HomeA-Z of terms and ingredientsDMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives)

DMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde Releasing Preservatives)

DMDMH is a cosmetic preservative.

Preservatives are very important ingredients in cosmetic products because just like food, cosmetics can become contaminated by microbes such as bacteria or fungi. Contaminated cosmetics might look or smell bad and could lead to irritation or infection. Preservatives help to prevent this from happening.

DMDMH works by releasing very tiny amounts of formaldehyde, which works within the product to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria.

Low levels of formaldehyde are found all around us; for example, in potatoes, cauliflowers and applies. Our breath even contains formaldehyde because it is generated as a result of natural processes in our bodies. A 2014 report from the European Food Safety Agency (EFSA) estimates that the human body makes and processes about 50 grams of formaldehyde every day. This is 100 times more than the maximum amount of formaldehyde allowed to be released within a whole bottle of an average-sized personal care product!

Many independent expert scientific panels around the world have studied formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, including DMDMH, in detail and found them to be safe.

An in-depth review by a panel of independent scientists at the European Commission (the Scientific Committee on Consumer Safety (SCCS)) calculated the level of free formaldehyde that could be released from these substances in a worst-case scenario, and found this to be safe.

The CIR, an independent cosmetic ingredient safety review panel in the US, has investigated the safety of the level of formaldehyde released from DMDM Hydantoin and found it to be safe.

A World Health Organisation (WHO) report on formaldehyde estimated that our exposure to formaldehyde from cosmetic products is negligible.

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