Allergic Contact Dermatitis: Topical Preservatives, Part I

J. Desiree Douglas


Dermatology Nursing 

In This Article

Formaldehyde-releasing Preservatives

Formaldehyde is released by a number of preservatives. Although there are 42 formaldehyde-releasing preservatives (FRPs), only the top five will be discussed (De Groot et al., 2009). Quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, imidazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, and 2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1,3 diol are the five most common FRPs. These FRPs can cause ACD in patients with formaldehyde sensitivity because of the formaldehyde that is released or the preservative itself (Maier et al., 2009).

The amount of formaldehyde released into a product that is preserved with a FRP can vary. The level of free formaldehyde can be affected by factors such as the specific type of FRP, concentration of the FRP, and amount of water in the product. In order, the FRPs that releases the most formaldehyde are quaternium-15, diazolidinyl urea, DMDM hydantoin, imidazolidinyl urea (Frosch et al., 2006).