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In our quest for silky, smooth hair, it’s best to know about the ingredients that go into our hair care products. And if you’ve been keeping up to date with controversial ingredients, you may have already come across the debate about shampoo with DMDM hydantoin.
What is DMDM hydantoin? And why is it being blamed for hair loss and other hair problems? Should you steer clear of this ingredient and choose only DMDM hydantoin-free products?
Let’s find out what the experts have to say.
What is DMDM hydantoin?
DMDM hydantoin is used as a preservative in cosmetics and personal care products.
Shampoos, conditioners, moisturizers, facial cleansers, and makeup all include DMDM hydantoin, and the addition of this ingredient extends the products’ shelf life. It keeps the product from rotting and from becoming contaminated with fungi, yeast, or bacteria that can make people sick or cause rashes. After all, not everyone has a skincare fridge, right?
In essence, DMDM hydantoin is a formaldehyde donor. This means that a shampoo with DMDM hydantoin releases modest amounts of formaldehyde during the shelf life of a personal care or cosmetic product in order to function as a preservative and antimicrobial ingredient.
Keep in mind that exposure to formaldehyde, even in trace amounts, is hazardous over time (just like sodium lauryl sulfate). This ingredient has been known to be harmful to humans because it can cause cancer and, to a lesser extent, skin irritation.
Formaldehyde is mostly absorbed by inhalation and contact with the skin. When formaldehyde-containing cosmetics are applied to the hair or skin, it has the potential to enter your eyes and nose.
The class-action lawsuit class-action against Johnson & Johnson claims that the company’s OGX hair care products cause significant hair loss. Similarly, over a hundred consumers reported losing hair after using Tresemmé, a brand that includes DMDM hydantoin among their product (Keratin Smooth Color Shampoo) ingredients. DevaCurl, is likewise a target of class-action lawsuits. The product, according to its consumers, injured their scalps and caused their hair to fall out in clumps.
What do experts say about shampoo with DMDM hydantoin?
Cosmetic chemist Colin Sanders of Colin’s Beauty Pages explains that formaldehyde is a naturally-occurring substance. It is present in all living systems, from plants to animals to people. It metabolizes rapidly in the body, breaks down quickly, is not persistent, and does not accumulate in our body.
There is a wealth of toxicity data on it, and the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) has given it a clean bill of health at the low dose at which it is commonly taken.
In terms of context, it is said that the amount of formaldehyde released is comparable to naturally occurring amounts in a medium-sized pear.
Nonetheless, Colin still avoids using products, such as shampoo with DMDM hydantoin. Not pleased with formaldehyde donors, Colin believes it’s one of the skincare ingredients to avoid because there appears to be a risk that has not been explored.
Think about it: if you have a molecule that can penetrate into the skin and slowly release formaldehyde, there will be formaldehyde present for a lot longer than if you use the item neat. And the skin is unlikely to have acquired a defense mechanism to deal with this.
So should you only use a DMDM Hydantoin free shampoo? It may take years of comprehensive investigation to determine whether it is safe or whether it is one of the skincare ingredients to avoid in our routines.
That said, it’s now up to you to make the decision for your haircare rituals. You could take a look at our other article if you’d like to know more about shampoo without DMDM hydantoin.
So if you’re wondering whether your favorite shampoo brand has this ingredient (does Pantene have DMDM hydantoin?does Suave have DMDM hydantoin?), we’ve checked some of them according to information from INCIDecoder.
Remember that these are shampoo products so you won’t find conditioners or other products such as Pantene Curl Mousse or Pantene Pro-V Defined Curls Mousse.
That said, here are various brands of shampoo with DMDM hydantoin:
6 elements Vedalogy Oily Scalp Shampoo
AG Fast Food Sulfate-Free Shampoo
Ahava Mineral Shampoo
Alpecin Dandruff Killer Shampoo
Argani Care Arganicare Shampoo For Dull, Very Dry & Frizzy Hair – Argan & Coconut