Category: Ingredients We Avoid

Artificial Preservatives – DMDM Hydantoin / formaldehyde

DMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde)

Safe Cosmetics Australia explain that formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing ingredients are used in many personal care products, particularly in shampoos and liquid body soaps. These chemicals help prevent bacteria from growing in water-based products, but can be absorbed through the skin and have been linked to both skin sensitivity and cancer.  One of them is a preservative named DMDM Hydantoin which many cosmetics brands use in place of Parabens.

Product Safety Australia go on to confirm that low levels of formaldehyde can be found in many consumer products including cosmetics and personal care products like shampoos and conditioners, shower gels, liquid hand soaps, cream cleansers, skin moisturisers, toothpastes, nail hardeners, eyelash glues, and hair straightening solutions.

Exposure to low levels of formaldehyde does not present a serious health concern; however, continuous exposure to various cosmetics containing small amounts will combine to be an excessive amount and obviously excessive levels of formaldehyde is a safety concern, especially when used directly on people’s hair and skin.

Hazards: The adverse health effects associated with high levels of exposure to formaldehyde in cosmetic products includes:

  • sensory irritation
  • skin sensitisation
  • breathing difficulties
  • asthma, and
  • can cause cancer in circumstances where there is chronic high exposure.

carcinogen_sign.svgFormaldehyde has been classified as a Group 1 carcinogen by the World Health Organisation International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) as a chemical known to cause cancer in humans. Other names for formaldehyde include Formalin; Morbicid Acid; Methylene Oxide; Methylaldehyde and Methylene Glycol.

So rather than trying to find out what level of formaldehyde your hair shampoo or hair conditioner includes, why not avoid it entirely with EverEscents Organic Hair Care Range that is formaldehyde free.


Artificial Preservatives – Parabens

We know there are goodies and baddies in some things that we eat, touch, use on our bodies and inhale or absorb but when looking at a product how can you understand the label and decipher what are artificial preservatives and what are not, or more clearly “what are safe preservatives for me to use on my body and what are not?”.  The top 5 Artificial Preservatives we will NEVER use in any EverEscents Organic Hair Care products are Parabens, DMDM Hydantoin (Formaldehyde), Phenoxyethanol, Methylisothiazolinone (M.I.T) and Limonene.


parabens Sometimes known as ButylparabenEthylparaben, Heptylparaben, Methylparaben, PropylparabenParabens are chemicals used as preservatives, and that’s why they are found in so many products. They are used to fight bacteria and fungus, are widely available, and cost very little to manufacture and use. Nearly all of the parabens used as preservatives are man-made and not naturally occurring. 

Parabens can mimic the hormone estrogen, which is known to play a role in the development of breast cancers. Another concern is that the estrogen-mimic aspect of parabens may be a factor in the increasing prevalence of early puberty in girls.  Researchers have found parabens in breast tumors and believe there is a relationship between parabens and tumors. And in the July 2002 issue of the Archives of Toxicology, Dr. S. Oishi of the Department of Toxicology, Tokyo Metropolitan Research Laboratory of Public Health reported that exposure of newborn male mammals to butylparaben “adversely affects the secretion of testosterone and the function of the male reproductive system.” If a causal link between a chemical and cancer is not enough to avoid a product that can easily be avoided, I don’t know what is. There are a lot of other reports available all over the internet, but most of them are all related to reproductive health in some way or another.

Hazards:  Safe Cosmetics state that the Environmental Working Groups’s Skin Deep database, which compares cosmetic ingredients to over 50 international toxicity databases, indicates that parabens are linked to cancer, endocrine disruption, reproductive toxicity, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity and skin irritation.

So back to the initial question – what are parabens?  They are chemicals we need to work hard to avoid. Be sure to shop for paraben-free products and foods whenever possible, and always read the labels on the things you buy.

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