DMDM Hydantoin - ChemicalSafetyFacts.org

DMDM Hydantoin

DMDM hydantoin is an odorless white, crystalline substance that works as an antimicrobial agent and preservative in cosmetics and personal care products.

Uses & Benefits

Cosmetics and personal care products

DMDM hydantoin is a preservative in cosmetics and personal care products. It works by slowing and preventing spoilage in products such as shampoos and hair conditioners, and in skin care products like moisturizers and makeup foundations.

DMDM hydantoin is also an antimicrobial agent used in cosmetics and personal care products. As an antimicrobial, it can help prevent the growth of fungi, yeast and harmful bacteria that can make people sick or give them rashes, for example.

Safety Information

DMDM hydantoin is a “formaldehyde donor,” which means that to work as a preservative and antimicrobial, it releases small levels of formaldehyde throughout the shelf-life of a personal care product or cosmetic product. According to the Personal Care Products Council, preservatives such as DMDM hydantoin that “slowly releasing small, safe amounts of formaldehyde over time” help prevent harmful mold and bacteria. A recent safety assessment published in the International Journal of Toxicology reaffirmed that formaldehyde can be used safely in cosmetics if established safety limits are not exceeded.

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR), an independent expert scientific panel established by the Personal Care Products Council, also has evaluated the scientific data and concluded that DMDM hydantoin is safe as a cosmetic ingredient at current levels of use –  0.074 percent, or less. In 2005, the CIR Expert Panel considered available new data on DMDM hydantoin and reaffirmed its safety conclusion.

The Cosmetics Directive of the European Union also has approved DMDM hydantoin as a preservative in cosmetics and personal care products at a maximum concentration of 0.6 percent.

Answering Questions

What is a formaldehyde releaser or formaldehyde donor?

Formaldehyde donors, also known as formaldehyde releasers, are ingredients used in small amounts in personal care products and cosmetics to help prevent mold and bacteria from growing and spoiling products. These compounds release small amount of formaldehyde over the shelf-life of a product.

Is DMDM hydantoin toxic or harmful?

DMDM hydantoin is safe as a cosmetic ingredient at current normal levels of use in products, according to scientific experts at the Cosmetics Directive of the European Union as well as an independent Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel.

To put formaldehyde exposures from DMDM hydantoin in personal care products into perspective, the tiny amount of formaldehyde released from a formaldehyde donor when shampooing your hair is about equivalent to the amount of formaldehyde naturally occurring in one medium-sized apple or pear.

Why are preservatives used in personal care products?

Preservatives play important roles in many products people use every day – for example, by helping prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms and protecting products from spoilage or contamination.