Compared to some of the other skincare ingredients out there, allantoin doesn’t get much attention. It’s one that most people won’t have heard of, although it’s been used for years by numerous K-beauty brands. While you may be tempted to dismiss ingredients that you’re not quite familiar with, you definitely shouldn’t do this with allantoin. Here’s why…
Table of Contents
- 1 What is Allantoin?
- 2 The Skin Nourishing Benefits of Allantoin
- 3 Who Should Use Allantoin?
- 4 How to Add Allantoin to Your Skincare Routine
- 5 Does Allantoin Have Any Side Effects?
- 6 FAQs
- 7 Summary
What is Allantoin?
Also known as aluminum dihydroxy allantoinate, allantoin is a natural compound that can be found in a few specific plants. The comfrey plant (comfrey leaves in particular) is a good source, but chamomile, sugar beet, tobacco seed, and wheat sprouts also contain the ingredient.
While some skincare brands do turn to comfrey plants and wheat sprouts for their naturally-occurring allantoin content, most make use of lab-created allantoin. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as lab-created allantoin tends to be more stable and consistent, resulting in a higher quality product.
The Skin Nourishing Benefits of Allantoin
Allantoin is a true multi-tasker. It helps the skin in several different ways, and is one of those rare ingredients that can be used on all skin types.
Moisturizes Dry Skin
One of the main benefits of allantoin is the way in which it can help with skin hydration and moisturizing. It acts as an emollient, meaning that it has the ability to soften the skin and seal in moisture, preventing transepidermal water loss. This not only alleviates the appearance of dryness, but it can also treat the irritated and itchy skin that often accompanies the lack of moisture.
Exfoliates Dead Skin Cells
When it comes to dead skin cells, allantoin works in a similar way to alpha-hydroxy acids. It gently softens the hard top layer of dead skin cells on the surface of the skin, allowing the skin to shed them away. This leaves the skin smooth and bright.
Stimulates Collagen Production
As you probably know, collagen, which has been a beauty buzzword lately, is one of the key proteins responsible for keeping the skin firm and smooth. Sadly, skin protein production declines with age. Boosting this back up with the help of an allantoin cream or serum can help to bring back the smooth complexion of your youth.
Many also don’t realize that allantoin has antioxidant properties . This makes it effective at fighting free radicals in the skin, which would have otherwise damaged those all-important structural proteins we just mentioned.
Soothes Skin Irritation
When it comes to dealing with irritated skin, allantoin is what you need. It’s a common ingredient in creams designed to treat redness, irritation, and eczema, thanks to its moisturizing effects. Its anti-inflammatory properties  make it great for soothing skin irritation, especially when used in the form of a moisturizer that also contains vitamin E.
Speeds Up Skin Healing
Allantoin is an effective skin care ingredient for speeding up wound healing. Scientific evidence shows that it encourages cell proliferation , enabling the skin to produce new cells to replace the damaged ones. This is why you’ll find allantoin in skin care products designed to treat acne scars. From scar gel treatments to scar creams, it’s a great ingredient for reducing and preventing scarring, making it a must in an anti-acne regimen.
The skin-soothing properties of allantoin also contribute to its wound-healing capabilities. It reduces inflammation in the skin, which allows the skin to carry out its healing processes to full effect.
Who Should Use Allantoin?
Those with dry or sensitive skin should definitely consider products containing this ingredient, but just about everybody would benefit from using allantoin! In fact, many animals actually create their own version of this ingredient in their bodies. Uric acid, which is a waste product in the blood, is converted to allantoin via an enzymatic reaction. Sadly, humans (as well as higher apes and Dalmations) don’t have the enzyme required for this, which makes allantoin skincare even more important!
How to Add Allantoin to Your Skincare Routine
Allantoin is available in a variety of products, from moisturizers to soothing serums. You’ll also find that it’s being included in more and more sunscreen formulas – it helps to soothe skin reactions to other, harsher, sun-protecting ingredients.
If you don’t want to add another step to your skincare routine, you’ll also find allantoin available in powder form. This can then be added to your favourite products – you’ll be able to reap all of its soothing and moisturizing benefits without having to change your routine!
For those of you who would prefer to use skincare products that already contain the ingredient, keep in mind that allantoin may also be referred to as allantoin glycyrrhetinic acid.
Allantoin plays well with most other skincare ingredients. The exception would be exfoliating acids. Since allantoin also has an exfoliating effect, combining the ingredient with another AHA could prove to be too much for your skin to handle. That’s not to say that you need to give up your favorite exfoliants – just don’t use them at the same time as allantoin.
Does Allantoin Have Any Side Effects?
Allantoin is a soothing, non-toxic ingredient that very rarely has any side effects. However, allergic reactions are possible, especially if you’re using a natural, rather than a lab-produced, form of the ingredient. If you’re concerned about allergies or irritation, always perform a patch test first before using a new ingredient on the rest of your skin.
Can allantoin be used on sensitive skin?
Yes, allantoin can be used on every skin type, including sensitive skin. In fact, using soothing allantoin products can often help to reduce skin sensitivities, thanks to the way in which allantoin protects and moisturizes the skin.
Does allantoin lighten skin?
Although allantoin has exfoliating effects, it doesn’t actually lighten the skin. You would be better off turning to tried-and-tested skin-lightening ingredients and products.
What does allantoin do for scars?
Whether your scars are on your face or your body, allantoin will help to fade their appearance.
Is allantoin a retinoid?
No, allantoin is not a retinoid. However, you’ll find both retinoids and allantoin in many creams and other skincare products – the two work very well together.
Whether you’re dealing with dryness, roughness, dullness, sensitivities, or even wrinkles, allantoin can help. It’s an amazing multipurpose ingredient, and there really aren’t many of those out there. While allantoin may not be as common as some of the more famous skincare superstars, it’s an ingredient that we would definitely recommend seeking out.