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CHECK THE LABEL:​ Hyde Behind the Label

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Hyde Behind the Label

If I asked you what your refrigerator contains, would you be able to list each grocery item completely? Would you be able to recall every condiment, vegetable, and protein from memory? Now what if I told you that it was actually logical to find your shampoo and conditioner inside your refrigerator? Weird, right? Not to mention that you most probably wouldn’t be willing to go to your refrigerator everyday to retrieve your personal products and return them to your refrigerator after use, am I right?

In truth, this would have been the case with beauty products if not for the convenience of having them within our reach every time we go to the bathroom to conduct our daily rituals. Without preservatives, most body products would spoil due to bacterial and fungal growth, especially creams and lotions. But because most consumers expect to store their body products and cleaning products in their cabinets and in their showers, manufactures have been forced to include preservatives in their products.

One of the most commonly used chemicals known to act as a preservative is formaldehyde. But because formaldehyde is highly toxic to our immune and nervous system, most of all a frank carcinogen, i.e., directly cancer causing, manufacturers know better than to include the ‘2015 Allergen of the Year’ (by the American Contact Dermatitis Society) in the list of ingredients in their products. Unfortunately for the unsuspecting consumer, these ever so clever manufacturers pulled formaldehyde from their formulations and replaced it with what is called a formaldehyde releaser. All better now? Not quite. Because formaldehyde releasers decompose to produce formaldehyde that act as preservatives for body products, shampoos, and cleaning products. In other words, the manufacturers have not pulled formaldehyde at all but simply cloaked it.

In as much as formaldehyde releasers are antimicrobial and antifungal in nature, they are also known to be irritating to sensitive skin. They can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat, create mucosal decongestion, create serious respiratory problems, and expose you to risk for cancer. Formaldehyde enhances and can cause skin irritation commonly known as eczema, which is characterized by skin drying, cracking, reddening, and even blistering is some cases. The worst thing about formaldehyde releasers is that the longer these ingredients age, the more formaldehyde they release and the more toxic your product becomes. Just imagine the potential damage that can be done to your body by some of the products you have that have been sitting in your home for years.

Two of the most common formaldehyde releasers are DMDM-Hydantoin and Diazolidinyl Urea.


DMDM-hydantoin is an antimicrobial, organic compound appearing as a solid white crystalline that releases formaldehyde to work as a preservative in hair care and skin care products specifically anti-aging, hair coloring, hair conditioner, foundations, makeup base, and facial moisturizer. DMDM-hydantoin prevents the cosmetic products from bacterial spoilage, accumulating molds, and mildews. The other name or trade name of this chemical in the market is Glydant. This ingredient is restricted for use in cosmetics in Japan due to safety concerns that it may cause tissue irritation and also may interfere with immunity. This ingredient is said to be carcinogenic in large doses.

Diazolidinyl Urea

Diazolidinyl Urea is a mild sensitizer, fine, white powder used in personal care and cosmetics products. The synthetic urea is found in hair coloring products, diuretics, and dermatological products offering skin rehydration functions. This has been identified as a potential skin and tissue irritant.

Just as Mr. Hyde conceals himself under the guise of Dr. Jekyll, these formaldehyde releasers hide behind the labels of common beauty and household products. Let us then be extra cautious and overly vigilant in watching out for such chemicals lest they catch us off-guard and incrementally contaminate our systems with cancer-causing agents, leaving us utterly defenseless in the deadly hands of Fate.






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