Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservative



No known benefits

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservative description

Common type of preservative found in cosmetics. Despite some claims, there is no higher level of skin reaction to formaldehyde-releasing preservatives than to other preservatives. In fact, there is a far greater risk to skin from a product without preservatives, because of the contamination and unchecked growth of mold that can result if no preservatives are used. However, there is concern that when formaldehyde-releasing preservatives are present in a formulation that also includes amines, such as triethanolamine (TEA), diethanolamine (DEA), or monoethanolamine (MEA), nitrosamines can be formed. Nitrosamines are harmful substances that can potentially penetrate skin. Whether or not that poses a health risk of any kind has not been established.

Formaldehyde-Releasing Preservative references

  • British Journal of Dermatology, March 1998, pages 467-476
  • Fundamentals and Applied Toxicology, August 1993, pages 213-221

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


We couldn't find this in our ingredient dictionary. We log all missing ingredients and make continuous updates.

Not Rated