The common thought that pervades our mind is that, talcum powder is used by adults while baby powder is for babies. But that's not the final inference. There are various others differences between them. When we compare them in terms of ingredients, then there's a significant difference between the two.
Talcum powder is composed of a mineral containing hydrated magnesium silicate. This substance is commonly known as talc. It can be translucent and opaque, or clear and lustrous. This property renders our face a shinny and glossy appearance after application. Other than talc, zinc stearate, magnesium silicates are also active ingredients in talc.
Baby powders are comparatively mild. It is an astringent powder, and contains either talc or cornstarch. It's a rare for a baby powder to contain talc. It is gentle as it is made up of pure cornstarch, with some amount of zinc oxide or sodium bicarbonate. It contains soothing natural ingredients like, chamomile, marshmallow, and calendula extracts. It also contains kaolin, bentonite, rose extract, and myrrh and slippery elm extract. Arrowroot powder, tapioca starch, oat starch, aloe vera, rose clay, lavender oil, and vitamin E are also found in these powders which make them safe for the baby.
Pros and Cons
When we consider the pros and cons of talcum powder and baby powder, then it's obvious that baby powder is much safer to use. Baby powder is not only safe for babies, but also for adults. Talc, on the other hand, has many disadvantages and can pose health risks.
The chemical ingredients in talc, like silicates, are finely ground, that are easily carried by the air, and can reach our lungs.
Talc absorbs moisture, and so we use it to avoid perspiration. But this causes much damage to our skin.
Applying talc around genital areas, arm pits may cause cancer. In females, it is said to increase the risk of ovarian cancer, if the particles travel through the vagina to the ovary.
It should be noted that the link between talc and cancer is debated, and there are no conclusive results about whether talc increases cancer risk. Moreover, it is the asbestos in talc that poses the risk of cancer. The International Agency for Research on Cancer states that talc containing asbestos is a carcinogen to humans.
Inhalation of talc by infants causes asphyxiation and chocking. So, it's always suggested to keep talcum powder out of their reach, and not to apply it on their mild skin to prevent diaper rash and sweat.
Talc may also cause allergies and infection in lungs.
Lung problems may result from talc inhalation by babies.
Never use talc on your baby's skin. Use only good brand baby powder, containing natural ingredients. You can also use medicated powders formulated for you and your baby.