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DMDM Hydantoin

What-it-does: preservative


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

Kilala Fresh Toner Face facts Vitamin C Facial Serum Herborist Aloevera Gel Votre Peau Brightening Essence Algabo Agua Micelar COLOR WOW Dream Coat EXEL L'oxygéniste Serum Oxigenante + Revitalizante Idraet Protective Toner Lakma Peeling Químico Ruby Rose Sérum Revitalizante Ice Pearl Hidratante The Skin Soul Bio Serum Ahava Time To Clear Purifying Mud Mask Barbour’s Gel Facial Antissinais CavinKare Chik Hairfall Prevent Egg White Shampoo Dalla Makeup O Poderoso Gel Ultra Hidratante Equate Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes Equusmare Leche Egipcia Jafra Revitalize Line & Pore Perfecting Serum 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 Washami Avocado Scrub Cream Bielenda professional Acid Neuraliser (Neutralizator Kwasów) Biobellus Loción Descongestiva Y Tonificante Cluny Loción Tónica Todo Tipo De Piel Dove Dove intense repair shampoo Ecohair Sdn Bhd Sensitive Soothes Therapy Shampoo Formula Dra Norma Bustos Anti Stress Dérmico Formula Dra Norma Bustos Gel Pulidor Suave Formula Dra Norma Bustos Gotas Hidratantes Con Adn Formula Dra Norma Bustos Serum Hialurónico 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 Violetta Essential Crema Corporal Ziaja Sensitive Skin Micellar Water anko Glow Illuminating Serum Booster anko Nourish Hydrating Serum Booster anko Relax Sleep Tight Serum Booster Amika Silk Repair Shampoo BIU Gel De Limpieza Antibacterial CULLUN Gentle Facial Cleansing Gel