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You’ve probably heard about the baby powder controversy as of late. Johnson & Johnson is facing criticism and lawsuits over the allegations that their famous talcum baby powder is the direct cause of ovarian cancer in hundreds of people who have used it over the years. This is primarily thought to be because the talc mineral (also called talcum) used in baby powder may cause ovarian cancer when used as a feminine hygiene product or sometimes lung cancer if inhaled frequently.
Furthermore, it was revealed recently that Johnson & Johnson knew of asbestos – a well-known cancer-causing substance – in its talcum baby powder and has been concealing that fact for years.
Many are now filing suit against Johnson & Johnson from both women who say they are now suffering because of their loyal use of talcum powder and family members of those who have died from ovarian cancer. Lots of people are now looking for safer alternatives to talc, so here’s a list of four natural substances to look for in your beauty products instead.
Arrowroot starch (and the very similar tapioca starch) is a popular cooking and baking ingredient, especially in gluten-free dishes – but it can also be used on your body! This fine powder is actually derived from several different tropical plants and will make your skin feel silky smooth.
There are lots of DIY recipes out there for making your own arrowroot baby powder, but you can find some smaller brands out there that use it to make all-natural products. It’s super absorbent and extremely gentle, but you should still be careful to avoid inhaling it as much as possible. Also, as with all starches, there’s some concern that arrowroot starch can cause or aggravate yeast infections, so be careful if you’re thinking about using it for feminine hygiene.
Cornstarch is already historically used in lots of baby powders, so you maybe have already used it without realizing! It’s the most commercially available substance on this list, so you shouldn’t have any problem finding talc-free cornstarch powders in the beauty aisle.
Products that use cornstarch as the main ingredient are gentler than talcum powders, but have the same general consistency and are great at absorbing dampness. There’s concern that cornstarch can cause yeast infections and cause harm to the lungs if inhaled, though, so it should still be used with caution around sensitive areas.
P.S. – don’t necessarily grab that container of cornstarch from your kitchen pantry. Instead, check out premade baby or dusting powders that list it as the main ingredient.
3. Oat Flour
Oat flour is another tasty entry on this list, famous for being the star in gluten-free pancake recipes everywhere. It’s made from finely crushed whole oats, and you can even make your own flour with a food processor or blender!
Oat flour makes for a slightly courser baby powder that’s still quite gentle on sensitive skin. Lots of people like to add it in small doses to their moisturizer to help calm redness, and you can use it in lots of homemade baby or dusting powder recipes.
If you’re making it homemade, store leftover oat flour in the fridge or freezer. It can go rancid if left out on the counter.
4. Kaolin Clay
Also called kaolinite, white clay, or china clay, kaolin is a soft mineral used in lots of cosmetics, beauty products, and even toothpastes! Depending on where you live, it may be possible to find commercially made products that already contain kaolin clay, especially at health food or natural stores.
Kaolin clay is great for absorbing oils and wetness. Lots of people use it to make their own DIY dusting powders, usually while mixing it with other substances like cornstarch and arrowroot. Since kaolin is a mineral, there’s less concern for yeast infections, but still, check the ingredient label for other irritating substances if you buy it in a premade powder and intend to use it for feminine hygiene.