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If you are looking for skin care ingredients, add allantoin to the top of your list. While the ingredient doesn’t get the same amount of attention as salicylic acid or hyaluronic acid, for example, it is found in many skin care formulas, so you may have noticed it was listed on some of your favorite items.
What is interesting is that allantoin is actually a chemical compound that occurs naturally in your body. However, when it is used in skin care, it is sometimes made synthetically in a laboratory. (It can also be obtained from some plants such as comfrey or chamomile.) It has made its way into your beauty products thanks to its triple threat status. “Its primary use in skin care is as a soothing agent,” says David Petrillo, cosmetic chemist and founder of Perfect Image. “It’s also moisturizing and can help remove dead skin cells as well.” Some small studies have found that topical treatments that specifically combine allantoin with onion extract can help reduce the appearance of surgical scars, notes Dr. Suzan Obagi, Associate Professor of Dermatology and Plastic Surgery at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center. These studies could suggest that the properties of allantoin may help facilitate the transition of a wound from an inflammatory state to a state of tissue regeneration. However, according to an article published in the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, additional research is needed to say this with certainty.
“There is very little research on this active ingredient, although it has been around for many decades,” says Dr. Obagi. “Hence, many of the claims about its benefits could be anecdotal.” So you probably won’t be surprised to find out that allantoin is treated like a dude rather than starring in skin care. “This is not an ingredient that stands on its own, at least not often, but rather an additional aid in formulas that are supposed to moisturize, moisturize or perform exfoliants,” says Petrillo. “You will see that it is paired with things like hyaluronic acid for hydration or glycolic acid for exfoliating and niacinamide. These have a significant background [from research] in their own right. “(Related: 12 Soothing, Moisturizing Oatmeal Products Your Skin and Hair Need This Winter)
Allantoin is probably most useful in moisturizers that are designed to relieve redness and irritation, says Petrillo. “The benefits of allantoin are obvious: It soothes the skin, supports cell turnover and has a moisturizing effect,” he says. “Of these three benefits, soothing the skin and moisturizing the skin pair is the best pair, so it may be more valuable in a moisturizer designed to soothe the skin with glycolic acid or another alpha-hydroxy acid (AHA).”
If you want to get even more specific, check to see if a formula has an occlusive ingredient (one that provides a seal that prevents moisture loss) in addition to the allantoin, suggests Dr. Obagi before. Why? Allantoin is classified as a humectant, meaning it draws water from the underlying middle layer of skin (dermis) to the surface layer of the skin (epidermis) as well as a keratolytic, meaning it helps break bonds between the above dead skin cells, explains Dr. Obagi. “The key is to find a moisturizer that contains allantoin but is balanced with an occlusive agent to counteract excessive moisture loss from the environment once it hits the surface of the skin,” she says. However, if you are acne prone, you should always avoid using a moisturizer with occlusive as it can contribute to acne, she adds. Thick occlusions can trap dead skin cells and bacteria that ultimately lead to breakouts.
Do you have it all Now that you’ve got some background on allantoin, here are some skin soothing products that contain the ingredient.
Do you remember those studies of the effects of onions and allantoin on surgical scars? This scar gel combines allantoin and onion tuber extract with moisturizing panthenol. (See also: How To Get Rid Of Scars For Good)
As the name suggests, the goal of this moisturizer is to soothe redness while moisturizing the skin. It’s designed for skin on the normal to oily end of the spectrum and contains ingredients like anti-inflammatory licorice root and green tea extracts.
Dr. Jart Cryo rubber mask with soothing allantoin
The two-stage rubber mask from Dr. Jart is inspired by the effects of cryotherapy. This “calming” strain combines allantoin and Centella asiatica, another ingredient that may promote wound healing.
If you need a body lotion, you can try Cetaphil Soothing Gel-Cream with aloe. It was developed to quickly relieve dry, cracked skin and protect it from future environmental influences.
This moisturizer is known as the “10 Balm Cream” because it contains 10 ingredients selected for their skin healing potential. It promises to moisturize and soothe the sensitized skin.