
One study did find that there might be a slightly increased risk of uterine cancer in postmenopausal women that use genital talcum powder. Again, other studies have not made the same connection.
While there are no clear answers about the safety of talc in this way, it’s perfectly understandable that many individuals feel that using this personal hygiene product simply isn’t worth the risks. As we’ll explore in the next section, you can use many alternative products without worrying about being contaminated with asbestos or potentially causing chronic disease.
8 Alternatives to Talcum Powder for Personal Hygiene
When you aren’t sure whether or not a product will adversely impact your health, it’s pretty hard to feel comfortable and confident applying it all over your body, not to mention your most sensitive regions like your balls.
Luckily, there are a number of alternatives to talcum powder that you can use to control moisture, eliminate odor, and reduce chafing that doesn’t have such shady safety concerns surrounding them.
1. Corn Starch
Just what it sounds like, corn starch is the starch derived from corn grain. As many personal hygiene companies have been moving away from using talc in their products, one of the go-to ingredients is corn starch.
Corn starch is easy to find (just head to the baking aisle of your local grocery store,) is pretty affordable, and has a similar consistency to talcum powder, making it a reasonable alternative. Because it’s so effective at soaking up excess moisture, corn starch has become the most popular and commonly used substitute for talcum powder.
Not only does cornstarch help to control moisture and odor, but it also doesn’t run the risk of exposing the most sensitive regions of your body to asbestos. Since the particles of corn starch are larger than those of talcum powder, the risk of corn starch causing problems by getting into your lungs is significantly reduced.
2. Baking Soda
If you’ve ever used baking soda to soak up nasty smells in your fridge, you know just how effective it can be at getting rid of odors. Not only can it help keep your smelling fresh and clean, but it also helps absorb moisture.
That being said, baking soda can be abrasive for sensitive skin. If you’re attempting a DIY solution to your sweaty groin problem, you’ll want to combine baking soda with another moisture-absorbing product like cornstarch or kaolin clay.
If you’re dealing with odor problems below the belt, you might find yourself desperately trying to come up with a viable solution. Before you start putting deodorant or antiperspirant on your groin, give our premium powder ice a try.
3. Arrowroot Starch
Though arrowroot starch might not be quite as easy to find as baking soda and cornstarch, you can typically find it at your local health food store.
Similar to tapioca starch, arrowroot starch can be a reasonable alternative if you have a corn allergy.
4. Tapioca Starch
Tapioca starch, which originates from the cassava plant, helps to absorb moisture and oil. You can use tapioca to mix with baking soda to help absorb perspiration and soothe the skin.
Are you wondering whether you should use cream or powder for your chafing issues? This guide takes a deep dive into whether powder or cream is more effective.
An essential mineral, when we sweat, we lose magnesium. When your magnesium levels are low, it can mean that you sweat even more and continue to lose more magnesium. Some people find that supplementing with magnesium helps to reduce sweat production.
6. Kaolin Clay
Also known as cosmetic clay, kaolin clay can be found in a number of personal care products such as lotions, scrubs, and cosmetics.
This is a good choice if you have particularly sensitive skin. To find kaolin clay, you’ll want to look online or check with your local health food store.
7. Bentonite Clay
Another natural clay, bentonite clay, has a fine, soft texture. When you mix it with water, it forms a paste that can be used for cosmetic or medical benefits, such as treating acne or rashes.
Various cultures have used this type of clay for thousands of years, but most of the studies about its benefits and efficacy are limited to animal studies and cell models. For this reason, the full benefits and risks aren’t completely known.
Some people create a DIY solution by combining arrowroot powder and bentonite clay along with calendula and lavender.
8. Talc-Free Body Powder
Perhaps the simplest solution to keeping yourself feeling fresh and dry without having to take on a science project is to find a high-quality, talc-free body powder. It’s important to remember that not all powders are created equal– you’ll want to find one that uses only premium ingredients that aren’t going to cause irritation to your skin.
Our Chassis premium body powder is made with the best natural extracts and nutrient-rich botanicals. Free from talc, parabens, aluminum, menthol, and all the other things you definitely don’t want in your body powder, you’ll find our ingredients list full of recognizable natural ingredients.
Are You Looking For the Best Alternative to Talc?
Does talc cause cancer? Does the talcum powder product in your medicine cabinet have asbestos in it? Is using talcum powder on your body or even your balls safe?
There are a lot of unanswered questions out there about talc and its safety. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has classified talc that contains asbestos as “carcinogenic to humans” and the use of talc-based body powder as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Though studies have had mixed results about whether talc can cause cancer or increase the risk of developing certain cancers, the reality is that there are a number of other viable alternatives on the table. Given this, using a product that doesn’t have questionable safety on the most sensitive parts of your body seems like a reasonable course of action.
If you’ve been searching for man-care products that leave you feeling fresh, clean, and dry, you’ve come to the right place. Our entire product line is free from talc, aluminum, parabens, and other ingredients you simply don’t want to be putting all over your body.
Is it time for you to take your personal hygiene to the next level? Check out our online store for body powders, restoration creams, shower primers, and much more.