Saturday, August 2, 2014

Ingredient Investigation: DMDM Hydantoin

Hey, beautiful people!  I’m still continuing my investigation of suspect ingredients.  Another suspect ingredient that I frequently see in drugstore products is DMDM Hydantoin.

DMDM hydantoin is used in some products as a preservative to prevent microbes (i.e., bacteria, mold and mildew) from growing in the product.  The main issue with this ingredient is that it is a formaldehyde releaser.  Yes, the same stuff used to preserve dead bodies.  In fact, it works so well as a preservative because the released formaldehyde makes the environment less favorable to the microorganisms.

While DMDM hydantoin only releases formaldehyde in low amounts, this can be an issue for people with sensitive skin or allergies because formaldehyde can be an irritant to the skin, eyes and lungs.  It may also create a formaldehyde allergy.

Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives in a product that also includes amines, such as triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA), or monoethanolamine (MEA), can create a carcinogenic substance, called a nitrosamine, that can potentially penetrate skin.

For now, while pregnant, I’m staying away from any product with DMDM hydantoin; but, after pregnancy, I may be ok with DMDM hydantoin products, as long as the product doesn’t also contain an amine.  I've been wanting to try TRESemme Heat Tamer Spray, but it has DMDM hydantoin and TEA, among other suspect ingredients, so I'm avoiding it.  Call me overly cautious.

Do you use products with DMDM hydantoin?  Which ones?

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  1. Great article. I don't blame you for avoiding certain ingredients while pregnant (congrats to you!). I'm kinda ok with it -- I haven't given much thought to it. Everything around us is said to be so unhealthy that I go through phases of giving up on being cautious.

  2. Thanks, Divachyk! I go through phases too. Oddly enough, the further I get into my natural hair journey, the more relaxed I've become about certain things that I used to avoid, like silicones. However, right now I'm in protective mommy phase.

  3. I don't blame you about being protective. I avoid silicones if I can but I don't go through the extra effort like I use to.


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