Since Johnson & Johnson was sued for being unable to warn customers about Cancer risk of using Talcum powder for personal hygiene, what are the alternatives? In India?

1 Answer 1


The evidence is inconclusive linking talcum powder to cancer. However, most doctors say there is no reason for you to use it, at all, ever, on any part of you.

If you want to absorb perspiration, use clothing. For example, choose soft absorbent cotton underwear over shiny synthetic fabrics. Choose larger underwear that contacts more skin over "thong" or "string" style skimpy underwear. Wear a soft cotton chemise or camisole under your blouse. Avoid pantyhose or other tight fitting clothing that might make you sweat. Wear a cotton nightdress instead of polyester pajamas. Choose soft cotton socks and go without shoes and socks as much as is practical (eg at home in private.) If your feet sweat dramatically, don't wear the same shoes two days in a row: give them a chance to dry thoroughly.

Some people use corn starch as a talcum replacement; this is an especially bad idea in your underwear or in a baby's diaper, since the corn starch can feed yeast that is naturally on the skin, and lead to a yeast infection. The concerns over breathing powder are also apparently an issue with corn starch, though I can't find a reference for it at the moment.

Bottom line: talcum powder doesn't keep you cleaner or prevent infections. You probably shouldn't use it, and you probably don't need a substitute. If you have a specific condition or issue, discuss with your doctor the specific place you want to use it (it's far safer on your feet than in your underwear, for example) and how often. If it's ok to use it, do take good care not to breathe any in while applying it.

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