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Dmdm Hydantoin

What-it-does: preservative

Official CosIng Information


A controversial preservative that has formaldehyde-releasing properties. It works great against bacteria and also has mild fungicide abilities. 

Cosmetic chemist, Colin wrote a great article about formaldehyde and DMDM Hydantoin.  He writes that formaldehyde is the perfect example of "the dose makes the poison" principle. It's a natural stuff that can also be found in fresh fruits and vegetables, and eating it in tiny amounts is totally ok. However, in larger amounts (according to Wikipedia 30 mL of a solution containing 37% formaldehyde) it's deadly. 

The amount of formaldehyde used in cosmetics either neat or through formaldehyde-releasing preservatives is tiny. Probably that is why the Cosmetic Ingredient Review Broad concluded both in 1988 and in 2008 that DMDM Hydantoin is "safe as used in cosmetics".

However, Colins argues that in the case of formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, formaldehyde is released slowly and the skin has probably not evolved to deal with that. The lingering formaldehyde might be toxic to the Langerhans Cells that are important for the skin's defense system. Another potential issue is that formaldehyde-releasers might also release other things while reacting with amino acids in the skin that is probably the explanation why some people are not allergic to formaldehyde but are allergic to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives. These are all theories, far from proven facts, but we feel that there are some justified reasons why formaldehyde-releasing preservatives and Dmdm Hydantoin count as controversial. 

All in all, it's up to you to decide if you wanna avoid this preservative group or not. If so, there are other, less risky and more skin-friendly options out there.

Show me some proof

  • Kireche, Mustapha, Elena Gimenez‐Arnau, and Jean‐Pierre Lepoittevin. "Preservatives in cosmetics: reactivity of allergenic formaldehyde‐releasers towards amino acids through breakdown products other than formaldehyde." Contact Dermatitis 63.4 (2010): 192-202.

Products with Dmdm Hydantoin

Herborist Aloevera Gel COLOR WOW Dream Coat Lakma Peeling Químico Ruby Rose Sérum Revitalizante Ice Pearl Hidratante Ahava Time To Clear Purifying Mud Mask Equate Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes Kmart Avocado Moisturising Sheet Mask Kmart Coconut Hydrating Sheet Mask Olay Resurfacing Peel Vitamin C + Aha Olay Vitamin C Resurfacing Mask & Resurfacing Peel (Step 2) Stridex Daily Care Acne Pads With Salicylic Acid, Maximum Strength Stridex Essential Acne Treatment Pads Stridex Maximum Strength Medicated Pads Bielenda professional Acid Neuraliser (Neutralizator Kwasów) Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera 100% Fruit of the Earth Aloe Vera Gel Hick’s Total Transformations Hick’s Edges JINDA Herbal Shampoo for Hair Loss Maika Beauty Sérum Para Área Dos Olhos Panda Eyes Stridex Daily Care Acne Pads With Aloe For Sensitive Skin Stridex Daily Care Acne Pads With Salicylic Acid, Sensitive With Aloe anko Relax Sleep Tight Serum Booster CULLUN Gentle Facial Cleansing Gel CÉLETEQUE DERMOSCIENCE ™ Hydration Alcohol-Free Toner Hanasui Anti Acne Serum Pink Hanasui Serum Vit C LING SKINCARE Spotlight Papaya Resurface Peel Obagi Nu-Derm Toner Ocean Potion Skincare Aloe Gel SSCPL Herbals Detan Face Pack UNT Cosmetics Aqua Nettoyant Vivier HEXAM Gentle Cleanser Aussie Instant Freeze Gel Herbal Essences Totally Twisted Curl Boosting Hair Mousse Himalaya Gentle Baby Wash Miss Lary Fixador Bruma Neutrogena Anti-Residue Shampoo Neutrogena Shampoo, Anti-Residue Formula Pantene Curl Mousse RK glow Red jelly Somethinc Criously 24K Gold Essence Suave Ocean Breeze Shampoo eMGlow Acne Facial Wash AmPro Shine ‘N Jam Silk Edges Innertrue Essence Of Life Klorane Balsam Stimulant Si Fortifiant Cu Chinina Si Vitamine B MINISO Olive Moisturizing Spray Old Spice Pure Sport Plus Body Wash Oriflame Optimals HydraMatte Refining Night Cream Smartly Unscented Gentle Facial Cleanser