It's crazy to think that the same stuff used to preserve that poor frog you were forced to dissect in high school biology is often used in your cosmetics and body care products as... you guessed it, a preservative! Thats right, formaldehyde and formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs) are used in many personal care products like nail polish, shampoo and liquid soap. And it's even scarier than it sounds – these chemicals can be absorbed through the skin and have been linked to allergic skin reactions and cancer.
People can be exposed by inhaling the formaldehyde that is off-gassed from the product, by ingesting it or by absorbing it through the skin. While there's more research happening all the time, animal studies have indicated that formaldehyde can be absorbed through the skin when formaldehyde-containing personal care products, including FRPs, are applied.
So what can you do? Read labels and avoid products containing the following ingredients: Formaldehyde, quaternium-15, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea, diazolidinyl urea, sodium hydroxymethylglycinate, 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3-diol (bromopol).
We were surprised to find out that several companies are still using FRPs. In addition to the cancer issue, Formaldehyde in cosmetics is widely understood to cause allergic skin reactions and rashes in some people. They're commonly found in nail polish, nail glue, eyelash glue, hair gel, hair-smoothing products, baby shampoo, body soap, body wash, color cosmetics and even wipes. Yes, wipes! (Um, never our wipes though, don't worry.) We were researching different wipe formulas and were shocked to see FRPs listed among the ingredients, which sparked hours of google searches and this blog post. So... choose wisely!