Of all the things people put on their underarms, baby/talc powder is one of the most common ones. There has been some controversy about it possibly causing lung cancer if you inhale the particles for a long time.
But what about your skin? Is it safe to use on other areas of the body other than your face?
Is It Safe To Use Baby/Talc Powder For Underarms
It is relatively safe to use baby powder or talc powder on your underarms.
The danger of talc powder mainly comes from inhaling the particles over a long time. Researchers believe that this puts people at risk for or may even cause them to develop lung cancer.
As long as you are not dusting the powder wildly enough to breathe it in, you should be fine. The particles are much too big to be absorbed into your body through the skin.
Related Article – 10 Quick & Easy DIY Natural Remedies For Smelly Armpits
Does baby powder help with smelly armpits?
Baby Powder or talc powder is very absorbent, which helps to minimize odor by absorbing excess sweat and bacteria.
However, keep in mind that this is not a permanent fix. Depending on how much powder you use, you will eventually start sweating and smelly again when the powder has absorbed all it can.
Other great ways to help with armpit odor are:
Benefits of Using Baby Powder For Underarms
1- Great for absorbing sweat and moisture
Baby powder or talc is mainly made of Magnesium, silicon, and oxygen which helps to keep the armpits dry since they work to effectively absorb sweat and moisture.
Related Article – Best Essential Oils for Armpits & How to Use Correctly
If you suffer from excessive sweating consider using:
2- Reduces Friction
The powder keeps the skin dry and less sticky so that when your skin rubs against each other there is no friction. Your skin smoothly glides instead.
Related Article – Why Armpits Smell Even With Deodorant & Bathing: How to fix
3- Soothes Rashes
Many people find that talc helps to soothe itchy rashes and irritation.
Related Articles –
Risks of Using Baby Powder on Armpits
1- Is recognized to cause Lung cancer by a few regulatory organizations
Since talc is mined from the earth, in its natural form, some talc ends up contaminated with asbestos. Asbestos is known to cause cancers in and around the lungs when inhaled, especially long-term.
Additionally, inhaling talc repeatedly might even damage the lungs.
And because of all of these health risks the European Union has prohibited talc from being used in cosmetic and health goods.
Related Article – DIY Apple Cider Vinegar for Cleaner & Lighter Armpits
2- Researchers are studying the possible increased risk of ovarian cancer
Talc can also potentially increase the risk of ovarian cancer if applied long-term to the genital area.
This would happen if the powder somehow gets into the vagina either on sanitary pads, diaphragms, or condoms. However, this is rare and the studies to prove a link between talc use and ovarian cancer have produced mixed results.
Hence, the WHO classified talc-based powder use on the genitals and buttocks as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Related Article – Witch Hazel for Underarms: Benefits, How to Use & Effects
How To Safely Use Baby/Talc Powder For Underarms
To avoid putting yourself at risk, here are a few tips on how to safely use baby/talc powder:
- Use a brand that is tested, recognized, and certified to be asbestos-free. This is the safest option.
- Avoid using talc on your face or around your mouth and nose to avoid inhaling it.
- When applying to your underarms, gently dust the powder on your skin. Avoid dusting it widely or hard enough for the particles to fly into your face.
- Turn your face away from the underarm you are dusting.
- If you have a family history of lung cancer or ovarian cancer, avoid using talc at all. This is the safest option. Use an alternative instead.
If you are unsure about your risk for cancers or you are uncomfortable with using talc on your own, I always recommend seeking the advice of a professional (doctor or skincare expert).
Related Article – Using Benzoyl Peroxide For Underarm & Body Odor: A Guide
Great Alternatives For Baby/Talc Powder For Underarms
Alternatives to talcum powder that are not known to cause cancer include:
- Cornstarch (the most commonly used alternative)
- Arrowroot powder
- Baking soda
- Tapioca starch
- Kaolin clay
- Rice starch
- Oat flour
You can look for products that contain these ingredients or they can be purchased in their original forms at local supermarkets, grocery stores, or pharmacies.
Related Article – Baking Soda & Lemon for Underarms: How to DIY & Benefits
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Does baby powder lighten armpits?
Baby powder does not lighten armpits.
Talc powder or baby powder has no known bleaching properties or exfoliating properties. It simply absorbs moisture.
Do you put baby powder on before or after deodorant?
If you are using baby powder or talc powder on your armpits, it is best to apply it before your deodorant.
Deodorant best works on completely dry skin. The powder will absorb any moisture still on the skin, boosting the performance of your deodorant.
Does talcum or baby powder darken armpits?
If left on the underarms too long or not washed off properly over time, it may cause buildup which can look like dirt in the creases and folds of the skin.
This will make the skin look darker. The best way to avoid this is to wash your armpits regularly and to exfoliate regularly too.
Related Article – How to Exfoliate Armpits – 6 Best DIY Easy Natural Scrubs
Can Talcum/Baby powder cause cancer on the armpits?
Talcum or baby powder is not known to cause any form of skin cancer.
The major concerns are lung cancer and ovarian cancer (you can read more about these above in the article).
Video: Is talc safe to Use