Knowing Your Ingredients: DMDM Hydantoin

What is DMDM Hydantoin?

Its primary function is as a microbial preservative.

What’s the Big Friggin Deal?

On the low-low, it is actually a formaldehyde releaser because it can actually be contaminated with carcinogenic formaldehyde.

For those of you who don’t know, or maybe you do, formaldehyde is a chemical used to embalm bodies. Think about that. It is also used in some household products. This chemical is known to be a human irritant and can cause eye and skin allergens and possible lung allergens. There is not much evidence it is cancerous, but then again, look at asbestos…

Where Can You Find DMDM Hydantoin?

This preservative is found in many cosmetics such as shampoos, conditioners and styling products. I even have some in this As I Am gel I have in here that I am tempted to not use so much because it does have this chemical and that scares me.

Now DMDM H- can be released over time and not necessarily when you open a product, and I remember even before my journey learning about this chemical and that it can release the harmful chemicals when products are held for a longer period of time versus when the product is newly purchased. I had stopped buying as many products as possible with this ingredient. Now that worked but then something odd happened…

I noticed that this product occurs a lot in protein treatments. Especially products that contain collagen, keratin, and are marketed for straightening hair. Lately, I have also been noticing this ingredient in natural products and high end products. Not sure what the BFD is about this preservative, but its very well loved in the cosmetics that are found in our local BSS’s.

As of right now, I am heavily scrutinizing all the products I buy and their ingredients. Preservatives are in almost every product we buy with good cause but with so many other options out there that are less harmful to the human body, I guess I will have to pass up on the good stuff to reduce my use of this product.

Do You Know Your Ingredients?

One Day, It Will Happen

Tasia S.


9 thoughts on “Knowing Your Ingredients: DMDM Hydantoin

  1. This is in many of my fave “salon” branded products: Nexxus, Paul Mitchell, Matrix, etc and cheapie products like V05 Moisture Milk, Suave Naturals etc. I suppose that price point or naturalidad doesn’t matter.

    Most studies report that the concentration of DMDM-H in most cosmetics would not expose us to levels of formaldehyde above what’s considered the acceptable limit. But who knows what the acceptable limit is…

    This would be a tough one to give up on… *le sigh*

    KLP @ SavingOurStrands

    • I have more than a few products in my bano that stuff is in. Not sure its in my shampoo, but its in my Nexxus, my gel, my neutralizer, and a few other products. I thought moving to natural and higher end products would reduce its usage, but that clearly wasn’t happening when I went looking for a gel better than ecostyler and found it in As I Am but with DMDM H-

      I’m not sure what the acceptable usage is and most scientific articles I read didn’t state there was a huge risk, and to be honest normally I really wouldn’t care, but I’ve just become more mindful of what I put on my skin since it does absorb this stuff.

      I guess its just me being mindful, but all the best products I’ve ever used have had this stuff in it 🙂

    • I’m not going to completely give it up as of yet, but my goal is to try to reduce its use over time by limiting the products I buy with it.

  2. Wow! I like to think I pay attention to my ingredients, but this is one that I definitely haven’t been watching out for. I’m now going to be forced to look thru my stash and see what does and doesn’t have this in it. Thanks for the eye opener!

    • I’ve thought the same thing too about handmades. I know the preservatives are supposed to be more natural, but with the stuff you hear on the news these days, you just never know.

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