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Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is a preservative derived from the naturally occurring amino acid, glycine. It is often used in cosmetics and skin care products as a natural alternative to parabens, although the process used to create Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate requires synthetic actions. It is considered an effective preservative because of its ability to cover a broad spectrum of microbes and protect formulas against bacteria, yeast and mold. Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is used at extremely low concentrations between .1% to 1% and is seen in skin care products, as well as in hair conditioners (Treasured Locks and TruthInSkincare.com).
Safety Measures/Side Effects:
The Cosmetics Database has found Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate to be a low hazard ingredient, and non-irritating, nonsensitizing, non-toxic by skin absorption and non-mutagenic. However, even at concentrations less than 1%, this ingredient has been shown to cause skin and eye irritation and may be more irritating than the parabens it is replacing.
Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate also has the potential to be contaminated with formaldehyde, and can also break down into formaldehyde, a known carcinogen, toxin and irritant that is rated as a high hazard by the EWG. However, this is not considered to be a frequent occurrence, and the amounts of formaldehyde resulting from Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate is negligible.
According to TruthInSkinCare.com, "One of the inherent properties of using this preservative is that is really does smell bad, which sometimes can lead product makers to dilute it too much (where it loses it's effectiveness) or to use additional masking agents to overpower the rancid smell of this ingredient in the product."
Recommended Products w/ Sodium Hydroxymethylglycinate:
Jack Black Sun Guard Ultra Light Spray Sunscreen, Stem Organics Exfoliant, Sircuit Skin’s White Out, Natural Instinct Natural Foaming Facial Cleanser, Astara Blue Flame Purification Mask, REN Zostera Marina Comfort Cleansing Milk, Enjoy Sulfate-Free Hydrating Shampoo and Conditioner, Sukin Foaming Facial Cleanser