Is baby powder safe to use? This is the common question which bothers me years ago and for some of us who are using baby powder since our young age, here is the article for you. I guess it is good to know the history about baby powders and the ingredients used to make baby powders. After reading this article, put yourself together and think about it, whether it is safe using it, especially for our babies.
Is baby powder safe to use?
I will be sharing insight about :
- Why we use baby powder?
- Main ingredients for making baby powder
- Health concern about the use of baby powder
- Alternatives to baby powder
Let’s read on to find out more.
Why we use baby powder?
We used to apply baby powder on babies for some reasons.
- We use baby powder on babies diaper area to keep it dry to prevent diaper rashes.
- We use baby powder on babies neck or other skin fold areas to prevent heat rashes.
- We use baby powder on babies to make them smell good.
In the past, baby powder and diapers are two essentials during early childhood years and these two can’t live without each other.
In the past, babies use cloth diapers and they develop diaper rashes easily because the cloth diapers cannot hold much urine and absorb moisture well. Therefore, parents in the old days, use baby powder on the genital area to keep babies skin dry.
Babies powders are used to apply on neck or other skin fold areas for the same reason.
Now, in the modern days, the design of the diapers has changed and improved (regardless it is cloth diapers or disposable diapers), they are made with better absorbency. These diapers are designed to have absorbency core which can lock in moisture to avoid moisture direct contact with babies skin which is the main reason of diaper rashes.
Baby powder contain fragrance. Therefore, parents want their babies to smell good, they use baby powder.
Main ingredient of baby powder
Basically, main ingredient stated in most baby powders are “naturally derived ingredient” called talc. Talc is also known as talcum powder which is no doubt, comes from nature earth. Supposedly it is safe as it is natural ingredient, no harsh chemicals which will cause any harm to human being.
However, the public has raised health concern about use of talc in baby product such as baby powder due to contamination of asbestos in talc which is also naturally occurring substance.
No doubt, talc is a great substance that it is softest mineral and absorb moisture but if it contains traces of asbestos, it raises health red flag for those who are using it in long term, may be at risk of getting cancer. This statement is supported by FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) about safety of using talc in cosmetics and baby powders. The contamination of asbestos in talc happened during mining as talc and asbestos can be found in close proximity.
Talc which is contaminated with asbestos is carcinogenic (can cause cancer to human) in prolong exposure
That is why certain brand of baby powders are stating “purified talc” in their label, or they have substituted their ingredient to cornstarch. You still see baby powder in the market nowadays and why they are still being sold if it is not safe?
Find out more.
Health concern about use of baby powder
As i mentioned earlier about the contamination of asbestos in talc may have risk of getting cancer.
Besides, its fine particle size also have raised aspiration hazard to babies. The American Association of Pediatrics recommend not to use talc contain products for babies. If babies expose to large quantity of talc contain products, by accidental spill, it may cause lung disease such as pneumoconiosis.
In some baby product label, it spells out clearly “keep powder away from child’s face to avoid inhalation”.
If babies have to use baby powder, use a little as you can, place a small amount onto your hand and transfer to the diaper area or other part of the body.
Another public concern about the use of baby powder in the genital area may have risk of getting Ovarian cancer. This is not a recent news. This issue has been raised long time ago, as early as in 70s. Just few years ago, one of the famous brand of baby powder producer was allegedly charged for million of dollars link to use of talc baby powder for causing Ovarian cancer.
Many studies were conducted and there is no clear connection between use of talc powder (without asbestos) can cause cancer. American Cancer Society has confirmed about this. Therefore, baby powder contain talc will be around for awhile until the experts managed to confirm the use of talc will cause human cancer.
Based on the lack of data from human studies and on limited data in lab animal studies, IARC classifies inhaled talc not containing asbestos as “not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.”
If you are concern about the use of baby powder to your babies health, limit the usage of baby powder or totally avoid using it.
Alternative to baby powder
Nowadays, if you want to prevent diaper rash, you have other alternatives or method to prevent it.
- Experts say the best way is to “diaperless” your baby for awhile after diaper change. It may sound not practical at all but it can done while you and your baby are staying at home.
- Get a good absorbency diaper (clothes diapers or disposable diapers) and change frequently
- Always pat dry your baby diaper area before you change a new diaper
- If you really want to use baby powder, choose cornstarch baby powder. Small amount onto your hand and keep away from your baby’s face to avoid inhalation. Cornstarch is used due to larger particle size, limit the entry to your airway.
- Use lotion or diaper rash cream to apply onto the affected area.
You can use lotion or cream to apply on your baby’s skin fold or neck to avoid heat rashes. Definitely, I am sure you do not need to use baby powder to make your baby smell good. They smell good enough after bath which i do not think baby powder is necessary.
Baby powder is safe to use as most studies show no link on talc powder to human cancer. Only when talc is contaminated with asbestos is considered not safe. How do we know the baby powder is purely talc?
As a conclusion, my honest opinion, baby powder is not an essential nowadays. You can choose to have it or not to have it. If you really need to use it, just limit your usage. If you can totally avoid it, no matter what circumstances, it will not harm you anymore.
I hope this article will bring you some benefits. If you want to share your experience about using the baby powder, drop me a comment below.