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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 Uberpharma Urealux white story Brightening Toner Face facts Vitamin C Facial Serum Garnier Fructis Curl Shaping Spray Gel Herborist Aloevera Gel Nioxin Scalp Recovery Anti-dandruff Purifying Cleanser For Itchy, Flaky Scalp Votre Peau Brightening Essence WNF Geranium Vegetable Thermal Water Algabo Agua Micelar COLOR WOW Speed Dry - Blow Dry Spray Dorskin Sunspray SPF 35 EXEL Base Gel EXEL L'oxygéniste Serum Oxigenante + Revitalizante Elegant Glycolite Max Foaming Facewash With Glycolic Acid 6% Face facts Hyaluronic Facial Serum Idraet Protective Toner Lakma Peeling Químico Liquid Lipo LTD Liquid Lipo Topical Fat Dissolve Gel Nupill Mousse De Limpeza Facial Vitamina C Pratista Calming Spray Ruby Rose Sérum Revitalizante Ice Pearl Hidratante The Skin Soul Bio Serum UrbanBotanics Aloe Vera Gel UrbanBotanics Pure Aloe Vera Gel UrbanBotanics Pure Aloe Vera Skin/Hair Gel With Vitamin E & Natural Emollients b-pure Hydrating Facial Wipes whiz laboratories Bioone Vit C Serum Ahava Time To Clear Purifying Mud Mask Athena Goddesskin Athena Night Acne Gel Barbour’s Gel Facial Antissinais Bath & Body Works Midsummer Dream Beautenic Salicylic Acid Serum Beautenic Sylcylic Acid 2% Serum Bella Femme Soft Skin Gel Vita C CavinKare Chik Hairfall Prevent Egg White Shampoo Dalla Makeup O Poderoso Gel Ultra Hidratante EXEL L’Oxygéniste Edriva Serum Brightening Edriva Toner Brightening Enliven men Hair Gel Pro Vitamin B5 Equate Beauty Makeup Remover Wipes Equusmare Leche Egipcia Etienne Serum 1.5% Ácido Hialurónico Etienne Serum Concentrado 10% Niacinamida Vitamina B3 + Glicerina Farmatodo Formula Magistral Agua Micelar Jafra Revitalize Line & Pore Perfecting Serum Jarkeen Peeling Glow Kmart Avocado Moisturising Sheet Mask Kmart Coconut Hydrating Sheet Mask