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First Aid for Face Powder Poisoning

Last updated Feb. 20, 2018

Face Powder Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (consumption) of face powder.


What is Face Powder Poisoning?

  • Face powders are cosmetic products used to tone one’s face. They may be applied on facial skin as a foundation for other creams, or as the final coat
  • Face Powder Poisoning is the accidental or intentional intake (consumption) of face powder
  • The condition is diagnosed based upon the clinical history, combination of signs and symptoms, and additional tests (that may include, in some cases, radiological studies and laboratory tests)

Face Powder Poisoning may be also referred to as Face Powder Toxicity.

What are the Causes of Face Powder Poisoning?

  • Face Powder Poisoning is caused by the ingestion of face powder and similar products
  • This intake could be accidental, or in some cases intentional, to bring self-harm
  • Face powders may contain cornstarch, talc, glycerin, sodium bicarbonate (baking soda), and additives (colorants and perfumes). Some of these substances can be toxic to humans

Note: The compound can interact with other prescribed or non-prescribed medications in the body. Such interactions may enhance the therapeutic effects of other medications being taken, resulting in undesired side effects.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of Face Powder Poisoning?

The signs and symptoms of Face Powder Poisoning can vary from one individual to another. It may be mild in some and severe in others. The signs and symptoms may include:

  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Feeling of distaste in the mouth and throat; burning sensation
  • Face powder in the eye can cause irritation, redness, watering, and blurred vision
  • Stomach and abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea (watery consistency, blood in stool)
  • Cough and breathing difficulties, in some cases

How is First Aid administered for Face Powder Poisoning?

First Aid tips for Face Powder Poisoning:

  • Call 911 or your local emergency help number immediately, for emergency assistance
  • Call the Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or your local poison control center) for further instructions
  • Provide them with information such as the compound taken, quantity and time of ingestion, age, weight and general health status of affected individual
  • Carefully remove the individual from the exposure area; move them to region of fresh air immediately
  • Confirm that the airways are protected; also, ensure breathing and the presence of pulse
  • Clean the mouth to remove any remaining substance; wipe mouth with a wet cloth
  • Unless instructed by a healthcare professional, DO NOT induce vomiting in the affected individual
  • Take individual to emergency room (ER) for further treatment
  • Always try to take the compound bottle/container to the ER

Generally, Face Powder Poisoning is a non-serious condition. With appropriate and adequate home care, the individual may recover completely, without any severe symptoms being noted. 

In case of severe symptoms, emergency health care may be required. The emergency medical professional might perform the following steps towards treating the condition:

  • Gastric lavage for elimination of the substance from the stomach (irrigation using special solutions)
  • Medically manage symptoms and provide breathing support, if necessary
  • Administer activated charcoal to avoid absorbance of the substance in the body
  • Administer laxatives for elimination of the substance from the body
  • Administer fluids by an intravenous drip line, if necessary

Who should administer First Aid for Face Powder Poisoning?

First aid for Face Powder Poisoning is administered by healthcare professionals.

  • The individual who is affected, or someone near, should call 911 for emergency assistance (or the local emergency number)
  • They should also call the poison control center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow instructions

What is the Prognosis of Face Powder Poisoning?

  • The prognosis of Face Powder Poisoning is dependent on the amount of substance consumed, time between consumption and treatment, severity of the symptoms, as well as general health status of the patient
  • If the individual can recover from the symptoms, with appropriate medication and early support, the outcome is generally good
  • Face Powder is a non-poisonous substance, and hence, the condition is not very dangerous. In a majority of cases, early recovery is reported

In general, toxicities are common situations in the emergency departments. A majority of the cases are often not fatal, when appropriate treatment is given.

How can Face Powder Poisoning be Prevented?

Face Powder Poisoning can be prevented by:

  • Always following instructions for usage of any health or cosmetic products
  • Keeping cosmetics, medications, and other healthcare products out of reach of children in child-proof containers

Being aware of basic first aid steps in case of an emergency (such as inadvertent poisoning)

What are certain Crucial Steps to be followed?

  • Call 911 (or your local emergency number) for emergency assistance, if symptoms are life-threatening
  • Call Poison Control Center at 1-800-222-1222 (or the local poison control center) and follow the recommend steps
  • It would be helpful if the following information is readily available:
    • Type, amount and time of consumption of the substance
    • Age and weight of the individual
    • And, the overall health status of the individual

What are some Useful Resources for Additional Information?


References and Information Sources used for the Article:


Helpful Peer-Reviewed Medical Articles:


Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: July 9, 2017
Last updated: Feb. 20, 2018