NOW READING Allantoin 101: The Skin-Healing, Hydrating, Exfoliating Do-It-All Ingredient You Need
June 26, 2019

Allantoin 101: The Skin-Healing, Hydrating, Exfoliating Do-It-All Ingredient You Need

It’s one of those ingredients you see all over skincare ingredient lists, but you may not be sure exactly what it is. Is it a preservative? Is it a chemical? Good news: It’s exactly what you need.


 

Hey! It’s ya girl, Sheryll, back with another ingredient 101. I love doing these deep dives into skincare ingredients — I learn something, you learn something, we all learn something!

 

Today’s ingredient of choice? Allantoin.

 

What is it?

 

Allantoin is a chemical compound found in the root of the comfrey or chamomile plant (and it can be made synthetically as well). Yes, it is a chemical (GASP). FYI, everything is a chemical so don’t let people scare you away from ingredients that are known to work. By the way, allantoin is known for its incredible skin soothing, skin repairing, and skin hydrating properties. It’s one of those ingredients that’s fairly straightforward. It works for all skin types and isn’t typically an allergen.

 

allantoin
istock/kazmulka

 

What’s it do?

 

Like I said earlier, allantoin is known for its hydrating and skin soothing properties. But it goes a bit deeper than that. Let’s make a list.

 

Heals and soothes

 

Allantoin is both an anti-inflammatory and anti-irritant. It can help heal and treat wounds, eczema, burns, cuts, redness, and dermatitis. If you have sensitive skin, allantoin is gonna be bae!

 

Increases water in skin

 

Allantoin helps increase the level of water in between the cells. What does this mean? Well, it strengthens your moisture barrier and softens the skin, which promotes soft, hydrated, and strong skin. When your skin is “softened” and has more space in between the cells, it can absorb more water = more resilient skin. Mo water, no problems.

 

Exfoliates

 

Yes, allantoin can also slough off those pesky dead skin cells. If you could compare it to another ingredient, it’s somewhat similar to salicylic acid, except that it offers way more in the soothing and hydrating department. It’s like its cozy, warm cousin. Slather me in allantoin, tbh.

 

skincare adulting allantoin
istock/RomarioIen

 

Hydrates and moisturizes

 

Allantoin both hydrates and moisturizes dry and combination skin. It does this by encouraging your skin cells to regenerate faster, which in turn can fix damaged moisture barriers, which means all of your precious oils and water isn’t just casually escaping from your damaged barrier. This also means your skin looks more radiant and plump. What a mood.

 

Increases the lifespan of worms?!?!

 

In a study done by the University of Liverpool, researchers found that allantoin can mimic the effects of a calorie restricted diet. It’s been shown that calorie restricted diets can help people live longer, and when worms were treated with allantoin, it increased their lifespan by 20%. What does this mean for your skin? It’s not clear, but slathering on a cream with allantoin can’t hurt, right?!

 

Allantoin in your skincare

 

You’re likely to find allantoin in moisturizers, cleansers, toners, and serums that are water-based. Why is that? Because it’s a water-based compound, so it doesn’t mix well with oil-based products. It can only be emulsified with oils, kinda like mayonnaise, which is amazing and delicious.

 

One more thing: If you’re browsing your skincare ingredient list and you see allantoin allllllllll the way down the list, have no fear. Allantoin is one of those ingredients that works in the smallest concentrations. You don’t need a lot to make that skin get its life, OK!

 

Now that you know what it is, are you going to seek it out in your skincare products? Let me know in the comments!

 

 

 

Sheryll Donerson got her start as a beauty writer by writing K-beauty reviews for her blog, The Wanderlust Project. These days, she's lifting heavy weights, eating tacos, drinking (too much) coffee and is 1/4 of the beauty podcast, Beauty Beyond Basics (or Triple Bees for short). You can find her on Instagram and Twitter at @sheryllrenata.

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COMMENTS 1

jane0elaine

Fascinating. I don't think I've ever seen allantoin listed as an ingredient, but now that I'm learning about it-- I have tabs open for my own deep dive-- I think I need it in my life.

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