The Danger of DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea

DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea are two common formaldehyde releasers used in personal and skin care products and cosmetics.  Formaldehyde is a toxic substance used as a preservative, including corpses. 

What are DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea?

DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea are formaldehyde releasers, which means they break down to form the toxic chemical formaldehyde.  These ingredients act as preservatives to help hold product formulas together and prolong their shelf life, as well as prevent bacteria and fungal growth.

Because most people realize formaldehyde is bad for them, many manufacturers stopped using it directly and therefore don’t have to list it on their labels.  Instead they mask this preservative under formaldehyde releasers like DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea.  These ingredients act just like formaldehyde in congealing and preserving products, as well as the damage they can do to our bodies. 

DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea and other formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are found in many common beauty products, including:  body washes, lotions, creams, shampoo, hair products, baby soap, baby shampoo, nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue and tinted cosmetics. 

DMDM Hydantoin, also known as glydant, specifically prevents the growth of microbes in many personal care and skin care items.  It is especially common in products used for anti-aging purposes, such as hair dyes, liquid foundation and facial moisturizers, creams and serums.  Mention of this ingredient is required at levels of 0.5% or greater.

Imidazolindinyl Urea is mixed with another serious toxin parabens to perform as a preservative.  It is a skin sensitizer used in pharmaceuticals and cosmetics, especially tinted items like lipstick, eyeliner and skin lighteners.  It may go by the name germall or methylenebis as well. 

Why are DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea Dangerous?

Formaldehyde-releasing preservatives like DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea perform their role in products by releasing formaldehyde in small amounts over time.  Even low levels of formaldehyde are cause for health concerns, including cancer, skin irritation, respiratory problems and ear, nose and throat concerns.

DMDM Hydantoin, Imidazolindinyl Urea and other formaldehyde releasers are known human carcinogens according to the United States National Toxicology Program and the International Agency for Research on Cancer.  They have been linked to leukemia when inhaled, ingested or absorbed through the skin. 

These dangerous ingredients often used on skin may do more harm to the skin’s surface than good.  Formaldehyde and formaldehyde releasers can irritate skin with eczema, blisters, reddening, cracking and dryness.   Over time skin allergies may arise.  This is because formaldehyde impairs the immune system so it cannot work properly to protect bodies and skin from threats.  Although allergens are often not true threats, weaker immune systems cannot differentiate the two. 

When inhaled, formaldehyde releasers may irritate eyes, nose and throat, creating a cold or flu-like decongestion.  Eventually this leads to respiratory problems including asthma, potential inner ear problems and ear infections, headaches and leaves the body more susceptible to cancer.  Additionally, DMDM Hydantoin and Imidazolindinyl Urea have been linked to chest pain, chronic fatigue, depression, joint pain and insomnia

As with many products, much of the health concerns come from cumulative exposure.  The Cosmetic Ingredient Review committee permits formaldehyde releasers in skin care products, personal care items and cosmetics at 0.2% or lower.  With low doses in thousands of products, it’s impossible to determine the level of exposure for any given individual.  Because even small amounts of formaldehyde can cause adverse health risks, the overall risk is great.

Natura Veda does not use formaldehyde or any formaldehyde releasers.  These toxic ingredients are not safe under any name.  So in the name of nature, we steer clear.