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Ingredient spotlight: What is allantoin?

Allantoin is gaining traction among skincare enthusiasts. Here’s why.

Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 5 min read
Medically reviewed by Laura Phelan, NP-C
allantoin ingredient in skincare
Curology Team Avatar
by Curology Team
Updated on Jul 7, 2023 • 5 min read
Medically reviewed by Laura Phelan, NP-C
We’re here to share what we know — but don’t take it as medical advice. Talk to your medical provider if you have questions.

Summary

Allantoin is a powerful ingredient for skincare fanatics looking to give their routine a hydrating boost. This potent plant extract is known in the skincare and beauty industry for its potential moisturizing, softening, and exfoliating properties.

Whether you have dry, itchy skin or are simply looking to smooth your complexion, allantoin may help. Here’s our breakdown of the many benefits of this ingredient, how to use it in your skincare routine, and its potential side effects to be aware of. If you’ve been wondering what allantoin is and how it may benefit your skin, we’ve got you covered.

All about allantoin

Allantoin is also known as aluminum dihydroxy allantoinate.¹ It’s a naturally occurring compound found in many plants and animals (including humans!). It’s also a normal component of human diets.²

Allantoin is most commonly extracted from the comfrey plant but can also be synthesized in a laboratory setting. As far as using allantoin for skin, this extract is known to potentially soften and moisturize, which can be helpful for those looking to improve skin dryness. For this reason, allantoin is a popular ingredient in many skincare products, such as lotions, creams, and shampoos.³ But its benefits don't stop there; allantoin has also displayed potential exfoliating properties, meaning it may help remove dead skin cells and improve the overall texture and appearance of the skin. 

What is allantoin used for?

Allantoin may be just what you need to give your skin some TLC. This potent plant extract has many benefits that may help you say goodbye to dry, rough patches and hello to smooth, soft skin. Potential allantoin benefits include the following: 

  • Skin conditioning:⁴ Allantoin may act as a natural conditioning agent, potentially improving the overall feel and appearance of the skin. 

  • Soothing: Allantoin may have a calming, soothing effect on the skin, making it great for dry skin or sensitive skin types.⁵ It may also reduce redness and inflammation. A study showed that a topical lotion that included allantoin as one of its ingredients was found to ease the dryness, inflammation, and itchiness associated with intertrigo.⁶

  • Enhanced wound healing: Got a minor cut or scrape? Allantoin may help speed up the healing process⁷ and even reduce scar formation.⁸

  • Softer skin: One of allantoin's primary benefits is its potential softening and moisturizing properties. Allantoin is a common ingredient in moisturizers.⁹

  • Exfoliation: When used in an ointment or cream, allantoin may accelerate the exfoliation of dead skin cells, making the skin smoother.¹⁰

  • Helping treat skin conditions: Products containing allantoin may be used to help treat chronic skin conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, or psoriasis.¹¹

How to use allantoin for skin 

Allantoin is a great ingredient to incorporate into nearly any skincare routine. It’s a naturally occurring compound with potential soothing, moisturizing properties, so it may be great for dry, sensitive, or irritated skin. Products containing allantoin can often be used daily, depending on the other ingredients in the product.

There are a number of products incorporating this ingredient. Here are a few options to consider:

  • Cleansers: Look for a cleanser that contains allantoin to help soothe and calm the skin while washing away dirt and oil.

  • Toners and serums: After cleansing, apply a toner or serum that contains allantoin to help hydrate and nourish the skin.

  • Moisturizers and creams: Try incorporating a moisturizer or cream with allantoin into your routine, particularly if you have dry or sensitive skin.

Products that contain allantoin

Skincare products containing allantoin have become increasingly popular in recent years. If you're looking to incorporate allantoin into your skincare routine, here are a few products to consider:

  • The Curology Cream Moisturizer: Formulated with a blend of allantoin and other nourishing ingredients to help hydrate and protect the skin, its ultra-creamy texture is perfect for dry, dehydrated complexions. 

  • The Curology Gel Moisturizer: With allantoin, glycerin, and hyaluronic acid to help hydrate and plump, it’s lightweight and buildable, making it easy to layer without having to worry about overdoing it.

  • Derma-E Scar Gel: This specialized treatment uses allantoin and other ingredients to help reduce the appearance of scars and promote healthy skin. 

  • Skinfix Eczema+ Extra Strength Body Cream: This powerful body moisturizer contains allantoin to help calm and moisturize dry, irritated skin. Dermatology providers recommend it for eczema-prone skin.

  • Sunday Riley CEO Afterglow Brightening Vitamin C Cream: This brightening cream combines allantoin with vitamin C and other brightening agents to help even out skin tone, plump and firm the skin, and enhance natural radiance.

  • Paula's Choice 10 Niacinamide Booster: This concentrated serum includes allantoin to help improve the appearance of pores, uneven skin tone, and fine lines. Sheer and lightweight, it promotes a more youthful appearance. 

  • Ilia C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40: This multi-tasking stabilized vitamin C serum includes allantoin and other ingredients to soothe and hydrate the skin while providing sun protection with SPF 40. 

Potential side effects of allantoin

When using allantoin for skin, side effects are relatively rare and it is considered a safe cosmetic ingredient.¹² According to our dermatology providers, allantoin is typically well-tolerated and non-irritating. That said, like any topical ingredient, it may cause an allergic reaction. If you’ve never used a product containing allantoin before and have concerns about a potential reaction, our experts recommend doing a patch test and waiting 24 hours to monitor for a reaction.

You can trust Curology’s experts 

Founded in 2014 by a board-certified dermatologist, we’re a skincare service offering products with proven-effective ingredients for treating acne, signs of aging, hyperpigmentation, and rosacea. Our experts help take the guesswork out of your skincare routine by providing a custom treatment plan and personalized prescription formula to help you meet your skin goals with powerful active ingredients such as azelaic acid, niacinamide, and tretinoin.

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Signing up is easy.* Just answer a few questions and snap some selfies to help us get to know your skin. If Curology is right for you, we’ll pair you with one of our in-house licensed dermatology providers. They’ll guide you on your skincare journey and answer any questions you may have.

FAQs

What is allantoin?

Allantoin is also known as aluminum dihydroxy allantoinate. It’s a naturally occurring compound found in many plants and animals (including humans!). Allantoin is a powerful ingredient for skincare fanatics looking to give their routine a hydrating boost. This potent plant extract is known in the skincare and beauty industry for its potential moisturizing, softening, and exfoliating properties.

What is allantoin used for?

Allantoin may be just what you need to give your skin some TLC. Allantoin may act as a natural conditioning agent, potentially improving the overall feel and appearance of the skin. Allantoin may have a calming, softening, and soothing effect on the skin. It may also help reduce redness and inflammation.

What are the potential side effects of using allantoin?

When using allantoin for skin, side effects are relatively rare and it is considered a safe cosmetic ingredient. According to our dermatology providers, allantoin is typically well-tolerated and non-irritating. That said, like any topical ingredient, it may cause an allergic reaction. If you’ve never used a product containing allantoin before and have concerns about a potential reaction, our experts recommend doing a patch test and waiting 24 hours to monitor for a reaction.

• • •

P.S. We did the homework so you don’t have to:

  1. Sethi A, et al. Moisturizers: The Slippery Road. Indian J Dermatol. (May-June 2016).

  2. Allantoin. National Center for Biotechnology Information. (2022).

  3. Elżbieta, S. Allantoin - Healing and anti-inflammatory properties. ResearchGate. (2012).

  4. Becker, L.C., et al. Final report of the safety assessment of allantoin and its related complexes. Int J Toxicol. (2010).

  5. Elżbieta, S. Allantoin - Healing and anti-inflammatory properties. ResearchGate. Ibid.

  6. Leeyaphan, C., et al. A randomized controlled trial to compare the effectiveness and safety of adsorbent lotion containing tapioca starch, spent grain wax, Butyrospermum parkii extract, argania spinosa kernel oil, aloe barbadensis, rosehip oil, and allantoin with a low-potency topical corticosteroid in the treatment of intertrigo. J Cosmet Dermatol. (2022).

  7. Araújo, L.U., et al. Profile of wound healing process induced by allantoin. Acta Cir Bras. (2010).

  8. An investigation into multifaceted mechanisms of action of allantoin in wound healing. Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology. (2017).

  9. Rodan, K., et al. Skincare Bootcamp: The Evolving Role of Skincare. Plast Reconstr Surg Glob Open. (2016).

  10. Elżbieta, S. Allantoin - Healing and anti-inflammatory properties. ResearchGate. Ibid.

  11. Elżbieta, S. Allantoin - Healing and anti-inflammatory properties. ResearchGate. Ibid.

  12. Becker, L.C., et al. Final report of the safety assessment of allantoin and its related complexes. Int J Toxicol. Ibid.

Laura Phelan is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner at Curology. She earned her Masters of Science in Nursing at Benedictine University and went on to get her post-master’s certificate as a Family Nurse Practitioner at the University of Cincinnati.

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• • •
Our medical review process:We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Our policy on product links:Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
Curology Team Avatar

Curology Team

Image of Laura Phelan Nurse Practitioner

Laura Phelan, NP-C

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