Naturally occurring silicate mineral that is typically the main ingredient in face powders and is also used as an absorbent in skincare products. Extensive research indicates there’s no increased risk of lung cancer when using talc-based products or for those involved in the manufacture of talc products. [1] Although there’s epidemiological evidence that frequent use of pure talc over the female genital area may increase the risk of ovarian cancer. [2,3] However, a study reviewed in Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology stated that “Talc is not genotoxic, it is not carcinogenic when injected into ovaries of rats.… There’s no credible evidence of a cancer risk from inhalation of cosmetic talc by humans.” [4]

References Cited:

  1. Wild P. Lung cancer risk and talc not containing asbestiform fibres: a review of the epidemiological evidence. Occup Environ Med. 2006;63:4-9.
  2. Mills P, Riordan D, Cress R, Young H. Perineal talc exposure and epithelial ovarian cancer risk in the Central Valley of California.. Int J Cancer. 2004;112(3):458-64.
  3. Huncharek M, Geschwind J, Kupelnick B. Perineal application of cosmetic talc and risk of invasive epithelial ovarian cancer: a meta-analysis of 11;933 subjects from sixteen observational studies. Anticancer Res. 2003;23(2C):1955-60.
  4. Wehner A. Cosmetic Talc Should Not Be Listed as a Carcinogen; Comments on NTP’s Deliberations to List Talc as a Carcinogen. Regul Toxicol Pharm. 2002;36(1):40-50.

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Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books on skin care and makeup. She is known worldwide as the Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula's Choice. Paula's expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international television including:

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The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and helping you solve your skincare frustrations with research-supported expert advice—so you'll have the facts you need to take the best possible care of your skin.

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