Is DMDM Hydantoin Safe to Use on Fungal Acne (Malassezia Folliculitis) Prone Skin?

Is dmdm hydantoin fungal acne safe?

While DMDM Hydantoin appears to be safe for fungal acne, it has been cautioned because of other potentially irritating or harmful properties that could affect certain skin types. Continue reading for more information and to find out why.

What is fungal acne?

Malassezia: Maa · luhz·z · eye · a
Folliculitis: Fo · luh · kyoo· lai · tuhs

Fungal acne is a skin condition that happens when the hair follicles in the skin get invaded by yeast. This invasion can lead to an infection known as malassezia folliculitis.

As a result, small "acne-like" pimples develop, along with burning and skin irritation.

Because both common and fungal acne can occur at the same time, these small bumps are frequently mistaken for true acne. Except for the fact that fungal acne itches a lot, which isn't a common symptom of regular acne (acne vulgaris).

Due to this confusion in appearance, fungal acne can go misdiagnosed and unresolved for years.

We cover fungal acne in greater details here

What’s the difference between fungal acne and regular acne?

The major difference between fungal acne and regular acne is that fungal acne is caused by Malassezia a yeast/fungus, while regular acne (acne vulgaris) is caused by bacteria.

Fungal acne is often misdiagnosed as regular acne because they look somewhat alike. Bacterial acne breakouts often vary in size and feature blackheads or whiteheads. Conversely, fungal acne usually appear as uniform red papules and pustules on the chest, back, upper arms or face.

2 Benefits of DMDM Hydantoin (hydantoins) in Cosmetics

  • Preservative
  • Antimicrobial

This ingredient should be avoided by those with sensitive skin and those allergic to DMDM Hydantoin to avoid any potential adverse skin reactions.

Additional notes on dmdm hydantoin in our database:

FS Tips

A preservative with an antibacterial formaldehyde releaser. People exposed to formaldehyde-releasing substances may acquire a formaldehyde allergy and allergies to the component and its breakdown products. In terms of safety considerations, this preservative isn't the "cleanest" around. As a result, If possible, we recommend opting for better preservation agents instead of DMDM Hydantoin. The FDA's database of common allergens identified in cosmetic products also lists this ingredient as an allergen.

Ingredient Rating, Findings & Safety

After review, The Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel concluded that DMDM Hydantoin is generally safe for cosmetics in the present practices of use and concentration.

The Environmental Working Group (EWG) score for DMDM Hydantoin is: 6, a range that is considered Moderate Hazard.

Chemical Safety

Irritation Concerns
This compound has been labelled as causing skin irritation by the Globally Harmonized System of Classification and Labeling of Chemicals. You can view the classification record here

Does dmdm hydantoin cause or feed fungal acne?

Malassezia is a fungus that depends on lipids—think oils—to grow. DMDM Hydantoin is a chemical compound that is not lipid-based. Therefore, it is not likely for the yeast (Malassezia) to thrive and grow on DMDM Hydantoin.

Can DMDM Hydantoin Treat Fungal Acne?

Is DMDM Hydantoin an antifungal?

No, DMDM Hydantoin is not an antifungal agent. This suggests that it may be unable to combat and eliminate the fungus responsible for fungal acne from the skin.

Can DMDM Hydantoin Treat Acne (Acne Vulgaris)?

DMDM Hydantoin does not contain any properties that can eliminate acne-causing bacteria. This means that dmdm hydantoin might not be able to get rid of regular acne pimples on its own.

Adapalene, Tretinoin, Lactobacillus Ferment Lysate, Glycyrrhiza Glabra (Licorice) Root Extract, Benzoyl Peroxide, on the other hand, have been shown to reduce or destroy C. acnes, the bacteria that causes common acne.

The following products can effectively get rid of acne-causing bacteria (acne vulgaris) while also being free of fungal acne triggers. As a result, they are ideal for treating regular acne without causing any fungal overgrowth:

Differin Adapalene Gel 0.1% Acne Treatment
COSRX BHA Blackhead Power Liquid
Humane Body And Face Wash 10% Benzoyl Peroxide
SOME BY MI AHA. BHA. PHA 30 Days Miracle Toner
BIODERMA Sebium Sensitive Soothing Anti-Blemish Care
COSRX AHA 7 Whitehead Power Liquid

What Kills Fungal Acne?

Antifungal agents are the most effective treatment for fungal acne anywhere on the body, including the scalp, arms, chest, back, forehead, cheeks, chin, and t-zone.

The most commonly used topical antifungals to treat stubborn fungal folliculitis include ketoconazole, selenium sulfide, zinc pyrithione, and climbazole.

Regular anti-dandruff shampoos and body washes contain these ingredients. So, depending on where you live, starting with these agents can be as simple as going to your local drug store and buying them without a prescription.

Ingredients to Look For If You Have Fungal Acne

If you struggle with fungal acne, you need to use products with ingredients that can combat and alleviate the symptoms of this skin condition.

Below is a short list of the most popular skincare ingredients to look for if you are prone to developing fungal acne bumps/pustules.

These ingredients include: Ketoconazole, Zinc Pyrithione, Boric Acid, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil, Salicylic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Mandelic Acid, Sulfur, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Piroctone Olamine.

To know which other ingredients can inhibit the growth of fungal acne, you can always check more ingredients in our fungal acne ingredient checker.

Ingredients to Avoid If You Have Fungal Acne

There are many popular skincare ingredients that you should avoid if your skin is prone to yeast based acne breakouts.

These potentially harmful ingredients include, but are not limited to Polysorbate 20, PEG-40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Cetearyl Alcohol, Glyceryl Stearate, Butyrospermum Parkii (Shea Butter) Fruit, PEG-60 Hydrogenated Castor Oil, Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil, Rosa Canina (Rosehip) Seed Oil, Persea Gratissima (Avocado) Oil, Stearic Acid.

There are still more fungal acne-triggering ingredients in skincare products. To know which potential harmful ingredients you should avoid, you can always check more ingredients with our fungal acne skincare ingredient checker.

What are effective fungal acne treatments at home?

To effectively treat fungal acne at home, you need to use potent, fast-acting antifungal agents that disrupt the cell membranes of the fungus and cause the fungal spore to dry up and die.

These fungal acne at-home treatments should also facilitate gentle exfoliation and rapid cell turnover to remove the dried-up fungus cells from the surface of the skin.

Anti-dandruff shampoos that contain effective fungicidals like Ketoconazole, Zinc Pyrithione, Boric Acid, Nigella Sativa (Black Cumin) Seed Oil, Salicylic Acid, Melaleuca Alternifolia (Tea Tree) Leaf Oil, Mandelic Acid, Sulfur, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Piroctone Olamine can be really good at-home treatments for fungal acne.

Furthermore, Malassezia has been linked to other skin conditions such as pityriasis versicolor and seborrheic dermatitis, both of which can be treated with these over-the-counter medications. As a result, these antifungal products are ideal for personal use at home.

Here are a few products that contain ingredients that are effective against the fungal acne causing yeast malassezia:


DMDM Hydantoin appears to be safe for malassezia folliculitis (fungal acne).

In addition, DMDM Hydantoin has antimicrobial properties.

However, we have flagged it as use with caution due to the following properties.

Allergen – substances that cause an allergic reaction often resulting in the appearance of itchy, red rashes on the skin – or contact dermatitis.

Bottom line, we recommend avoiding this compound if you are sensitive skin.

We do our best to keep our ingredient library up to date and accurate; however, if you have any suggestions or other relevant information that you believe should be included on this page, please let us know.

You can find links to any supporting studies or research material below, if they are available.

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