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Talcum Powder Ingredients

Saptakee Sengupta
Talc powder is used almost everyday by many men and women the world over. To know about the ingredients that go into making talcum powder, read the following story.
Talc is the main component of talcum powder. It is composed of hydrated magnesium silicate, and has the chemical formula H2Mg3(SiO3)4 or Mg3Si4O10(OH)2. This powder has a clear or dusty appearance, and it can be translucent or opaque. It renders the skin a smooth and glossy appearance. It also has other ingredients that make its composition perfect for application over skin.
Excluding its beautifying properties, talc also serves many other purposes. It is used in many industries like pharmaceutical, paper making, plastic, rubber, food, electric cables, etc. Greenish or grayish talc is known as soapstone or steatite.
This variant finds applications in construction of sinks, electrical switch boards, stoves, etc. Talc has a glazing sheen and due to this property, it is widely used in the ceramic industries. It is also used as a food additive by pharmaceutical companies.
Composition of talcum powder depends on the company manufacturing the product. Different brands have different compositions and qualities. Here is the list of chemical compounds that constitute talcum powder
  • Silicon dioxide
  • Magnesium oxide
  • Calcium oxide
  • Iron(III) oxide
  • Aluminum oxide
  • Zinc oxide
  • Benzoin
  • Calcium carbonate
The ingredients also include organic extracts and various essential oils. They are combined with chemicals having antibacterial and antifungal properties. It also contains vitamin E oil and almond oil.
Talcum powder for sensitive skin contain arrowroot, cornstarch, oat starch, or tapioca starch. Talcum powders with kaolin, rose extract, bentonite, myrrh, aloe vera, and slippery elm extracts give the skin a silky feel. Sandal wood extract and chamomile are soothing to skin, and prevent rashes and prickly heat.

Harmful Effects

Talcum powder can pose a considerable threat if accidentally inhaled in larger excess. Talc is the most deleterious ingredient, and its inhalation by babies might lead to chocking and asphyxiation. It is also a potent carcinogen and causes inflammation to lungs.
It may cause cancer if applied heavily on armpits and in the genital areas. In women, it can also cause ovarian cancer if there is a slow deposition of talc particles. Silicate, which is one of the key ingredients, is also harmful to the lungs.

Homade Recipe

If your skin is very sensitive to chemical products, you can prepare talcum powder at home. It is easy to make and gentle on skin.
  • At first, you need to decide the quantity of product that you are going to need. Then, mix equal proportions of tapioca starch, cornstarch, and arrowroot powder in a bowl. Mix them thoroughly.
  • For fragrance, add essential oils like lavender, rosemary, etc., in an absorbent cotton pad.
  • Place the perfumed cotton ball inside the container, and shake it well. Let it stay in the mixture for 24 hours.
  • Remove the cotton ball from the powder and once again mix it. The powder is now perfumed.
  • Store this powder in a bottle.
Talcum powder, if used in moderation, is safe for skin. Cosmetics with talc have safety assurance. In case you find the ingredients harsh on your skin, you can always switch to natural products and prepare the powder of your choice at home.