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Talc in Makeup: its Purpose and Safety

Talcum powder has been used in makeup for years, but it has been the subject of some controversy recently as its effects on health are examined. There have been investigations into contaminated talc in products, and some ongoing debate about its potential links to cancer.

What is talc in makeup?

Talcum powder, or talc, is found in a variety of products from baby powder to many of your cosmetics. Blushes, eyeshadows, powder, foundations, and many other dried powder products contain it. Talc is a mineral that when ground becomes a silky soft texture, ideal for use in makeup products. Talc also works to absorb oil, and this helps to prevent the caking of products on the skin as well as makes products appear more translucent. Talc content varies across different makeup products and some powder-based products such as facial powders can contain up to 100% talc in their formulas.

Is Talc safe for use on the skin?

The FDA generally regards talc as safe for use in most people, unless a persistent allergy to the mineral is present. Talc is often used to soothe irritated skin, hence its use in baby powder and for rashes.

Talc is dangerous if applied to an open wound, which can lead to infections and general inflammation issues. Inhaling talc is also not recommended as this can cause poisoning and serious respiratory problems. The research into the link between talc in makeup and cancer is very limited, with mixed results. The claims about such a link largely arise from reports of batches of makeup being tainted with asbestos -- a known carcinogen. These kinds of makeup products are likely to be counterfeit duplicates of on-the-market products, usually bought from replica websites or other unsafe sources.

Talc in Makeup FAQ:

Does Talc cause cancer?

Talc in makeup is unlikely to cause harm unless you have a pre-existing allergy to it. The link between talc and cancer has had limited research with inconclusive results.

What is the purpose of talc in makeup?

Talc is what gives powder makeup products their silky-smooth easily applicable texture, and works to absorb oil and prevent caking on the skin.

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