talc & talcum powder
Posted by P. Bingham on August 17, 1998 at 23:10:37:
In response to Did they have talcum powder at this point? NFM, written by Lesley on August 16, 1998 at 23:53:47
Marie-Bernadette had asked me if I could add some insight on this subject just before she flew off on her vacation. I tried to find out exactly when talcum powder became available but was unable to see for certain. But it is my understanding that it was available and for sometime. The problem was not that talcum powder was unavailable, but that the other powders which contained mercury actually kept the skin white and fought blemishes and so was more in demand (although by the Regency they had begun to realize that it also caused inevitable death). The white English rose skin was well sought after and the ladies (and gentlemen too) would have done almost anything to get this look. During the Regency they probably did use talcum powder but it is possible that they did not even know the difference between it and the other poisonous ones, as mercury and several other poisons continued to be used as food additives for color. They may have avoided talcum powder for this reason. But then powder was not the only whitening enemy that they used dangerously, other being liquids such as white lead and mercury water. They did use talc, which was an oily substance which talcum powder was derived from. They used Venetian talc and oil of talc to make the skin white and clear and remove blemishes. But these were not powders. I'll see if I can find any specific information regarding talcum powder and will get back unless someone has something better to offer..
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