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Is Talc Powder Bad For Me

Tre Spa Is Talc Powder Bad for me

No hype, is Talc powder bad for me?

I know there are lots of articles out there and at times there seems to be a great deal of hype and blustering around talc powder, alarmist and extremist. I try to sift through it and present you with information so you can make your own decision.

Talc powder has been around and in use for a very long time and has been widely used for a very long time. It is found all around the globe in veins of deposits. It is a mineral that was formed when magmatic rock, rich in magnesium, experienced a hydrothermal reaction. When liquid rock meets super heated water and pressure? Transformation! Talc a very soft mineral. In fact, it is the softest measuring, only 1 on the mohs scale. You can flake it away with your fingernail; so, you can imagine, it doesn't take much to mine and gather talc powder. However, there are some things to note here.

Purity

Mineral deposits are rarely pure. There is usually some cross-contamination from other deposits and minerals seeping over. For example, many of the talc veins run very close to asbestos, a known carcinogen. Now, not all veins do and there is pure talc, you just need to trust that the suppliers have properly processed and tested the purity. Call me a cynic, but I think this might be problematic.

Cancer link and Pulmonary Disease

In all fairness to talc, there is no conclusive evidence linking pure talc to cancer. Last time I checked the American Cancer Society page on talc, there were no conclusions on links to cancer when the talc did not have asbestos. OK, but you can make the leap: asbestos might be present if the talc was not tested properly.

Having said that, I will note one major US brand has been hit with several major lawsuits sighting a direct link to their powder (talc) and ovarian cancer. I have not read the cases all the way through but the company and their supplier were fined. This makes me think there must be something amiss. Like some testing was done wrong or ignored. They lost three major cases (and more are on the way) but recently won one so you be the judge. You can read the cases for yourself and let me know what you find. Seems to me that each time the winner declared the science was on their side!?

As far as lung disease, miners and millers are the most at risk because they can be exposed to trace amounts of carcinogens when they handle the material in its raw, unrefined state. Miners are also exposed to radon so it's difficult to find a conclusive, direct link. Also, due to it's ultra fine powder it is very easy to unintentionally inhale talc powder. Talc powder in the lungs can cause pulmonary disease. This is the key reason that most if not all doctors caution it's use around infants.

Sustainability

Talc powder is a mineral that does have a finite supply. Any item that is mined or pumped from the earth is not sustainable, plain and simple. The geothermal reactions that created the deposits happened long before we showed up and they aren't going to be repeated. Once it runs out, it is gone forever.

Naturally designed for living organisms

I don't know how else to say it: Our bodies are not designed to process talc powder. It is not a mineral that has any advantages to the human organism. It is not digestible or biodegradable so if it gets in, there is no way to convert talc powder into anything usable for the body. So if it cannot be converted what's it going to do. Perhaps your body, with it's natural defenders, may be able to flush it out somehow, but what if some gets stuck. On a molecular level it would be like inviting an invader into your home that just stays and festers…forever. You hope it never causes trouble, but there is always a chance.

So why use it when you can use plant powders to do the same thing? This is my biggest hang up about talc powder; it offers no additional value, it is not sustainable, it acts as a foreign invader if it ever gets inside the body. We know that plant starches can do the job of helping to keep us dry and cool almost as well. Our bodies know what to do with plant starches and we will either use it to our advantage, convert it to something we need, or purge it out. So why risk using talc powder? To save a few bucks?

What would you rather use?

For those of us at Tres Spa, we would much rather use a pure botanical solution. One that the body naturally knows what to do with.

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The Journey of a Natural Powder & How It’s Made

Tres Spa Natural Body Powder

Tres Spa Natural Body PowderWhat it takes to make a purely natural powder

We designed our natural body powders by carefully selecting food grade plant based powders that we blend to perfection, creating a unique and effective body powder and a safe alternative to talcum. But before the powder becomes a part of our organic dusting powder, it starts as a lush green plant. This is the journey those lush green plants go through to becoming a silky natural powder.

It's all about the starch

Starch is what makes the natural powder after all. The leafy green part of the plant manufactures glucose during photosynthesis. Excess is sent to a “holding place” for the plant to use when it needs it. Billions of chloroplasts filled with life sustaining “go juice” in the form of starch just waiting for the time the plant may need it. For tuberous plants like potatoes, arrowroot, tapioca (cassava) and the like, it is in the tuber underground.  For other plants like corn, rice, and wheat it is stored in the seeds. Sago stores it in the pith of the palm leaf stem.

The key to supporting life

A plant will create an enzymatic reaction to break down the cell walls in order to release the starch and support the plants life. We can do this with our internal enzymes when we consume the seeds and the tubers. Our bodies convert the starch to sugar which we then use for energy or store the excess as fat reserves for later use. For our purpose, here at Très Spa, we aren't interested in eating as much as we are interested in feeding your skin in harmony with nature.. So we want the natural powder form of these botanical manufacturers starch reserves.

Then you harvest the store

The plants are harvested once they reach a maturity that yields a significant starch storage. For tubers, it's the size of the root and for corn, wheat , and coconut it's the endosperm that provides the starch. For corn, think about the ear loaded with kernels.  When it comes to coconut, it's the “meat” and the water inside the hard shell.

Once the plant is harvested the process is to go through a series of rinse + sift, rinse + grind and rinse + dry the starchy pulp until you get the fine natural white powder starch in the end. That may sound simple but it is laborious.

What does the process look like?

Currently, we use Organic Cornstarch, Organic Arrowroot, and Organic Tapioca. So what does the process look like for these plant starches to be processed into one of our choice natural powders? I think a picture speaks a thousand words so here is the process broken down for you

First things first, you need to grow the plant

Arrowroot plants

Then, when it is developed enough, you harvest the mature roots

Arrowroot freshly harvested

Then you need to clean and prep the roots Cleaning the fresh harvested arrowroots

 

Then you start the process of a series of soaking stages in order to soften the cell walls softening the arrowroots

Grind the roots to a pulp over and over will eventually seperate the fiber from the starchPounding the pulp of the arrowroot

Rinse and repeat as many times as you need with each step yielding a finer material rinse and pound, rinse and pound the arrowroot

Dry the fine pulp and grind drying the pulp

Finally grind it to the most delicate light fluffy powder. Now it's ready! grinding the pulp to the finest powder

 

In the end, we here at Très Spa feel the extra work (and cost) is worth it. Not just for the fact we really think plants are better for you, but because done responsibly and organically, this process can be repeated over and over and over making plant starches very eco-friendly sustainable planet friendly ingredient to use for our Organic Dusting Powders!

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The Mighty Aloe Vera

Aloe Vera for Skincare

Tres Spa Aloe Vera for Skincare

Aloe Vera is my favorite skincare ingredient I love Aloe Vera. The plant has always fascinated me since I was a child. It was the one succulent my mother could grow without killing. Unfortunately, she did not inherit my grandfathers natural gardener gene. As a child I remember this strange pointy plant that did not look like anything I had seem outside (I grew up in Michigan). It was always the same color and it looked like it hardly grew, yet despite my mom chopping off tips every time we had a scratch, it never seemed to shrink. Beyond the sticky goo that worked as a salve under my bandage, I had no idea what the power was in this wondrous green monster plant.

It wasn't until years later that I would really start to understand this miracle plant.

Grow Your Own

Aloe Vera is a plant that I believe everyone should grow for themselves! They are easy to care for and it can grow in a pot inside your home quite easily. Just a little bit of light and water and you are good to go.  I started with a tiny one in a frog that was a gift from one of my fabulous customers. From that tiny plant I now have three going. Since I live in California, I plan on transferring one to the outdoors to be grown for eating.

What Can You Do With Aloe Vera?

Aloe Vera for Skincare Tres SpaLots! Inside and out, Aloe Vera is a highly nourishing wonderful plant. You can eat them and you can use it on your skin. It is wonderful!

Aloe Vera is rich in the following: Vitamins, Minerals, Sugars, Enzymes, Lignins, Amino Acids, Anthraquinones, Saponins, Fatty Acids, Salicylic Acid. Now, I'm not going to go into details on this. But it is interesting to note that the simple green plant has about 100 different high value compounds that aid in internal and external healing.

For skincare – snip a bit off the leaf and either squeeze it out and apply the gooey juice or slit the leaf and apply it to your skin. Add some fresh squeezed aloe juice to one of our Face Masks for amazing healing therapy benefits.

For eating – if you have a big leaf, you can slice the green outer layer away and eat the inside. Try adding it to your smoothies and juices. Or, make a Raw Vegan version of Sushi (you do have to rinse it very well to do this). Personally I've never been able to grow my Aloe plants big enough.

Can I Find It In Très Spa, Products?

In the beginning of  Très Spa, I had added it to a couple of product formulations but I stopped. Why would I do this considering how much I love the plant and all of the clear benefits? Well it all has to do with preservation. Once the leaf has been “juiced” it must be preserved and I truly believe that this wondrous plant should be enjoyed unaltered and fresh. When it ages outside of the natural state, it starts to lose its wonderful nutrients. So it is at it's peak when you pick it fresh. And considering how agreeable it is to growing indoors, it's a plant that can be enjoyed globally no matter what your garden space is outside or your seasonal growing conditions.

Perhaps, if I could ever find Aloe without preservatives added I may consider adding it back in. For now, I encourage you to grow your own.

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