|Is Talc Safe Enough For Use In Natural Skin Care Products?
By Christine Harrell
As natural skin care products go mainstream, many people are becoming more educated about the ingredients they are putting on their skin. People are concerned over parabens, phthalates, synthetic colors and talc just to name a few. Even though talc has been controversial in the past, the cosmetic-grade talc used in many natural skin care products is 100% safe.
Skin is the largest organ in the body. As such, many product ingredients used on the skin like lotions, shampoos and cosmetics are absorbed directly into the bloodstream. Because the US Government does not mandate safety studies on cosmetics, these products often contain ingredients that are directly linked to cancer, reproductive disorders and other ailments.
Concern over talc safety originated due to its association with asbestos, which can occur in some talc deposits. Low-grade talc, used in the past by some companies, was contaminated by asbestos, which is a known carcinogen. Since 1972, however, government mandated testing and certification has ensured that all cosmetic-grade talc is asbestos free.
In 2007, University of Florida researchers even reported that talcum powder has a new added benefit: the ability to stunt cancer growth by cutting the flow of blood to metastatic lung tumors.
The study, published in the European Respiratory Journal, reveals that talc stimulates healthy cells to produce endostatin, a hormone considered vital to curing metastatic lung cancer. The UF researchers say talc is an exciting new therapeutic agent for a cancer largely considered incurable.
So where does talc come from?
Talc is a mineral, produced by the mining of talc rocks and then processed by crushing, drying and milling. Talc miners have also been shown to have no higher incidence of lung cancer than the general population where the mineral is asbestos free.
The resultant powder, which most of us are familiar with, is a slippery, finely powered mineral that absorbs moisture. It currently has many applications including makeup, baby power and antacids. The natural qualities of talc when used in natural skin care products, gives them stability, texture, skin adhesion, slip and water resistance.
Even though talc has been proven to be a safe ingredient for use in cosmetics and powders, other ingredients still have the potential to cause great harm. Choosing organic or natural skin care products is one way for those concerned with ingredient safety to know exactly what they are putting on their skin.
Many international organic or natural skin care products are held to higher standards than those manufactured in the United States. In 2004, for instance, the European Union banned the use of chemicals that are known or strongly suspected of causing cancer, mutation or birth defects. Choosing a natural skin care company based out side the United States, can help concerned consumers feel better about their skin care regime.