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DMDM Hydantoin

Today's Chemical:

DMDM Hydantoin

EWG Risk Score:


Why it's a risk:

The biggest concern that DMDM Hydantoin carries is that it can release or be contaminated with the carcinogen formaldehyde. It actually works as a preservative by releasing formaldehyde. It is also a strong skin, eye, and lung irritant. It has also been known to trigger an immune response that can include burning, itching, blistering, or scaling of skin.

Types of products it's in:

Shampoo, bodywash, sunscreen, hand lotion, facial moisturizers, baby wipes

Brands that use this chemical:

These are the brands we are currently aware of as of the date of this post. If you see a correction is needed or if you have other companies you would like to mention using this ingredient please post it in the "comments" at the bottom of this Chemical of the Day.


DDF Organic


Bumble & Bumble (Not Bubble & Bee!)


Desert Essence


Irish Spring



Steph's Opinion: Isn't it interesting that these brands have built a reputation for being gentle and safe but they'll use a preservative like DMDM Hydantion?! Think of this the next time you see their commercial...yes, Dove may not leave soap scum, but it'll outgas formaldehyde! And in baby wipes! It's just sad when there are other safer preservatives that don't leave traces of carcinogens.





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Reader Comments (47)

i looked at the liquid face cleanser of dessert essence and i did not notice this ingredient on their package. but i did notice that dial liquid soap has this chemical in it.

Sun, July 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterlori-anne

What I am shocked about is that this ingredient is present in BASQ maternity "safe" products. What a shame.

Tue, February 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatalja!/group.php?gid=299127302038

Fri, February 12, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterCindy Helgason

I have just finally been cleaning out my cupboards of old product since I have not been using the "old stuff" for months now and I have also been rechecking the new "good" products that I switched to using. On my bottle of apricot lotion from Pure Life Soap Co I found Hydantoin (0.05%) as the last ingredient so I just came to look it up. It does not have DMDM in front of it.... is there a difference? Does all Hydantoin release formaldehyde or is it just that it's very common for contamination?

Sun, July 4, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbranduin

Hydantoin (without the DMDM) is not a formaldehyde donor, however, it is a heterocyclic organic compound with the potential to be an estrogen mimicker.

Tue, July 6, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

Thanks Stephanie! I guess I will probably finish out this bottle of lotion and then get myself some body butta or a lotion stick! I really find I am not using lotion very much now since switching from my old body wash and hand soaps and just using your soap anyway! It seemed like I used to *need* it all the time but now my skin feels so much healthier!

Tue, July 6, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbranduin

That's great news! Thanks Branduin!

Tue, July 6, 2010 | Registered Commenter[Stephanie Greenwood]

If you do not see DMDM in the ingredient list of your healthcare products it may simply be because DMDM has approximately 20+ different probably is in your products and you just don't know it.

Sat, March 19, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJames

I know Garnier Fructis uses it. In fact, their hair mousse I bought by them is what caused me to find out about this ingredient and consequently make the switch to natural products.

Sat, March 26, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterCat

There is also a 'hunter scent control spray' made by 'Dead Down Wind that has only 3 ingredients and DMDM is one. Brings new meaning to the brand name, eh?

Fri, July 15, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterDon

Recent purchase of a bottle of body lotion called Prescription Care and does not require a dr's prescription is misleading. One ingredient is: Hydantoin without DMDM in front of it. Is it safe? Especially for anyone who had a skin disorder? Why doesn't FDA disapprove?

Wed, September 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterfd

I have noticed that the Olive Replenishing Oil sold by 'Serious Skin' has DMDM Hydantoin listed in its ingredients. Someone recommended this product, but these days I don't take people's word for anything anymore. Thanks for your blog. I am truly horrified at how toxic many of the products I have previously used are. Now I understand why I am having skin problems!

Tue, November 1, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJuliet Bonnay

Fruit of the Earth has it in their Aloe Vera 100% Gel (as a preservative)

Wed, November 2, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterJazz

I was using a product line from Whole Foods by Surya Brasil called Color Fixation Restorative Line (shampoo, conditioner etc.) that contains DMDM Hydanation & I informed the regional manager who said that this was unacceptable. Several months later they still carry this product line. WHAT??? I was so disappointed. I figure "Whole Foods" is still "Corporate" & the goal of many corporations is $$$$. Period. I am fortunate to have a Co-op market which is for the people & they would & have never carried things of this nature. My opinion is support a Co-op Market if you have one & your local farmer's market for produce etc. They don't have "greed" in there eyes. Also, maybe order from small natural businesses online or find a natural food store other than Whole Food & never go to any other grocery store because they are even worse (i.e. Vons, Ralphs etc.). I appreciate these types of websites so.... Thank you!!!

Sat, November 5, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKim

I have asthma and it was only about a year ago, when I was constantly having trouble breathing that I came across info on chemicals that triggered it. The one I narrowed it down to, for me, was DMDM. It was in a new, organic shampoo that I had been using (and sadly, loving!) I cannot remember the name at this time - possibly Bio Infusions?
Yesterday I was having major trouble again. Finally realized it was a different lotion than I normally used. JERGENS lotion. It is also in V05 shampoo.
I normally use Curel lotion and have never had a problem with it, my bottle does not list it as an ingredient.

Sun, November 13, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLisa

Thanks for your informative help with chemicals in our products. DMDM Hydantoin is in TRESemme, Luxurious Moisture Shampoo and Conditioner. I received a sample of each in today's mail. I did call and gave feedback about it. I hope people do politely let manufacturers know that we need safer products.
Lee S.

Fri, December 9, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterLee S

Just bought V05 Repair and protect conditioner today and decided to look up the ingredients to make sure it doesn't contain silicones. It doesn't contain silicones but it does contain dmdm hydantoin! I will have a look around your site while I'm here. I have very sensitive dry skin and have been using Dove soap per my doctors recommendation. I believe I need to examine all of my products! Glad I found this site. Thanks for the information.

Sun, January 8, 2012 | Unregistered Commenteralysia

I just purchased Mary Kay Timewise night solution and its disappointing to read the ingredients .. There's not only DMDM Hydantoin but methylparaben and titanium dioxide.. The terrific part is, Mary Kay is supported with "The Good Housekeeping Seal of Approval".. I think GHSofA better research these ingredients before they label moisturizers that disrupt our hormones, are known to cause cancer in animals, banned in European products and the negative list goes on and on. Makes you consider your life insurance policy.

Thu, January 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterH.Taylor

So what are the other safe preservatives?

Wed, February 1, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAlby

Its also in TRESemme' conditioner

Sun, February 26, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterJ. Martin

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