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With the trade name Glydant, DMDM Hydantoin releases antimicrobial formaldehyde making it one of the most efficient artificial preservatives in the world. It is an organic compound that finds its place in the hydantoins class of compounds. The compound finds extensive use in the cosmetics industry as an active preservative for products like:
Being an effective preservative, DMDM Hydantoin is used in the concentrated form of 1 per cent. As mentioned earlier, it is a donor of formaldehyde making it capable of creating a not-so-favourable ambience within the cosmetic product for microorganisms to thrive.
In recent years, DMDM Hydantoin found itself in a fix after several independent studies and researchers concluded that, if used excessively as a preservative in cosmetic formulations, it can result in cancer. It works as a preservative by slowly releasing formaldehyde, which is a strong eye, skin and lung irritant. On top of that, DMDM Hydantoin can easily get contaminated with cancer-causing agent formaldehyde. Formaldehyde when comes in contact with human tissue often triggers a strong response from the immunity system that leads to cases of:
One might think that it is all bad news for DMDM Hydantoin but that is not the case. As per the information put forth by the PCPC (or Personal Care Products Council) DMDM is one of those preservatives that release a small amount of formaldehyde over time to keep bacteria and mould formation at bay.
Further, as per the toxicology reports put forth by the IJT (or International Journal of Toxicology), cosmetics and skin care product manufacturers can use DMDM Hydantoin as a preservative given they are not exceeding the recommended amounts.
Adding to that, CIR (or the Cosmetic Ingredient Review) which is an independent panel of experts that uses scientific methods to conduct research on the ingredients mass producers of cosmetics use in their products, concluded that the compound is safe to use. The recommended level for DMDM Hydantoin, as stated by the experts of Personal Care Products Council is 0.074 % or less. Back in the year 2005, the expert's panel of CIR repositioned DMDM Hydantoin as a safe preservative ingredient and cleared it for use in personal care products.
What one can take away from the sections mentioned above is that DMDM hydantoin is safe as a preservative ingredient given it is used in recommended levels as put forth by apex bodies like CIR (Cosmetic Ingredient Review panel) and CDEU (Cosmetics Directive of the European Union).