Formaldehyde releasers in skincare and cosmetics

Written on 12/16/2020
Am Sk


Formaldehyde releasers are chemicals that are sometimes used in skincare, personal care and cosmetic products.

Although these chemicals may bring some benefits, they may also create health risks for some people. 

Examples of formaldehyde releasers include: DMDM hydantoin, diazolidinyl urea, quaternium-15, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, imidazolidinyl urea.

Formaldehyde is a colorless gas that can be dissolved in water (Formalin). Formaldehyde in itself is rarely found in cosmetic products. However, formaldehyde releasers that release formaldehyde when in contact with water are more commonly used in cosmetic products as preservatives. Formaldehyde is particularly toxic when inhaled and has been identified as a carcinogen. Furthermore, formaldehyde is an allergen and a skin sensitizer. Concentrations of formaldehydes and formaldehyde releasers are monitored in cosmetic products and vary depending on the molecule. It has been recommended to not use formaldehyde in all products that are aerosolized.

Pregnant women and children are, as often, among the most vulnerable populations when exposed to formaldehyde releasers. People with sensitive and reactive skin, or conditions such as eczema are too. As a general rule, and unless there are specific circumstances, it is safer for everyone to avoid products that contain such ingredients.

Flamingo by Skintifique, the free platform designed to help anyone find personal care products that meet one's safety and ethics criteria is able to identify most common formaldehyde releasers and their name variations.

To find personal care products that do not contain formaldehyde releasers, you may use Flamingo by Skintifique