There’s a lot of things to worry about when you become a new parent, but you would think something like baby powder shouldn’t be a concern, right? Sorry, but even though it seems like moms and dads have been using the product since the dawn of time and it’s a staple on most baby aisles, baby powder is probably something you don’t want anywhere near your kid.
But the good news is, you don’t really even need baby powder. In fact, the American Academy of Pediatrics and most pediatricians recommend not using baby powder.
- Baby Diaper Rash: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments
- What Are The Symptoms Of Diaper Rash?
- What Causes Diaper Rash?
- How To Treat Diaper Rash: 12 Easy Tips
- 1. Change Your Baby’s Diaper Often
- 2. Wash Cloth Diapers Thoroughly
- 3. Cleanse Your Baby’s Diaper Area Thoroughly
- 4. Use Gentle Baby Wipes
- 5. Avoid Baby Powder And Talcum Powder
- 6. Let Your Baby Go Diaper-Free
- 7. Bathe Your Baby Once (At Most) Per Day
- 8. Use Gentle Cleansers
- 9. Pat Your Baby’s Skin Dry
- 10. Moisturize Your Baby’s Skin With Lotions Specially Formulated For Diaper Rash
- 11. Apply Diaper Cream
- 12. Keep Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream On Hand
- Johnson & Johnson is being investigated by the SEC over fears its baby powder may cause cancer — here’s how worried you should be
- Questions remain about Johnson & Johnson’s product
- The messy link between talc and asbestos
- Caldesene (Topical)
- Commonly used brand name(s)
- Uses for Caldesene
- Before using Caldesene
- Proper use of undecylenic acid
- Precautions while using Caldesene
- Caldesene side effects
- Further information
- More about undecylenic acid topical
- The Causes of Jock Itch
- The Signs and Symptoms of Jock Itch
- How to Treat Jock Itch
- How to Prevent Jock Itch
Dangers of baby powder
It all comes down to the talc that’s used in most traditional powders.
First off, there’s the cancer factor. The American Cancer Society reports a high cancer risk in those who have long-term exposure to natural talc fibers at work. Also, a 2016 study found talc powder was associated with ovarian cancer, and women who used powder on their genitals had more than a 40 percent increased risk of cancer, according to The Huffington Post.
In March 2016, Bloomberg Businessweek reported that Johnson & Johnson was being sued by over 1,000 women for covering up the cancer risk associated with their talcum powder in particular. Not exactly something you want to be lathering your baby up with.
Talc can also cause breathing issues and lung damage, according to pediatrician Jennifer Lowry of Baby Center. Avoid talc-based powders altogether as the small particles can easily be inhaled. Cornstarch powder, with its larger particles, is not as easily inhaled.
However, cornstarch isn’t without its problems, either. Cornstarch can worsen a yeast infection of the skin, creating a really bad diaper rash that will have to be treated with anti-fungal cream. And even though it’s not inhaled as easily as talc, it can still cause respiratory problems for babies — especially high risk babies, like premies, babies with congenital heart disease, and babies who’ve had RSV or frequent respiratory illnesses, says Lowry.
More: 12 Home Safety Hazards to Look Out for If You Have a Toddler
Battling diaper rash
So what do you do about diaper rash if baby powder is out?
It helps to change your baby’s diaper often and reduce irritation by using fragrance-free wipes. As a preventive strategy, clean your baby thoroughly and then pat- or air-dry their bottom before applying a layer of diaper ointment or cream.
Many moms swear by zinc oxide creams such as Desitin to treat diaper rash, while others use petroleum ointment (like A+D Original Ointment) to prevent rashes. Triple Paste, Acid Mantle, Aquaphor and Boudreaux’s Butt Paste are also popular options. Clotrimazole anti-fungal cream can be used for diaper rashes caused by yeast infections. When your baby does (inevitably) get a rash, try to allow them to go without a diaper when you can. This will allow the rash to dry out and reduce chafing from the diaper rubbing against her irritated skin.
Many babies get rashes between 8 and 12 months of age, when their diet changes. If your baby is constantly battling diaper rash, minimize consumption of acidic foods like citrus fruit and tomato products, says askdrsears.com. Also consider changing your brand of diapers, diaper liners and/or wipes. Some disposable diapers are more absorbent and fit better than others.
Never use any powder on your baby if the infant’s skin is raw or oozing. Use a diaper ointment or cream and consult your doctor if it hasn’t cleared up in a few days.
Beyond the bum
Some moms choose cornstarch or medicated cornstarch-based powders for parts of the body other than the diaper area. This can be particularly useful in humid climates. Use a light amount of powder in armpits, neck creases, leg folds and other areas, but don’t allow it to build up. Clean any powder in the folds each and every time you change your baby’s diaper.
How to use baby powder
If you do decide to use powder, remember to select the safer cornstarch-based powder — not talc. To apply, step away from your baby and shake the powder into your hand, says Andrew Weil, M.D. of drweil.com. Don’t shake it directly on the baby or nearby. Then apply gently to avoid producing a cloud of powder. Store the powder out of your baby’s reach.
More: Mom Wishes She Had Never Breastfed, and We Can Relate
Before you go, check out our slideshow below:
Image: Imagesmore/Getty Images
Originally published September 2011. Updated March 2017.
Baby powder is a synthetic powder mainly used as a deodorant for preventing diaper rashes and for other cosmetic uses. Diaper rash is a harmless rash that’s usually noticed on a baby’s scalp and on his bottom. It causes painful, waxy, red and scaly patches that without treatment could spread to other parts of your baby’s body. It is caused by yeast, bacterial infection or leaving a wet, dirty diaper for too long without cleaning or changing it. Baby powder helps baby’s skin feel fresh, smooth, dry and clean. It has anti-allergy agents and swiftly absorbs excess moisture.
Before I continue with this article, you should know I’ve recently compiled a list of science-backed ways to get rid of candida yeast infections. You can if you haven’t yet.
Composition of baby powder
The major constituents of baby powder are talc (commonly called talcum powder) or cornstarch. Talc is a mineral formed of hydrated magnesium silicate which is considered the softest mineral as such you can easily scratch it by a fingernail.
On the other hand, cornstarch or cornflour is the starch derived from maize grains. Cornstarch is widely used as a food ingredient for making sugars and for thickening sauces or soups.
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Baby powder and yeast infection
Talcum powder helps treat a yeast infection. It works by drying out the area of the body infected, hence stopping the spread of the yeast to other areas. When used in small quantities, it is safe, but do not use much of it as the excessive use of talc has been linked to cancer. Be careful to not use cornstarch or any powder that contains cornstarch as the infection could increase when cornstarch used. In cases of severe conditions, do consult your health provider before applying any powder.
Other benefits of baby powder
Baby powder has some amazing uses and here are some:
- Keeping your feet and shoes clean
Lightly spread some baby powder inside your shoes and rub it softly into your feet every morning before embarking to work or any daily activity. This simple tip works magnificently as the powder absorbs any sweat during the day – stopping any potential slippery, bad smell and keeping your feet fresh.
- Refresh your sheets
What is worse than sweating during sleeping!! Most people sweat while they are sleeping and usually in summer nights. And with the consistent need to wash your sheets, this could cost you. However, you could simultaneously keep costs down and clean the sheets by using baby powder. Dust some powder between your bed sheets before and after going to bed. The powder works by absorbing up any moisture and will refresh your sheets.
- Use powder today to keep ants away
The presence if ants in in your home could represent a major problem. To stop ants from spreading, sprinkle baby powder into the area where they exist. Ants cannot withstand the scent of baby powder and will move away from it. Using baby powder as an ants-repellent is an excellent alternative to using harmful and mostly expensive other products especially when around your children.
- Preventing irritation before and after daily treatments
Dust the breast area and inside your skin folds with cornstarch-based baby powder only and Do Not use talc-based powders. The cornstarch will absorb moisture, keep you smelling fresh and reduce friction. Apply the powder with a clean makeup brush and gently rub the area.
The side-effects of baby powder
Talcum dusting powder is widely used to prevent diaper rashes and mitigating the effects of irritation in babies and infants. However, this practice is very dangerous as the inhalation of significant quantities of powder could potentially cause acute or chronic lung irritation, known as talcosis.
Talc powder when inhaled can dry out mucous membranes of an infant lings, seriously affecting the baby’s ability to breathe. Furthermore, it could cause serious lung damage. Studies have revealed that talc can also lead to the incidence of pneumonia, respiratory failure and obstruction of the airways.
However, this risk could be minimally reduced by using cornstarch (also not ideal) powder as it is a bit safe and reliable alternative. Cornstarch’s particles are larger than talc’s and are not easily inhaled. In both cases, be careful to not use either of these powders around children with asthma.
Link between using baby powder and ovary cancer
The first warning about the dangerous effects of talc has surged in 1971 report. The warning was based on the identification of talc particles in ovarian cancers, in a research done by by Dr. G.Y. Hildick-Smith who was Johnson & Johnson’s medical director. Subsequent studies published in the International journal of cancer and Obstetrical & Gynecological Survey journal have confirmed the link between ovarian cancer and talc powder. And according to a recent study reported in 2008, conducted by scientists from Harvard Medical School, more convincing data about that link was revealed. As after analyzing 3,000 cases of women who were using talcum powder once per day in the body genital section, these women had a 40 % increased chance of ovarian cancer. Furthermore, in women who used talcum powder once per week, the risk plummeted to 38 percent.
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- Frequently Asked Children’s Yeast Infection Questions
- Is Your Discharge Normal?
Lastly, as protection is better than cure and based on the diversified reports that warn us about the dangers of talc powers, we should reduce our use of talc and try to find more appropriate and safe alternatives.
Baby Diaper Rash: Signs, Symptoms, Causes, And Treatments
Babies are known for having soft, delicate skin. We even have a figure of speech for it! But what happens when the skin on your baby’s bottom isn’t “as smooth as a baby’s bottom”? Diaper rash is probably the culprit.
Diaper rash is one of the most common skin conditions that babies experience. The American Academy of Pediatricians estimates that as many as 25 percent of infants and toddlers have diaper rash at any given time.
But there’s no reason to worry! Diaper rash is easily treatable and normally goes away in a matter of days if cared for properly.
In this post, the baby experts at Mustela detail everything you need to know about diaper rash. We’ll start by explaining the symptoms of diaper rash and telling you which signs necessitate a trip to the doctor’s office. Then we’ll go over the causes of diaper rash.
Finally, we’ll give you 12 easy tips for treating your baby’s diaper rash so that you can keep your little one’s bottom as soft and smooth as it should be!
What Are The Symptoms Of Diaper Rash?
The official medical name for diaper rash is “irritant diaper dermatitis.” This term refers to any type of rash that forms on or around your child’s diaper area. Most often, this means the skin around your baby’s diaper area will appear red and irritated.
Sometimes, the rash may look puffy and feel warm to the touch. Small bumps might appear on your baby’s bottom and thighs. All of these symptoms are perfectly normal.
However, there are a few signs that indicate a more serious type of diaper rash. The following symptoms mean it’s time to go see your pediatrician:
- Blisters or sores
- Pus forming on your baby’s skin
- A yellowish tint to the rash
- Cracked skin or bleeding
Keep an eye out for these red flags. If any of the symptoms above begin to appear on your baby’s tushy, legs, or waistline, take your little one to the doctor’s office as soon as you can.
What can you expect if you do end up going to the pediatrician for diaper rash? Your baby’s doctor may be able to make some suggestions about your diapering routine, and if necessary, they may prescribe an ointment or medicine.
Based on the type of rash your baby has, the pediatrician will give you an antifungal, antibiotic, or steroid cream to use for several days, or even an oral antibiotic. You should only use these creams and medications if your pediatrician says your baby needs them.
What Causes Diaper Rash?
There are a number of factors that can cause diaper rash. Here are the most common ones.
Dirty diapers are a leading cause of diaper rash. After a diaper is soiled, the urine and feces rub against your baby’s skin. This causes irritation and can lead to bacterial infections, both of which result in diaper rash.
While skin needs moisture to be healthy, too much moisture can cause problems because bacteria flourish in warm, moist environments.
Diapers create a seal around your baby’s waist and thighs to prevent leakage, but this also traps moisture in. Make sure your baby’s diaper area is completely dry before putting a clean diaper on.
Diapers are meant to fit snugly on your little one’s body. This helps them stay on and prevents leaking when the diaper is dirtied. However, a diaper that is too tight can chafe your baby’s skin and cause diaper rash. If your little one’s diapers are becoming too tight, try switching to a bigger size.
Changes In Your Baby’s Diet
If you’ve recently switched from breast milk to formula or transitioned to solid foods, your baby’s stool may change. In some cases, this can lead to diaper rash.
All babies have delicate skin, but some have skin that is extra sensitive. For example, your baby may have very sensitive or eczema-prone skin. And there’s nothing wrong with that! It just means that your little one is more susceptible to conditions like diaper rash.
Bacteria thrive in warm, moist environments like the one a diaper provides, so your baby’s diaper rash may be caused by a bacterial infection. This is especially true if your baby has slept (or spent too much time) in a dirty diaper.
In some cases, a yeast infection might be the reason behind your baby’s diaper rash. Candida, a strain of yeast that lives on the skin’s surface, may have found a foothold in the creases and folds of your baby’s diaper area, resulting in a rash.
How To Treat Diaper Rash: 12 Easy Tips
Regardless of how the diaper rash got started, your task now is to get rid of it! Here are the 12 best ways to treat your baby’s diaper rash and keep your little one’s tiny bottom healthy and smooth.
1. Change Your Baby’s Diaper Often
It may seem like your baby’s diaper is always wet. Frequently changing diapers might be a bit of a chore, but don’t let that stop you from quickly removing a soiled diaper.
If your baby’s skin is in contact with urine or stool for an extended period of time, it will become irritated and diaper rash might form. Always change dirty diapers immediately!
That said, being proactive in taking care of a diaper rash is about more than just changing a dirty diaper. It also has to do with the diaper itself.
When it comes to the diaper you put on your baby’s behind, you’ll need to figure out which diapers are best for you and your baby. Between various types of disposable diapers and cloth diapers, there are several options on the market. Picking one can be an overwhelming task!
Unfortunately, there is no one specific diaper that’s best for every baby, and you may need to try several before finding one that agrees with your baby. If you think the diapers you’re using are irritating your baby’s skin and contributing to diaper rash, try a different one.
And, of course, if your baby has extra sensitive skin, choose diapers that are made without added fragrances or dyes.
2. Wash Cloth Diapers Thoroughly
If you’re a cloth-diaper parent and you’re dealing with diaper rash, the steps for treating it are basically the same as for disposable diaper users. The one extra thing you’ll need to do is make sure that your cloth diapers are cleaned properly so you’re not putting baby back into an irritating or dirty diaper.
How can you clean cloth diapers? Ultimately, the best method and schedule for washing cloth diapers will depend on what works for you and your household. However, there are a few basic tips that you should take into account in order to clean, disinfect, and get rid of any leftover soap residue.
This is especially important when you’re head-to-head with diaper rash.
First, dump feces into the toilet or spray the diaper down. Some people prefer to use a diaper liner that can go straight into the trash or be flushed down the toilet. That’s fine, too.
When it’s time to wash a load of dirty diapers, start with a cold water rinse cycle or pre-soak the diapers in cold water. Then wash with a hot water cycle using baby-friendly detergent. Finally, give the diapers an extra rinse cycle to get rid of any detergent that is still in the fabric, which can irritate baby’s sensitive skin.
Speaking of detergent and the other products you use in your diaper laundry, keep in mind that the most “baby-friendly detergent” may be different for every baby.
If you think the detergent you’re using might be contributing to diaper irritation, try switching to another. Also, stay away from fabric softener and dryer sheets. These often contain extra chemicals and fragrances that can irritate baby’s skin.
If you want to disinfect your cloth diapers, look into bleaching them. This isn’t something you’ll want to do every time you wash but can be helpful every now to kill the deep-down germs.
3. Cleanse Your Baby’s Diaper Area Thoroughly
Make sure to thoroughly cleanse your baby’s diaper area after every dirty diaper. You certainly don’t need to give your little one a bath each time, but it’s a good idea to use a gentle cleanser like Mustela’s No Rinse Cleansing Water.
4. Use Gentle Baby Wipes
Not all baby wipes are created equally. Some baby wipes may contain alcohol or other strong chemicals that can hurt your baby’s soft, delicate skin. And when you’re dealing with diaper rash, you want to choose the gentlest and least irritating products.
Mustela’s wipes are carefully designed to gently cleanse your baby’s diaper area without causing any irritation or dryness. For extra sensitive or eczema-prone skin, we recommend fragrance-free wipes like our Soothing Cleansing Wipes, Stelatopia Cleansing Wipes, and Cleansing Wipes With Olive Oil.
5. Avoid Baby Powder And Talcum Powder
Keeping baby’s diaper area dry is one of the best ways to avoid and clear up diaper rash. Baby powder and talcum powder do a great job of keeping your baby’s diaper area dry, but they have hidden risks.
Your child may inhale some of the powder while you’re putting it on, which can lead to breathing problems and may even cause lung damage. Don’t use any kind of powder to treat your baby’s diaper rash.
Instead of using baby powder, keep your baby’s bum dry by changing them frequently and letting them go without a diaper for part of the day.
6. Let Your Baby Go Diaper-Free
One of the easiest ways to treat your baby’s diaper rash is to simply let your little one spend some time in their birthday suit. Diapers trap moisture in and can cause your child’s skin to become clammy and tender, which makes it vulnerable to rashes.
Letting your baby sit for 10-15 minutes without a diaper on will allow their skin to dry and air out. It’s often easiest to do this when changing diapers.
Giving your baby diaper-free time is a great idea until you end up with pee on the couch or poo on the floor. Here are a couple of ideas to keep your house dry and clean while letting baby go diaper-free.
First of all, don’t have diaper-free time on your bed, couch, or carpet. Keep your little one on the floor with a towel or waterproof mat or mattress pad underneath them. Also, if you have a little boy, lay a clean cloth over his private parts to keep him from peeing on everything in sight.
Keeping your child contained to a mat or towel might sound impossible if your baby is already on the move. Giving them a toy might encourage them to stay on the mat.
Alternately, if the weather is right, you can take your little one outside and lay a towel on the grass (just make sure you protect your baby from the sun if necessary!).
7. Bathe Your Baby Once (At Most) Per Day
While giving your little one a regular bath is important, bathing them too frequently can dry out their skin and cause irritation. Limit baths to no more than once per day.
It’s often best to bathe your baby once every other day, and use a gentle No-Rinse Cleansing Water to clean your little one on the days without baths. Also, use warm water, rather than hot water, to bathe your little one.
In addition to the frequency of bathtime, it’s important to think about what you put in your baby’s bathwater. Bubble baths can be great fun, and with Mustela’s Multi-Sensory Bubble Bath, they can be good for your baby’s skin, too!
However, when you’re trying to get rid of diaper rash, be sure to stay away from any harsh soaps in baby’s bath. Instead, make bath time work in your favor by giving your baby an oatmeal or baking soda bath. Either one will help soothe and calm baby’s irritated skin.
Simply add a little baking soda or powdered oats to the bathwater and let your baby soak in the tub as usual.
8. Use Gentle Cleansers
Most types of soap are much too harsh for a baby’s delicate skin — even the ones that call themselves baby soaps! Instead of these irritating soaps, use gentle cleansers to wash your child’s skin.
Mustela’s Gentle Cleansing Gel or Soothing Cleansing Gel will clean your baby’s skin without irritating it or removing moisture.
9. Pat Your Baby’s Skin Dry
After bath time, gently pat your little one’s skin dry. Don’t rub your baby’s skin, as this can cause irritation and inflame diaper rash. Always use a soft towel to dry your baby off.
10. Moisturize Your Baby’s Skin With Lotions Specially Formulated For Diaper Rash
While excessive moisture can lead to diaper rash, dry skin may also lead to rashes! The solution is to keep your baby’s skin appropriately moisturized while ensuring that your little one’s diaper area is totally dry before putting a new diaper on.
Mustela’s Liniment is a great addition to your diaper-change routine. It works wonders for your little one’s delicate, dry skin. It effectively treats diaper rash because it’s specially formulated to simultaneously cleanse and moisturize your baby’s sensitive diaper area.
This is one product you will always want to have in your diaper bag!
11. Apply Diaper Cream
A little bit of diaper cream can go a long way in treating diaper rash. Remember that when applying diaper cream, a thin, white layer of the cream should remain on your little one’s skin.
The zinc oxide in most diaper rash creams acts as a natural barrier, thus protecting your baby’s skin from chafing and contact with urine or stool. Use Mustela’s clinically proven Diaper Rash Cream 1 2 3 for the best results.
12. Keep Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream On Hand
If you already have Cicastela Moisture Recovery Cream in your first aid kit or diaper bag, you may be using it to treat scratches, scrapes, insect bites, and red patches. But did you know you can also use this soothing cream for redness and irritation in the diaper area?
Cicastela cream provides the skin with a light, breathable protective barrier and works to relieve discomfort and promote skin repair. Apply it twice per day to a clean, dry bottom to keep your baby comfortable while they’re recovering from diaper rash.
Diaper rash might seem concerning at first, but it’s a common condition and is easily treated with a little extra love and a variety of Mustela products. Follow the 12 simple steps we’ve shared above and your baby’s skin will be soft and smooth again in no time!
Johnson & Johnson Baby Powder. Photo: amazon.com
In February, a jury determined that Johnson & Johnson should pay more than $70 million to the family of a woman who was diagnosed with advanced ovarian cancer, in 2013, at age 59. In depositions, Jacqueline Fox said she sprinkled J&J’s baby powder in her underwear every day since she was a teenager to stay “fresh and clean”; she passed away in October. This wasn’t the first time the company was sued over talcum powder, and it won’t be the last, as many women grew up using the product at the recommendation of their mothers and grandmothers.
Bloomberg reports that Johnson & Johnson is facing more than 1,000 lawsuits from women claiming the company knew that the talc in its Baby Powder and Shower to Shower products was linked to ovarian cancer when used in the genital area, but didn’t warn customers. The company marketed both products for feminine hygiene, and in the ‘80s it told The New York Times Magazine that 70 percent of baby-powder users were adults. A 1988 ad for Shower to Shower said “just a sprinkle a day keeps odor away.” Others reminded women: “Your body perspires in more places than just under your arms.”
J&J’s Baby Powder labels do advise that it’s meant for external use only, but some researchers argue that baby powder applied topically could travel up the vagina and make its way through the uterus, finally landing in the ovaries. The studies on perineal talcum-powder use and ovarian cancer risk have mixed results, but experts who testified on behalf of Fox’s family believe J&J at least had a duty to warn customers of the possible association.
The company started selling cornstarch-based baby powder alongside its talc formula in the ‘70s, and the American Cancer Society has said, since 1999, that cornstarch products are a good alternative for women who are concerned about the health risks of talc.
But whether or not talc causes cancer, it’s worth looking at the reason why some women use these products on their undercarriages in the first place: They’ve gotten subtle (or not-so-subtle) hints throughout their lives that their vaginas are smelly and even repulsive and are in need of fragrance, douches, and other feminine hygiene products, most of which can ironically cause irritation. Women born after the ‘50s and ‘60s have witnessed a different conversation, and thanks to the internet, they can easily find out that they don’t need soap, powder, or douches and that vaginas are self-cleaning, like that feature you never use on your oven. Even men’s sites are talking about this stuff.
Yes, we still have people trying to make vaginas smell like peaches but, overall, we live in an age of greater genital self-acceptance. If sprinkling your lady garden with cornstarch-based powder genuinely makes you feel fresh and good, then by all means continue dusting away. But if there’s even a sliver of latent vaginal oppression guiding your routine, why not try skipping it?
MOST women hate the idea of sweating, though it is a normal part of our bodily functions. To reduce sweat, they may put baby powder on the troubled areas, be it their armpits, under their breasts, or even on their privates.
But according to obstetrician-gynaecologist Dr Charles Rockhead, all powders can affect the pH level of the vagina, moving it from an acidic to an alkaline state, and making women prone to infections such as yeast and bacterial vaginosis.
“Good bacteria — lactobacillus — live in the vagina and keep it healthy by maintaining an acidic environment. However, anything you do to reduce the lactobacillus in the vagina can result in a vaginal infection — things like antibiotic usage, which reduces bacteria, and scented tampons which can have chemicals that sometimes affect the vagina or the flora in the vagina. Also, scented panty shields, washing the vagina with soap, and using certain condoms or spermicidal jellies are things that will cause an infection,” Dr Rockhead said.
He added: “There are added complications with talcum, a chemical used in some powders, which can lead to ovarian cancer. So women must be mindful of whatever powders they put down there. Apart from infections, anything with talc has the potential to cause ovarian cancer.”
Dr Rockhead’s claims are supported by lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, the first in 2013, which saw Deane Berg, a woman in her 50s who was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2006, winning the suit against the major talcum powder manufacturer.
She reported more than 30 years of talcum powder use, including the Johnson & Johnson product Shower-to-Shower body powder, as part of her personal hygiene routine. A South Dakota, US jury found that Johnson & Johnson failed to warn consumers of the link between the use of their talc powders for feminine hygiene and an increased risk of ovarian cancer.
Dr Rockhead pointed out that research shows that the link between ovarian cancer and talcum powder was originally discovered in 1971 in a study that revealed talc particles in the ovarian tissue of cancer patients.
He explained that this was the first instance in which medical professionals realised women were at risk when using the powder on their genitals, sanitary pads, diaphragms, and in condoms, as the particles of talc easily made their way into the vagina and were able to travel deeper into the reproductive organs.
He said one sample study demonstrated the ability of carbon particles to travel through the vagina and into the Fallopian tubes in as little as 30 minutes, leading researchers to believe the same was possible with talc particles.
“The vagina cleans itself, so anything else you do to it is likely to create problems,” he said.
Johnson & Johnson is being investigated by the SEC over fears its baby powder may cause cancer — here’s how worried you should be
- Johnson & Johnson is being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission after questions surfaced about the safety of the company’s baby powder.
- The investigation and subpoenas come on the heels of a Reuters report that suggested the company knew for years that its baby powder contained small amounts of asbestos, which is a human carcinogen.
- The reason there could be asbestos in baby powder is that one of the primary ingredients is talc: a mineral that’s often found and mined near asbestos.
- Unfortunately, most of the scientific studies to date on baby powder have relied on flawed methods. The evidence we do have doesn’t suggest it directly increases cancer risk in a serious way.
- Johnson & Johnson hasn’t released any information to the public about how much asbestos is or was in their product.
Let’s be clear: If you know that your baby powder is pure, there’s nothing dangerous about slapping some on a newborn or sprinkling a little bit in some smelly shoes.
But for Johnson & Johnson, which has come under fire recently due to concerns about contamination in its baby powders, billions of dollars are now riding on a few tricky questions. The first is: did the company know that its powder may have contained some asbestos when they sold it? And second, if there was asbestos in the baby powder, how much was there, and was it enough to cause harm?
The questions stem from the use of talcum powder in baby powder; talc can sometimes be contaminated with asbestos — a known cancer-causer — because the two naturally occurring Earth minerals are often mined in close proximity.
Johnson & Johnson disclosed on Wednesday that federal regulators were raising questions about the company’s baby powders in a filing with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
That federal investigation comes on the heels of a series of lawsuits about baby powder, some decades in the making. The most recent suit was decided in July: A jury in Missouri ordered Johnson & Johnson to pay up $4.7 billion to 22 women who claimed the company’s baby powder caused their cases of ovarian cancer.
The company maintains that’s not the case.
“Johnson & Johnson remains confident that its products do not contain asbestos and do not cause ovarian cancer,” the company said in a statement after that verdict was announced.
Darlene Coker (pictured with her husband) sued Johnson & Johnson, arguing her mesothelioma was caused by asbestos in the company’s baby powder. Cady Evans/Handout via REUTERS
Questions remain about Johnson & Johnson’s product
There are clues that suggest Johnson & Johnson baby powder may have had some asbestos in it, and that people inside the company knew about it. In December 2018, a Reuters investigation revealed internal documents from the company that showed that from at least 1971 to the early 2000s, “the company’s raw talc and finished powders sometimes tested positive for small amounts of asbestos.”
After that Reuters report, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky said again that there was no asbestos in the company’s products.
“We know that our talc is safe,” Gorsky said in a video message on the company’s website. He added that the company uses the “purest, safest, pharmaceutical-grade talc on Earth,” and that the baby powder “does not cause cancer or asbestos-related disease.”
Read More: 32 of the most scientifically sound things you can do right now to reduce your risk of developing cancer
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) conducted a study from 2009 to 2010 that checked 34 different talc cosmetic products, including baby powders, and found no asbestos fibers. Another study of earlier powders in the 1960s and 70s also found no evidence of asbestos. But Johnson & Johnson has not yet revealed any internal information about asbestos tests or concentrations, and without that specific data, it’s hard to know exactly what was or is in its baby powder.
Asbestos miners have been diagnosed with lung cancer for centuries, but the studies investigating whether talc miners get lung cancer are mixed.
“To prevent contamination of talc with asbestos, it is essential to select talc mining sites carefully and take steps to purify the ore sufficiently,” the FDA says on its website.
Some studies have suggested there’s a link between using talc and getting cancer — women who use baby powder report higher instances of ovarian cancer than others. But even the researchers behind those studies are skeptical about their results, since most of that research was conducted by surveying women about their powder use years later.
Epidemiologist Joellen Schildkraut, a professor of public health at the University of Virginia, has said that studies to date on talc powder and cancer — including some of her own — don’t meet scientific criteria for causality. Part of the problem, Schildkraut said, is that media coverage and publicity that call into question the safety of baby powder have skewed people’s perceptions and memories. That can influence how they report their use of the powders.
“We did see a relationship,” between powder use and cancer, she told Business Insider. “But we also detected some bias in the way our data was collected.”
In other words, after reports about baby powder contamination gained attention, more people in the studies started reporting they’d used talc powder in the past.
“That’s a big flag,” Schildkraut said. “I don’t think you can be conclusive. I don’t think the data are conclusive.”
Cancer epidemiologist Paul Pharoah is a leading expert on baby powder risks and a professor at the University of Cambridge. He agrees with Schildkraut.
“It’s almost impossible for science to prove a negative,” he told Business Insider. “That’s one of the issues around conspiracy theories in science. You can’t prove to the conspiracy theorist the fact that something doesn’t exist.”
Pharoah acknowledged, however, that he has a potential conflict of interest here: He was once a paid consultant for one of Johnson & Johnson’s law firms. But he maintains that his “opinion pre-dates any payment.”
Pharoah said it doesn’t make sense that women who use baby powder regularly would have higher ovarian cancer rates but not higher rates of any other cancers in that area of the body. There’s no suggestion of increased frequency of cervical, vaginal, or endometrial cancer in women who use talc, he added.
“If it were really causing cancer, you would’ve thought that would’ve been a problem, but it isn’t,” Pharoah said, adding, “if you dust talcum powder on your genitals, it’s got quite a long way to go in a woman before it gets to the tissues of the ovary.”
The US National Institutes of Health and other researchers around the world have also found no evidence that increased genital exposure to talc ups a woman’s risk of getting ovarian cancer.
Pharoah even worries that the recent court cases could cause undue anguish for some women — “because if women get ovarian cancer, they may well beat themselves up about the fact that they used talc in the past,” he said.
Generic Name: undecylenic acid (Topical route)
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Jan 1, 2019.
- Side Effects
Commonly used brand name(s)
In the U.S.
Available Dosage Forms:
Therapeutic Class: Antifungal
Uses for Caldesene
Compound undecylenic acid belongs to the group of medicines called antifungals. It is used to treat some types of fungus infections. However, compound undecylenic acid generally has been replaced by newer and more effective medicines for the treatment of fungus infections.
Compound undecylenic acid is available without a prescription.
Before using Caldesene
In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For this medicine, the following should be considered:
Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to this medicine or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.
Compound undecylenic acid should not be used on children up to 2 years of age, unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Although there is no specific information comparing use of compound undecylenic acid topical preparations in children 2 years of age and older with use in other age groups, this medicine is not expected to cause different side effects or problems in children 2 years of age and older than it does in adults.
Many medicines have not been studied specifically in older people. Therefore, it may not be known whether they work exactly the same way they do in younger adults or if they cause different side effects or problems in older people. There is no specific information comparing use of compound undecylenic acid in the elderly with use in other age groups.
Interactions with medicines
Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter ) medicine.
Interactions with food/tobacco/alcohol
Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.
Proper use of undecylenic acid
This section provides information on the proper use of a number of products that contain undecylenic acid. It may not be specific to Caldesene. Please read with care.
Before applying compound undecylenic acid, wash the affected and surrounding areas, and dry thoroughly. Then apply enough medicine to cover these areas.
Keep this medicine away from the eyes.
For patients using the cream form of this medicine:
- Apply cream generously to affected and surrounding areas. Rub in well.
- Do not use on pus-containing sores or on badly broken skin.
For patients using the powder form of this medicine:
- If the powder is used on the feet, sprinkle it between toes, on feet, and in socks and shoes.
For patients using the aerosol powder or aerosol foam form of this medicine:
- From a distance of 4 to 6 inches, spray the affected and surrounding areas. If the medicine is used on the feet, spray it between the toes also. The powder may also be sprayed in socks and shoes.
- Do not use this medicine around the eyes, nose, or mouth.
- Do not inhale the aerosol.
- Do not use near heat, near open flame, or while smoking.
To help clear up your infection completely, keep using this medicine for 2 weeks after burning, itching, or other symptoms have disappeared , unless otherwise directed by your doctor. Do not miss any doses.
The dose of this medicine will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor’s orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of this medicine. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.
The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.
- For fungus infections:
- For aerosol foam, aerosol powder, ointment, powder, or solution dosage forms:
- Adults and children 2 years of age and over—Apply to the affected area(s) of the skin two times a day.
- Children up to 2 years of age—Use is not recommended.
- For cream dosage form:
- Adults and children—Apply to the affected area(s) of the skin as often as necessary.
- For aerosol foam, aerosol powder, ointment, powder, or solution dosage forms:
If you miss a dose of this medicine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.
Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.
Store the canister at room temperature, away from heat and direct light. Do not freeze. Do not keep this medicine inside a car where it could be exposed to extreme heat or cold. Do not poke holes in the canister or throw it into a fire, even if the canister is empty.
Keep out of the reach of children.
Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.
Precautions while using Caldesene
If your skin problem does not improve within 4 weeks, or if it becomes worse, check with your health care professional.
To help prevent reinfection after the period of treatment with this medicine, the powder or spray powder form of this medicine may be used each day after bathing and careful drying.
Caldesene side effects
Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.
Check with your doctor as soon as possible if any of the following side effects occur:
- Skin irritation not present before use of this medicine
Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.
Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.
Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.
Copyright 2019 Truven Health Analytics, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
More about undecylenic acid topical
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If you recently Googled “How do I get my balls to stop itching?” between scratching yourself vigorously, we have some bad news for you: there’s a good chance you have jock itch.
“Jock itch, or tinea curis, is a superficial infection on the skin of the groin caused by a few different species of fungi,” Evan Rieder, MD, dermatologist at NYU Langone Dermatology Associates says. Yup — it’s a fungal infection on your crotch.
While jock itch can happen to both men and women, guys are more susceptible to the condition because of the groin’s external anatomy, which causes added friction and a more humid environment.
“It’s so-called because extra tight-fitting clothing, such as the jock strap, will really add fuel to the fire,” Ross C. Radusky, MD, dermatologist at SoHo Skin & Laser Dermatology, says.
While jock itch isn’t exactly pretty, it’s super common and, in most cases, extremely treatable. Stop the scratching and learn more about how to treat and prevent jock itch below.
The Causes of Jock Itch
Basically, your crotch is a breeding ground for fungus — especially after a sweaty workout.
“If you don’t have time for a shower immediately after, the sweat and bacteria our pores naturally emit have nowhere to go down there. It creates a tempestuous environment for tinea ,” Radusky says.
If you have diabetes, you also may be more at risk.
“Diabetes increases your risk of jock itch in two ways: the excess sugar emitted in your sweat is a fantastic food for fungus, and your immune system is not as strong in general, making you more at risk for common skin infections,” Radusky says.
The Signs and Symptoms of Jock Itch
Unsurprisingly, the first sign of jock itch is usually an itch, “accompanied by a light pink or red rash with scaly flakes, usually on the outer edge of the rash,” Dr. Radusky warns. “While it can start on the scrotum or the base of the penis, and work its way outward, the thighs and buttocks are the common areas affected.”
If left untreated, the rash will continue to spread onto your groin, resulting in cracked skin and occasionally a foul odor.
How to Treat Jock Itch
Fortunately, the treatment is pretty straightforward. You can start with over-the-counter products.
“If your symptoms are itch and redness, start with a dry zinc oxide powder that decreases humidity. Look for ones with antifungal properties too, like Zeasorb Powder,” says Radusky.
If powder alone doesn’t help, try an antifungal cream.
“You can try over-the-counter clotrimazole 1% or Tolnaftate 1% creams. Apply in a thin layer and then add the powder,” says Radusky. Avoid ointments: they tend to be greasy and promote moisture retention, which will only make your jock itch worse.
If you’re not seeing an improvement in a few weeks, or if the redness is spreading or is characterized by painful cracked skin, it’s a good idea to check in with your doctor.
“Unfortunately, jock itch can sometimes be confused for other conditions, which is why it’s important to see a board-certified dermatologist,” Radusky says. “The rashes of psoriasis, certain bacterial infections, and yeast look similar, and the treatments are quite different.”
Your doctor can help confirm the diagnosis and sometimes provide better prescription remedies.
“These include a topical corticosteroid (such as hydrocortisone) to briefly quiet the inflammation to give quick symptom relief,” Radusky says. “There are oral treatments, such as terbinafine (Lamisil), that do a great job at clearing the fungus.”
Zeasorb Antifungal Treatment Powder Lotrimin AF Jock Itch Antifungal Cream Monistat 7-Day Antifungal Cream
How to Prevent Jock Itch
The best way to prevent jock itch is to shower immediately after working out and make sure you dry off as much as possible. You should wear loose-fitting cotton underwear and make a habit of switching up your workout gear.
“Avoiding non-cotton clothing can help,” Rieder advises. “Sometimes the synthetic, sweat-wicking underwear can be hot and predispose guys to these infections.”
Another small thing you can do to prevent jock itch? Put on your socks before putting on your underwear. The same fungus that causes athlete’s foot also causes jock itch, and “the simple act of passing your underwear through your feet when you get dressed in the morning can pass that fungus up to your groin,” Radusky says.
Below the Belt Help Emily Shiffer Emily Shiffer is a former digital web producer for Men’s Health and Prevention, and is currently a freelancer writer specializing in health, weight loss, and fitness.