You know the whole “parabens are the devil” thing?
It’s total nonsense. I’ve debunked it all here.
But, there’s one thing I’ve forgotten to touch on. Formaldehyde.
Parabens, those little preservatives that keep your cosmetics safe from germs and bacteria, are often accused of releasing this nasty stuff.
Is that true or is it just another thing parabens wrongly take the blame for?
Do Parabens Release Formaldehyde?
First things first: what the heck is formaldehyde?
The stuff used to embalm dead bodies and preserve dead things. Yes, it’s gross. Toxic. Carcinogenic, even.
FYI, your body’s making it, too.
I’m not kidding. Your body does produce a tiny amount of formaldehyde during essential metabolic processes. Like, when it makes certain amino acids.
You honestly couldn’t live if your body didn’t do that. But that doesn’t mean formaldehyde is good. You may need the tiniest amount to survive but you don’t want to come into contact with more formaldehyde than you need to.
The good news? Parabens do NOT release formaldehyde. There’s no shed of proof they do. You can use them safely.
Related: Why Science Says Parabens Are Safe To Use
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What Preservatives Do Release Formaldehyde?
So, why do people think that parabens release formaldehyde?
Probably cos of their bad rep, they must have been added by mistake in the list of preservatives that DO release formaldehyde.
Yep, parabens may be innocent here, but some preservatives do release formaldehyde.
Before you start to panic, these preservatives release only the tiniest amount. That’s more than enough to kill the germs and bacteria that, somehow, find their way into your lotions and potions. But, that’s not enough to kill you.
So, I guess we could say they’re safe.
Kind of. They won’t give you cancer, but they may irritate your skin. Especially if it’s sensitive.
So, what preservatives do release formaldehyde?
- DMDM Hydantoin
- Diazolidinyl Urea
- Imidazolidinyl Urea
Related: Parabens Alternatives: Which Ones Are Safe And Effective?
Should You Avoid Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservatives?
As I said, they won’t kill you. But, they may irritate your skin. I personally try to avoid them whenever possible because I think there are gentler alternatives around. And, if those exist, why not use them?
Related: Alternatives To Parabens: Which Are Both Safe And Effective?
The Bottom Line
Parabens don’t release formaldehyde. But, other preservatives do. If you have sensitive skin that reacts badly to anything, avoid them.
Do you use products with formaldehyde-releasing preservatives, or do you prefer to stay away from them? Share your thoughts in the comments below.