Traditionally, baby powder was used on babies to keep their bottoms dry to prevent diaper rash. This was especially important before the development of disposable diapers, which lock the moisture away from the skin. As well as being used for babies, many women through the years have also used it to keep themselves feeling dry and fresh through the day, and to prevent chafing.
Erica, I was very happy to see that you noted that the science on a talc/ ovarian cancer risk is inconclusive at best. It might be nice to move it closer to the start of this article. It’s important, because “evidence based science” is increasingly getting kicked to the curb and that’s a bad thing (don’t vaccinate your kids because one disproved study said they were linked and now people have died from measles). That said, J &J started making cornstarch baby powder years ago, it’s what we use.