Formaldehyde is a popular ingredient found in all kinds of personal care products. But according to scientists, it is also an extremely controversial chemical, which should be looked into.
In most of the cases, when buying a product, you don’t really know if formaldehyde is present as an ingredient. But when we think about the damages that it can cause, it is hey to know where can we find it, how to recognize it and figure out if it can do us any good.
So this article will answer all of your questions!
Let’s dive in!
In which products is formaldehyde used?
This compound has a vast range of application and is mainly used in several industries: construction, automobile, household products, and personal care industries.
- Companies use formaldehyde to produce different resins, which are key to the manufacturing of wooden materials. As it acts as a strong adhesive agent, it is also used for the production of strong glues, paints, and other temperature-proof and long-lasting materials.
- Businesses use formaldehyde for manufacturing cleaning products because of its bacteria-killing and sanitizing effect. You can often find it in household products, such as dishwashing and antibacterial liquids, soaps, wet wipes, disinfectants, fungicides, antiseptics, and others.
- Formaldehyde is used in health care products, such as pills, capsules, and vaccines. It acts as an anti-inflammatory agent and kills bacteria to prevent the development of diseases and viruses.
- Cosmetic brands use formaldehyde to produce goods, such as moisturizers, shampoos, conditioners, body lotions, creams, SPF sunscreens, etc. It acts as a preservative and prevents the growth of bacteria and germs in personal care products. This way, the breeding of fungus and other microorganisms is blocked, and the shelf life of the products is increased, reducing the risk of infections and contaminations.
Benefits of formaldehyde in cosmetics
Very similar to the sulfates, the formaldehyde is mainly beneficial to the companies, which use it as an ingredient in their products. It is cheap, and a small amount of it makes the goods more durable to temperatures, as well as increases their shelf life. This lowers the risk of any obsolete inventories and money loss.
However, formaldehyde is highly regulated chemical compound. That is why sometimes, the cosmetic companies do not directly use it as product ingredient. Instead, they use other ingredients, which, when reacting together, release formaldehyde molecules. This is the case because some people avoid the usage of formaldehyde in their cosmetics (you will understand why, in a few paragraphs below).
The companies take advantage of that, in order to advertise their products as “formaldehyde-free,” yet they benefit from the naturally released “preservative” molecules.
When you buy a cosmetic product, which claims to be “formaldehyde-free” always check the ingredients list (actually, it is better to always pay attention to it).
If any of the following ingredients are present, then the product is not as clean as it is advertised to be:
- imidazolidinyl urea
- Diazolidinyl urea
- Dimethylol urea (INCI)
- Polyoxymethylene melamine
- Polyoxymethylene urea
- Sodium hydroxymethyl‐glycinate
- DMDM hydantoin
- bronopol (2‐Bromo‐2‐nitropropane‐1,3‐diol)
- Melamine formaldehyde resins
- Benzylhemiformal (INCI)
- Bioban CS