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Talcum powder 

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How does talcum powder work?

The main ingredient of cosmetic talcum powder is talc, a natural, fine grained mineral that has a smooth soapy feel and comes in a range of colours including white, grey and green. As well as its use in cosmetics, talc is used in a whole range of other products, including lubricants and food additives. Only specially selected talc is used in cosmetic products.

To produce cosmetic talcum powder, selected natural talc from identified talc mines is purified and refined, giving it a softer, silky feel, and fragrance is usually added to give it a pleasant smell. Talc is made of millions of tiny, slippery mineral plates that glide easily over one another. It forms a soft barrier between the skin and clothing or nappies, reducing irritation caused by friction. Because cosmetic talc is a finely powdered mineral, talcum powder can also help to absorb excess moisture.

Is talcum power safe to use?

Although cosmetic talcum powder is very fine in texture and easily inhaled, the small amounts inhaled in normal use are safe and would not cause any long-term problems. However, parents should not let infants play with the talcum powder container since there is a risk of choking if the top comes off.

Some media reports have questioned whether talcum powder poses more serious health risks, suggesting it may be linked to cancer. In addition to the intensive testing that product manufacturers carry out, all independent scientific studies into this issue have concluded that there is no connection between cosmetic talc and any form of cancer.

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that cosmetic talcum powder is not safe to use on either adults or young children.

Where can I find out more?

If you want to find out about different types of ingredients in your products, visit what's in my cosmetic?