I’m addicted to eating baby powder – I’ve spent $4,000 on it this year and get through a bottle a day
- Dreka Martin claims to have pica, an abnormal desire to eat non-food items
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A mother has revealed she loves eating an entire bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder every day – munching through almost $4,000-worth already this year.
Dreka Martin, from New Orleans, says she liked tasting the skin treatment after showering as a child but found herself beginning to crave eating it around ten years ago.
The 27-year-old admits she now munches through one 623g (22 oz) bottle of Johnson’s Aloe & Vitamin E per day and insists she’d rather give up ‘normal food’ than stop.
Dreka says her favourite thing about eating the white product is ‘melting it’ in her mouth by chewing it for up to 40 seconds before swallowing it.
She claims the longest she’s abstained from her bizarre addiction was while pregnant with her three-year-old son Faiz Palmer.
Dreka Martin, 27, eats a 623g (22oz) bottle of Johnson’s Baby Powder each day, costing her almost $4,000 per year
‘When I get my son out of the tub, I put the baby powder on him, and he asks for some because he will see that I eat it,’ she said
Despite now spending $14 on a bottle a day since January – which would add up to around $3,780 so far this year – she insists she’s never experienced any health or digestive issues.
Johnson’s said their baby powder is formulated ‘for use on the skin only’ and warned that it should not be ingested.
The make-up artist says she’s worried her son will take on her dangerous addiction too as he asks for it when he’s in the bath and sees her eating it.
Dreka claims to have pica, an eating disorder characterized by compulsions to eat non-food items such as paint or chalk.
The mum-of-one admits trying to hide her cornstarch-based powder addiction from friends and family – but says it upsets her when they judge her habit and voice concerns about her health.
Dreka, from New Orleans, Louisiana, said: ‘I love eating baby powder. It tastes exactly how it smells.
‘It’s just something I do to cope. It just makes me feel good and makes me happy.
‘It’s an addiction that I try to stop but I just can’t. When I think about it my mouth waters.
‘It’s gotten to the point where I eat baby powder and I don’t even care about eating real food.
‘If I had the choice between eating real food and baby powder, I’d choose baby powder.
‘I would spend my last dollar on it because I need it so much.
The mom-of-one liked tasting the skin treatment after showering as a child but found herself beginning to crave eating it around ten years ago
Her favourite thing about eating the white product is ‘melting it’ in her mouth by chewing it for up to 40 seconds before swallowing it
‘I kept it a secret from my mum for a month but she asked why the baby powder was being used so fast.
‘Normally we had a bottle for two months and it was being used in a week so she had a feeling that something was wrong.
‘I’ve tried to hide it from everybody but I do it so often and I won’t be able to talk when my mouth is full of it. They ask what’s in my mouth and I tell them it’s baby powder.
‘Friends and family tell me to stop and that it’s bad for my health. It sometimes upsets me when they judge me.
‘When they worry it makes me want to stop, but it’s not that easy. I still sneak and do it. I can’t just stop.
‘If I’m travelling, I always need my baby powder. If I’m going out of the country and I know they don’t have that brand, I know to pack at least three bottles so I won’t run out.’
The condition pica is believed to be linked to traumatic life events and she says the addiction worsened in 2014 and again in January 2023 after the deaths of two loved ones.
During her pregnancy, Dreka says she had six blood transfusions to stop her baby powder cravings as doctors believed they were related to low iron levels.
She began eating it again when her son was three months old and she’s now taking iron pills to dampen her cravings.
But she says she won’t stop eating baby powder anytime soon, despite being ‘worried’ her son will follow in her footsteps.
Dreka said: ‘When I get my son out of the tub I put the baby powder on him and he asks for some because he will see that I eat it.
‘I act like I’m putting it in his mouth. He knows when I put it in my mouth, I can’t talk so he walks around making chewing noises.
Dreka doesn’t plan on stopping her eating habits anytime soon, despite concern for her son, Faiz Palmer, following in her footsteps
‘I know he only wants to eat it because he sees me eating. It makes me want to stop. It worries me.’
What is pica?
Pica is an eating disorder that is characterised by the desire to eat items with little or no nutritional value.
These can include anything from stones, sand, paint and dirt to talcum powder.
It is most common in people with learning disabilities and during pregnancy.
It can cause a range of serious complications if the person is eating something that is poisonous or indigestible.
These include being poisoned by toxic ingredients and having a part of the body obstructed (which is often seen in people who eat hair).
It can also lead to excessive calorie intake, but also nutritional deprivation if the person eats a substance with no nutritional value instead of nutritious foods.
The person can also damage their teeth and be infected with parasites.
Sharing her addiction on TikTok has led Dreka to gain more than 400,000 likes and 24,000 followers, including some who suffer with similar issues and others who mock her.
Dreka said: ‘I know there are other people out there like me who said they didn’t think they were normal until they saw me do it. They’re not alone. I want to raise awareness.
‘I was at work over the weekend and a girl came up to me and said she saw my TikTok and she told me she keeps one of the smaller baby powders in her bra.
‘I get a lot of hate comments but I’ve been through so much in my life that somebody talking about me is the least of my worries.
‘Some people see me and say, ‘that’s the girl that eats the baby powder. How are you eating that? Ew.’
‘Other people that do it are scared or embarrassed that people are going to talk about them.
‘If anything, I want to stop for myself and my son. He’s my main concern.’
A spokesperson for Johnson’s said: ‘Johnson’s Cornstarch Baby Powder with Aloe & Vitamin E is formulated for use on the skin only and should not be ingested.
‘As with all our products, consumers should read and follow the directions for use on the label.’
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