Allantoin For Skin: A Comprehensive Guide








Reference Lab

SEPT 30, 2022



If you’re diligent about checking the ingredient label, you may notice allantoin popping up repeatedly in your skin care products. Allantoin is almost ubiquitous in skin care products today, and for a good reason. This blog will introduce you to allantoin and its many great benefits for your skin, especially its ability to smooth and moisturize.

What is allantoin?

Allantoin is a naturally occurring organic compound in many plants, including comfrey, horse chestnut, bearberry, and aloe vera, as it plays an important role in nitrogen regulation. Additionally, allantoin plays a role in excreting nitrogen through the urine of many mammals. Interestingly, humans and other higher-apes don’t use allantoin for nitrogen excretion1. Because natural sources are limited, the most common form of allantoin in products is chemically-synthesized allantoin. Synthesized allantoin is identical to that found in nature and is non-toxic and safe for topical applications. By synthesizing allantoin in bulk, we can meet the worldwide demand for allantoin without utilizing animal-derived sources2.

Why is allantoin used in topical skin products?

Why should you look for skin care products with allantoin as an ingredient? Allantoin is widely used because it’s non-toxic, safe, and highly effective at hydrating, soothing, and smoothing the skin3. All skin texture types need this, whether sensitive skin, oily skin, dry skin, irritated skin, or combination skin. You will find many products formulated with allantoin and other helpful ingredients like ceramides for your skin . If you’re wondering how to improve skin texture , consider using products with allantoin.

What are the benefits of allantoin on the skin?

Allantoin promotes skin health through the following benefits:


Skin Hydration

Due to the hygroscopic nature of allantoin, it serves as a humectant, increasing the water uptake into the outer layers of skin. Allantoin has also been shown to reduce transepidermal water loss (TEWL), helping the skin retain its hydration from within. This hydration also serves to soothe dry, irritated skin4.


Smoothing and Exfoliation

Allantoin is a keratolytic agent, meaning it aids in the shedding of dead skin cells by thinning and softening keratin. This causes the cells to loosen and shed, which helps coax younger skin cells to the surface. The exchange of dead skin cells for healthy, youthful skin helps prevent infections from building a foothold as it also washes away any bacteria found in those outer layers of skin5. This younger undamaged skin also retains its water content more efficiently, thereby increasing how soft and smooth skin feels6. Because of its soothing properties, it's also good for hair care, especially for the scalp.


Wound Healing and Scar Reduction

Allantoin also aids in extracellular matrix synthesis and stimulates fibroblasts, producing collagen, a crucial compound for healthy skin. These two processes are key to the wound healing process, making allantoin helpful in reducing the time it takes for skin to heal. This is also what makes allantoin effective at reducing the visibility of scars7.


Healthy Aging

One of the primary causes of wrinkles and fine lines is the decrease in collagen production that occurs with age, leading to decreased skin elasticity. Because allantoin effectively increases collagen production within the skin, it is a common ingredient for promoting healthy aging and skin elasticity8.
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What are the side effects of using allantoin?

Most users, especially those with sensitive or dry skin, find little issue with using allantoin as it reduces irritation and provides a general soothing effect. While negative reactions to allantoin are rare, if you’re new to using allantoin, it is always good practice to test on a small patch of skin to determine whether you have a sensitivity or allergy. Allantoin is a mild exfoliator; therefore, combining it with other exfoliating ingredients, such as alpha and beta hydroxy acids, may lead to over-exfoliation, resulting in redness or irritation9.

Is allantoin meant to be used by all skin types?

Because allantoin is non-comedogenic and generally soothing and hydrating, all skin types can benefit from its usage, though those with drier skin may find it more useful. Additionally, allantoin has been reported to help those with mild to moderate eczema or acne-prone skin due to its hydration factor.

Does allantoin support acne-prone skin in particular?

Allantoin has strong soothing and hydrating capabilities, making it an effective compound for those with acne-prone skin, especially in combination with harsher ingredients commonly found in acne products. Allantoin can also help reduce the appearance of acne scarring due to its ability to stimulate fibroblast production. Finally, recent research has also shown that when compared to other acne treatments, allantoin is more effective at maintaining healthy aging for your skin by minimizing the dehydration associated with popular acne treatments10.

Can allantoin be paired with other beneficial ingredients?

Allantoin can be paired with many ingredients, as it’s largely unreactive, and due to its soothing properties, it can be used with harsher ingredients to lessen their irritation. For example, allantoin is often paired with retinol and ascorbic acid, two common ingredients known for causing irritation. You can also combine allantoin with other moisturizers (particularly silicone-based) to amplify the moisturizing effect on your skin (3). So, by using allantoin in conjunction with other ingredients, you can counteract its negative effects or boost its positives.

How OneSkin uses allantoin

Few other ingredients cover the range of benefits that allantoin does (i.e., hydration, smoothing, healing, and wrinkle prevention) all while having little to no side effects and being ethically sourced. That’s why OneSkin chose to use allantoin as one of the key ingredients in OS-01 FACE, a Topical Supplement that aims to promote skin health on the molecular level through a blend of other scientifically validated and ethically sourced ingredients. Learn more about the ingredients in OS-01 FACE’s (and OS-01 BODY) and the benefits it can have on your skin here.

Key Takeaways

  • Allantoin can help with hydration, exfoliation, and skin healing.
  • Allantoin has been shown to increase collagen production in the skin, promoting skin elasticity and wound healing for younger-looking skin.
  • Allantoin is a non-toxic and safe ingredient that can be used with minimal side effects.
  • Allantoin benefits all skin types but is especially useful for acne-prone, dry, and itchy skin due to its soothing properties.
  • When combined with other moisturizers, allantoin can amplify their effects, ensuring well-hydrated skin.
  • Allantoin is a mild exfoliant and should not be used with other exfoliating ingredients as it can lead to over-exfoliation and damaged skin.
Sources:
  1. https://jpet.aspetjournals.org/content/81/1/1
  2. https://lotioncrafter.com/products/allantoin-usp-20lb-bulk
  3. https://www.byrdie.com/allantoin-for-skin-4769521
  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774901/
  5. https://www.ombrelab.com/blogs/immunity/the-skin-microbiome-and-exfoliation
  6. https://www.verywellhealth.com/keratolytics-for-skin-scales-and-flakes-2788384
  7. https://www.scielo.br/j/acb/a/TgQXQQnLPHmtJ5dzq6vTsdD/?lang=en
  8. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5774901/
  9. https://www.stylecraze.com/articles/benefits-of-allantoin-for-skin/#ingredients-to-combine-and-avoid-with-allantoin
  10. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S235264752030126X

Reviewed by Alessandra Zonari, PhD, Chief Scientific Officer (CSO) and Co-Founder of OneSkin

Alessandra earned her Master’s degree in stem cell biology, and her PhD in skin regeneration and tissue engineering at the Federal University of Minas Gerais in Brazil in collaboration with the 3B’s Research Group in Portugal. Alessandra did a second post-doctoral at the University of Coimbra in Portugal. She is a co-inventor of three patents and has published 20 peer-reviewed papers in scientific journals.

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