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A Must Have for the Ladies

тальк
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

There are opinions that this stone may cause cancer, but many girls who care about their appearance still use it every day. Why are they doing so? Because talc can turn an ugly girl into the glamour queen!

In the Middle Ages, people bought talc to regain their youth and lost beauty. They applied a thick layer of ointment or cream to the body or, as an alternative, they could make an infusion and drink it. In the latter case, they also had to drink a few litres of water to get rid of the taste. Talc also became popular as an antiseptic. In the 18th century, doctors started using it to treat severely injured soldiers with talcum powder. They applied the powder to the affected skin area and, as a result, there was a significant decrease in cases ending with gangrene. The mineral has not been forgotten and is still in use now. It is one of the main components of baby powder which protects baby skin from inflammations while keeping it soft and dry.

тальк
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

A lot of scientific research was carried out in the last century to either confirm or disprove the fact that talc was dangerous for human health. It was stated the stone was not hazardous. The International Agency for Research on Cancer, however, considers talc a ‘potential carcinogen’ since the mineral in its natural state contains particles of harmful asbestos. And since the 1970s, cosmetics and pharmaceutical companies have been selling only products that are made of refined talc. Until now, there is no definite answer whether applying talc to the genital area is harmful or not.

тальк
Фото © Форпост Северо-Запад / Горный музей

Although the rumours say talk is not safe, it is still an essential ingredient in numerous beauty products, such as highlighter, bronzer, face powder, eye shadows, blushes, creams and deodorants. The mineral is added to ensure that make-up products do not crumble off; it acts against bacteria, softens the skin and helps to remove oily shine. There is also use for talc in the food industry. It is an officially approved food additive under the label E553b. Chocolate candies and caramel are sprinkled with it to avoid sticking.

тальк
Фото © Didier Descouens

As the mineral is incredibly soft, it is of minimal value for jewellers. On the other hand, for the same reason, the stone is easy to process. Ancient Egyptians used to carve magic talismans and amulets from talc, Sumerians made seals, and Russians created icons. There is a unique icon carved from talc rock, which is exhibited at the Kremlin Armoury. The icon was made more than a thousand years ago, but it still preserves the original look.