How similar are formaldehyde-releasers in terms of irritant contact dermatitis?

AnnaZAnnaZ Member
Hello everyone. I can't figure out the right search terms for Google to answer these questions, and my allergist, dermatologist and pharmacist are either unwilling or unable to provide specific guidance beyond "avoid all formaldehyde-releasers" for the rest of your life. 

I'm trying to guesstimate what ingredients I'm most likely sensitive to so that I can do some educated product testing. About a month ago, I developed irritant contact dermatitis on my scalp. I had been using the same shampoo and conditioner for seven years, both of which contained dmdm hydantoin, the presumed culprit given my allergy to diazolindinyl urea. I've always had hypersensitive skin, but I've never reacted to hair care products before.

I'm also allergic to p-phenylenediamene (glad I don't dye my hair), but not imidazolindinyl urea, quaternium-15, or formaldehyde. Given that result, does it seem likely that I'm sensitive to formaldehyde-releasers in general, and specifically, dmdm hydantoin? What about polyquaterniums?

When it comes to polyquats, how similar are they? If I react to a shampoo containing polyquaternium-7, what's the likelihood that a conditioner with polyquaternium-10 would also trigger a reaction? What about other polyquats, such as polyquaternium-47?

How long do polyquats (specifically 7 & 10) stay bonded to the hair? Do they rinse out with water or shampoo? Would their residual presence on the hair continue to trigger a reaction for a sensitized individual?

Also, if I'm allergic to diazolindinyl urea, what are the chances I'm also allergic or sensitive to allantoin?

Any other questions I should be asking?

Thank you for taking the time to read my very long post. I welcome any and all input, including links to other sources or recommended search terms for Dr. Google. I know this isn't normally the type of question answered on this forum. I typically come here because I love tinkering with moisturizers and serums. Hair care is way out of my comfort zone, and I'm truly at a loss for how to proceed.



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