Medical devices

Baby Powder – Use & Health Benefits

Baby powder

Baby powder is a true all-rounder for some, for others it is a carcinogenic powder and a risk factor for bronchial tubes and ovaries . Because of its astringent effect, baby powder is often described as a dry shampoo , as a tried and tested remedy for sweaty feet and hands, and as an effective preparation against acne , in addition to its actual purpose – the treatment of baby’s bottom . More than 90% of baby powder products use talc, which is said to have asbestos-like and therefore carcinogenic properties. However, products made from corn starch do not contain any questionable ingredients.

What is baby powder?

Baby powder is often used to treat diaper rash because of its anti-inflammatory and absorbent properties. These are sores on the buttocks caused by excrement or oversensitivity to the diaper. For many children, being sore is part of the acute phase. Some also suffer chronically from these symptoms, and baby powder is often not enough to treat the painful inflammation .

The very fine powder is applied to the cleansed baby skin and counteracts irritation and inflammation. Magnesium carbonate, zinc oxide and talc are used as the main ingredients. In particular, the ingredient talc is given a dominant role because of its moisture-removing effect. However, this component in particular is often the subject of critical discussions.

Shapes, Species & Types

There are countless baby powders in drugstores, supermarkets, baby stores and health food stores. The majority contains 90% talc. Prices vary from just under €2 to €12. Due to the proven harmful effects of talc, some manufacturers are now using corn starch. This product is applied to the skin in a lotion-like form and also achieves a cooling effect. Its main ingredient Citroganix provides the antiseptic effect and does not contain talc or parabens. The highlight: when applied to the skin, the lotion turns into powder.

The offers of some organic suppliers such as Weleda rely on medicinal herbs such as arnica , calendula and echinacea for the ingredients . Nevertheless, talc is also used as the main ingredient here. At Bio Naturel and some other suppliers, the baby powder product has been completely removed from the range.

Structure & functionality

Baby powder consists mostly of talc. It is a very commonly used layered silicate that is extracted from soapstone. Its proportion in most baby powders is 90%. It is used for its astringent properties, which also have pore-reducing properties. Talcum is absolutely moisture-resistant and is therefore often used in the pharmaceutical industry. Even the powder on chewing gum often contains talc. Due to the controversial discussion about talc, some manufacturers are now doing without the ingredient or have reduced its proportion. These changes in the products are not controlled by law.

Other components are zinc oxide and magnesium carbonate. Zinc oxide is known for its antiseptic character, it relieves existing inflammation and prevents new irritation of the affected skin areas, such as further pimples and blackheads . Magnesium carbonate can absorb suppuration and wound secretions and is responsible for the powder adhering to the skin. At the same time, this component also absorbs excess wound moisture and dries out the sore spots.

Medical & health benefits

Baby powder is said to have anti-inflammatory, antiseptic and thus wound-regulating properties. There are now a large number of midwives who are critical of the use of classic baby powder and point to the alternative of potato flour.

The ingredient talc, which is often used in baby powders, has come under much criticism. Over the past 30 years, researchers have discovered that talc particles can cause tumors in the ovaries and lungs. The inhalation of the fine powder particles by the newborn can also result in severe bronchial impairment.

In recent years, there have always been accidents when using the powder: the cans were accidentally emptied when they were opened and thus posed a serious risk to the children as large quantities were inhaled. The industry is now trying to counteract this. Refill packs are no longer available and the openings of the cans have been reduced.

If you want to use a product without talc, you can use lotions with corn starch. The liquid powder only turns into a powdery consistency on the skin and is made from 100% natural ingredients.

If you want to avoid using baby powder for various reasons, you can fall back on other alternatives: Many mothers swear by the use of cornmeal, which, when mixed with essential oils, is harmless to health and, above all – allergies excluded – without any side effects. It can be used immediately after production and can be stored dry for a long time.

There is also a large selection of wound protection creams available in supermarkets and organic shops. These are lotions and oils with marigold extract , chamomile or even beeswax and they are also said to have a wound-healing effect. However, midwives are increasingly recommending potato flour as an alternative, and the use of black tea (the cooled bag is simply dabbed onto the affected areas of skin) has already proven itself in many sore children.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.