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Body powder has long been a staple for sweaty, sticky men everywhere. But a powder can offer great benefits for all — it absorbs moisture and odors, helps keep body acne at bay, and makes your skin baby soft. It can even double as a dry shampoo. But like many personal care products, there may be harmful ingredients hiding out in your body powder.
WHAT IS IN MOST POWDERS?
Unfortunately, most body care powders that have been on the shelves for years contain a host of harmful ingredients. Talcum powder is one of the main components of traditional powder — but the American Cancer Society, along with a growing number of consumers, have serious concerns about the health risks of talc powder. Synthetic fragrances and other chemicals are also often found in many common body powders.
WHY IS TALC SO BAD FOR US?
The American Cancer Society cites concerns about possible links between talcum powder and cancer. Many studies have been conducted to look at whether women who regularly used talc powder in the genital area experienced a higher risk of certain cancers, with some finding an increase. DrugCenter reports that talc increases the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancers by approximately 30 percent. Breathing talc is also dangerous, and can cause lung disease and cancer.
Even scarier, some talc-based powders actually contain asbestos — without doubt a carcinogen. The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) classifies talc that contains asbestos as “carcinogenic to humans,” and the Cosmetic, Toiletry, and Fragrances Association (CTFA) has had guidelines since 1976 stating that all talc used in cosmetic products in the United States should be free from detectable amounts of asbestos. Unfortunately, that doesn’t stop major manufacturers from putting this toxic, harmful ingredient in their powders.
In December 2018, Reuters published an investigative report exposing Johnson & Johnson for knowing that its baby powder contained asbestos — and trying to hide it from regulators and the public. This is in a product intended for infants, which makes it all the more alarming and reprehensible.
WHAT ARE SOME HEALTHY ALTERNATIVES?
Makers of personal care products who are committed to safety and health go a different route with their powders, using all-natural and safe ingredients such as corn starch, baking soda, arrowroot powder, and kaolin clay instead of talc.
When it comes to corn starch, particularly, consumers should still pay attention to the specific type and quality used. Corn is a crop that is often genetically modified, so you want to make sure that your powder of choice is made only with organic, non-GMO corn starch. Our talc free body powder soothes and cools skin without any hidden chemicals or toxins, and since every ingredient is one you can pronounce, feel free to use it as more than just a body powder!
WHAT OTHER THINGS SHOULD CONSUMERS LOOK FOR IN BODY PRODUCTS SUCH AS POWDER?
In addition to reading labels and ingredient lists carefully, one of the best ways to make sure you’re getting a product that is free of potentially dangerous ingredients is to pay attention to the company that is making it. In the highly-unregulated cosmetics and personal care industry, manufacturers can slap almost anything on their labels — and buzzwords such as “organic” and “natural” don’t mean very much on their own.
Instead, take a few extra minutes to look more closely at both the actual ingredients, and the company values of the maker. Are they committed to sourcing the highest-quality, truly all-natural ingredients that are completely free of toxic chemicals, synthetics, parabens and genetically modified components? Are they transparent to a fault about their manufacturing process and formulas? Do they run their operations and product development in a way that is 100% cruelty-free? Do their business practices include ethical values such as environmental sustainability and charitable giving?
If you can answer yes to these questions about the maker of your product, then you can feel good about what your putting on your skin and into your body.