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Should you use baby powder?

You’ve probably read about the case: Johnson & Johnson must pay US$72 million for cancer death link to talcum powder.

Now you wonder: should you still use powder to keep Baby’s skin dry?

Well, what you didn’t realise is that most doctors have long discouraged the practice – as far back as the 1960s.

There are two main concerns, says Dr Natalie Epton, specialist paediatrician and neonatologist at International Paediatric Clinic.

The powder is made from grinding a soft stone called talc, which is mainly made up of magnesium salts.

Babies risk inhaling the tiny particles into their lungs, which can lead to breathing problems. Excessive use on the face has led to severe breathing problems and even death in extreme cases.

And yes, some studies have raised concerns about an increased risk of cancer in women who use talcum powder in the genital area to stay dry.

Further studies failed to prove a strong link, but the US jury still found Johnson & Johnson, a household name for talcum powder and other bodycare products, liable for developing ovarian cancer in the woman who died.

Still, the American Academy of Pediatrics continues to advise against the use of talcum powder on small babies.

A better way of keeping your little one’s skin dry is to dress her in light, loose-fitting clothing, and avoid having wet cloth bibs around the neck for prolonged periods, Dr Epton shares.

These allow moisture to stay in close contact with skin, creating the perfect environment for a fungal infection.

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