Is your skin easily irritated?
Does it turn red and starts to sting, no matter what you put on it?
Did you overexfoliate and now your skin is all sensitive and uncomfortable?
If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, meet your new BFF: allantoin.
I’m not sure how allantoin has managed to avoid the media spotlight for all this time. It’s a soothing multitasker that can nurse even the driest, roughest, most sensitive of skin types back to health again – and keep it that way. Sounds too good to be true? Here are all the skincare benefits of allantoin:
- What Is Allantoin?
- Skincare Benefits Of Allantoin For Skin
- Side Effects Of Allantoin
- How To Use It
- What Are The Best Skincare Products With Allantoin?
- The Bottom Line
What Is Allantoin?
Allantoin (a.k.a. aluminum dihydroxy allantoinate) is proof that even the best natural skincare ingredients should come from a lab. Huh? Hear me out: allantoin is an extract from the roots of the Comfrey herb. This plant also contains toxins. If you put Comfrey in your skincare products, you’ll get both the good bits and the bad bits. The workaround? Making allantoin in a lab. Totally free of toxins, it’s now safe to use.
You’ll also find allantoin in chamomile, wheat sprouts and sugar beets. Thanks to its powerful healing and soothing properties, it’s been used for centuries to treat small skin injuries and swelling. These days, it comes in powder form that’s added to many skincare products, including moisturisers and exfoliants.
Don’t know which skincare products you can mix and match together and which ones deactivate each other? Download your FREE “How To Layer Actives Like A Pro” cheat sheet to get the most out of your skincare products:
Skincare Benefits Of Allantoin For Skin
Now you know what allantoin is, it’s time to talk about what allantoin does for skin (it’s a lot). Here are all its skincare benefits:
1. It Soothes Skin
Allantoin has anti-inflammatory properties that calm down irritated skin, soothe redness and reduce itching. It works by helping skin repair itself. Research shows it treats minor wounds, diaper rash, small burns and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis. Its soothing properties also help mitigate the potentially irritating side effects of powerful actives, like retinol and AHAs. The best part? It’s super gentle. Everyone can use it – yes, even super sensitive skin (allantoin is made for YOU).
Related: 9 Ingredients That Soothe Irritated, Sensitive Skin
2. It Moisturizes Skin
Allantoin is a great fix for dry, rough skin. It works because it helps increase the water content in skin cells and prevent water loss. Without moisture, your skin withers and shrinks like a prune. It gets rough to the touch and feels permanently tight. By keeping moisture in the skin, allantoin makes sure it’s well-hydrated all day long. Hydrated skin = softer, smoother and suppler skin. “Think of it as almost the expansion of a sponge when wet, holding the maximum amount of liquid,” Beverly Hills dermatologist Ava Shamban, MD, says.
Related: The Best Skincare Routine For Dry Skin
3. It Exfoliates Skin
Like urea (another BFF of dry, sensitive skin), allantoin exfoliates AND hydrates skin at the same time. You already know how it hydrates. Here’s how it exfoliates: it softens keratin, the protein that holds the layers of skin cells together. In other words, instead of waiting for those dead skin cells on the surface of your face to slough off on their own, it gives them a helping hand so they can shed away faster.
“What we want to do with the epidermis is to have it constantly exfoliating itself and having more cells be produced because that’s how you get a faster transit time of the epidermal cells. As people get older, then that transit time from the base layer of the epidermis to the top layer takes longer, and also the skin is stressed, and those are some of the causes of dull, dry skin, too. This is going to help with that cell proliferation,” says Shamban. In other words, by exfoliating skin, allantoin creates a brighter and smoother complexion.
Related: Dry, Sensitive Skin? Here’s Why You Need Urea In Your Skincare Routine
4. It Speeds Up Healing
Last but not least, allantoin helps wounds heal faster. Sure, most of you don’t have wounds on your face. But if you do, you’ll be happy to know that it stimulates cellular proliferation, boosting the growth of new, healthy tissue. If your skin is ever cut or bruised, it can nurse it back to health more quickly than it would on its own.
Side Effects Of Allantoin
Allantoin is generally considered safe to use. “It’s non-irritating, it is a gentle anti-ager in skincare and is good for most skin types, including sensitive skin or those with a range of skin conditions, because it has the additional functionality of being a calming agent,” Shamban says. Said that, it’s possible to be allergic to allantoin, especially when it’s derived from the comfrey plant. When in doubt, do a patch test. Better safe than sorry.
How To Use It
As allantoin can be added to a wide range of skincare products, from toners to moisturisers, use them as directed on the packaging. It’s safe to use allantoin daily.
Who Should Use It?
Anyone can use it, but it’s most suitable for dry, itchy, and sensitive skin that gets irritated easily.
How Often Can You Use It?
Allantoin is so gentle, you can use it up to two times a day without experiencing side effects (unless you’re allergic to it).
Who Can You Use It With?
Allantoin is often used with other skin-soothers, like green tea and chamomile, to calm down irritation and reduce redness. In scar creams, it’s also used with silicones and other emollients to provide better results. It’s an active that plays well together with other ingredients.
What Are The Best Skincare Products With Allantoin?
- First Aid Beauty Retinol Serum 0.25 Pure Concentrate ($58.00): A low strength retinol serum enriched with soothing ingredients to fight wrinkles without irritation. Available at Dermstore, Look Fantastic, Nordstrom, Sephora, and Ulta.
- Medik8 Hydr8 B5 Intense (£59.00): A super hydrating serum with urea and allantoin to plump up skin, soften the complexion, and soothe irritations. Available at Cult Beauty, Look Fantastic, Medik8, Sephora, and SpaceNK.
- Paula’s Choice 10 Niacinamide Booster ($49.00): This pore-shrinking niacinamide booster also has antioxidants to prevent wrinkles and allantoin to soothe irritations. Available at Cult Beauty, Dermstore, Net-A-Porter, Paula’s Choice, Sephora, SpaceNK.
- Skin fix Barrier+ Skin Restoring Barrier Gel Cream ($48.00): A lightweight gel cream that strengthens your skin’s protective barrier while soothing inflammation. Best suitable for oily skin and acne-prone skin. Available at Sephora.
- Ultrasun After Sun For Very Sensitive Skin (£20.00): A soothing after sun lotion to reduce redness and inflammation caused by a long day in the sun. Available at Sephora.
The Bottom Line
Allantoin is a godsend for sensitive, easily irritated skin: it calms down redness and irritations, soothes eczema and psoriasis, moisturises skin, exfoliates it and even helps wound heal faster. It doesn’t get more multitasking than this!
Thank you for this! I’ve always been steering clear of allantoin since (to my knowledge) it is supposed to be a pretty comedogenic ingredient. Has this changed?
Christine, I’m not sure where you’ve heard that but allantoin isn’t comedogenic at all!
I have been using Skinfix eczema cream (not the balm with zinc – though for trouble spots maybe I should try it), and it is amazing how well it works! Love that it doesn’t include water…especially as the main ingredient. I have used other eczema creams/lotions with 2% colloidal oatmeal, but none that work as well as Skinfix!
….perhaps it’s because of the allantoin!
Jaclyn, it probably is! Glad it’s working so well for you. 🙂