Gosh, I love talc!
Didn’t you panic with all that buzz about talc being dangerous for your health and all that? I know I did. The good news is that we don’t have to give up on talc cosmetics, we only have to make good decisions and choose products and brands that are thorough and careful in the process of manufacturing their products. So cheer up! We can keep using it! 😎
A Little Bit of History
Talc represent an essential discovery in our hygiene and personal care. Both women and men have used talc cosmetics and talc in makeup for centuries. Recently, there was a discussion about the fact that asbestos-tainted products have become a safety concern among people. Obviously, we can say that it was irresponsible by some cosmetics companies to launch products containing asbestos traces to the market and they should be banned from stores. In fact, most of these products have been effectively removed from the markets. On the other hand, according to many health experts and scientific reviews, products containing talc are, in general, safe.
Talc Presentations in Cosmetics
Talcum powder is the refined and powdered form of the softest mineral on earth: talc. It is an “inert” ingredient. It means that talc doesn’t generate chemical reactions when swallowed or used on the skin. Pure talcum powder is white, so manufacturers must add different pigments to produce makeup products. As for its property to absorb moisture, it is relatively low, and the way to increase it is by mixing with other minerals such as kaolin and zinc oxide. It means that talc by itself will not affect your skin hydration levels. There are different finishes for talc cosmetics, the most popular are matt and bright in various degrees. Talc doesn’t usually irritate the skin, although it should not be applied in sored areas because it can make the situation worse. But you shouldn’t apply any product! So talc is not the exception, but the rule.
The Current Consensus of Talc Safety
Regarding the safe use of talc, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) affirms that this product is certified like “GRAS” (Generally Recognized As Safe) for use as a component of color in cosmetics. Companies like Jhonson & Jhonson have been forced to pay high amounts of money to some women, who presented complaints based on a minimum presence of asbestos in some products of this brand; however, no scientific organization has been so far able to prove that talc, as a chemical component, can cause cancer or that it contributes to any particular form of cancer such as the ovarian cancer. Doctors Joshua E. Muscat, Ph.D., MPH1,2, and Michael S. Huncharek, MD, MPH2,3, in their scientific study “Perineal Talc Use and Ovarian Cancer: A Critical Review”, state:
“Talc is not genotoxic. Mechanistic, pathology and animal model studies have not found evidence for a carcinogenic effect. In summary, these data collectively do not indicate that cosmetic talc causes ovarian cancer.”
There is still a lot of press and rumors going on about the cosmetic use of talc, but I feel most of the discussion tends to be focused on damaging the reputation of a solid company. Anyways, I’m not a J&J lawyer and cannot speak for them, I’m just trying to make some conclusions as a responsible consumer. Also, I love talc cosmetics, I won’t give them up so easily. 😬 What I can say after checking the available facts is that yes, there are some companies that haven’t been thorough enough to process talc and make sure there are no traces of asbestos on it, but no, not everything containing talc necessarily contains asbestos. And no, talc by itself is not a carcinogen.
Also, we have official sources of information to consult when in doubt, so we don’t have to fall for crazy conspiracy theories. The FDA has elaborated a safety alert report that is updated permanently. In this document, you can find the complete list of products that this agency recommends not to use because they have that tested positive for traces of asbestos.
I hope this article has been useful for you, please send any question you have about talc cosmetics and talc products, I’ll be happy to make a research and publish my findings to share them with you and all my #TalcMates.
See you next time!