Baby powder is a synthetic powder mainly used as a deodorant for preventing diaper rashes and for other cosmetic uses. Diaper rash is a harmless rash that’s usually noticed on a baby’s scalp and on his bottom. It causes painful, waxy, red and scaly patches that without treatment could spread to other parts of your baby’s body. It is caused by yeast, bacterial infection or leaving a wet, dirty diaper for too long without cleaning or changing it. Baby powder helps baby’s skin feel fresh, smooth, dry and clean. It has anti-allergy agents and swiftly absorbs excess moisture.
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Composition of baby powder
The major constituents of baby powder are talc (commonly called talcum powder) or cornstarch. Talc is a mineral formed of hydrated magnesium silicate which is considered the softest mineral as such you can easily scratch it by a fingernail.
On the other hand, cornstarch or cornflour is the starch derived from maize grains. Cornstarch is widely used as a food ingredient for making sugars and for thickening sauces or soups.
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Baby powder and yeast infection
Talcum powder helps treat a yeast infection. It works by drying out the area of the body infected, hence stopping the spread of the yeast to other areas. When used in small quantities, it is safe, but do not use much of it as the excessive use of talc has been linked to cancer. Be careful to not use cornstarch or any powder that contains cornstarch as the infection could increase when cornstarch used. In cases of severe conditions, do consult your health provider before applying any powder.
Other benefits of baby powder
Baby powder has some amazing uses and here are some:
- Keeping your feet and shoes clean
Lightly spread some baby powder inside your shoes and rub it softly into your feet every morning before embarking to work or any daily activity. This simple tip works magnificently as the powder absorbs any sweat during the day – stopping any potential slippery, bad smell and keeping your feet fresh.
- Refresh your sheets
What is worse than sweating during sleeping!! Most people sweat while they are sleeping and usually in summer nights. And with the consistent need to wash your sheets, this could cost you. However, you could simultaneously keep costs down and clean the sheets by using baby powder. Dust some powder between your bed sheets before and after going to bed. The powder works by absorbing up any moisture and will refresh your sheets.
- Use powder today to keep ants away
The presence if ants in in your home could represent a major problem. To stop ants from spreading, sprinkle baby powder into the area where they exist. Ants cannot withstand the scent of baby powder and will move away from it. Using baby powder as an ants-repellent is an excellent alternative to using harmful and mostly expensive other products especially when around your children.
- Preventing irritation before and after daily treatments
Dust the breast area and inside your skin folds with cornstarch-based baby powder only and Do Not use talc-based powders. The cornstarch will absorb moisture, keep you smelling fresh and reduce friction. Apply the powder with a clean makeup brush and gently rub the area.
The side-effects of baby powder
Talcum dusting powder is widely used to prevent diaper rashes and mitigating the effects of irritation in babies and infants. However, this practice is very dangerous as the inhalation of significant quantities of powder could potentially cause acute or chronic lung irritation, known as talcosis.
Talc powder when inhaled can dry out mucous membranes of an infant lings, seriously affecting the baby’s ability to breathe. Furthermore, it could cause serious lung damage. Studies have revealed that talc can also lead to the incidence of pneumonia, respiratory failure and obstruction of the airways.
However, this risk could be minimally reduced by using cornstarch (also not ideal) powder as it is a bit safe and reliable alternative. Cornstarch’s particles are larger than talc’s and are not easily inhaled. In both cases, be careful to not use either of these powders around children with asthma.
Link between using baby powder and ovary cancer
The first warning about the dangerous effects of talc has surged in 1971 report. The warning was based on the identification of talc particles in ovarian cancers, in a research done by by Dr. G.Y. Hildick-Smith who was Johnson & Johnson’s medical director. Subsequent studies published in the International journal of cancer and Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey journal have confirmed the link between ovarian cancer and talc powder. And according to a recent study reported in 2008, conducted by scientists from Harvard Medical School, more convincing data about that link was revealed. As after analyzing 3,000 cases of women who were using talcum powder once per day in the body genital section, these women had a 40 % increased chance of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, in women who used talcum powder once per week, the risk plummeted to 38 percent.
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Lastly, as protection is better than cure and based on the diversified reports that warn us about the dangers of talc powers, we should reduce our use of talc and try to find more appropriate and safe alternatives.