Allantoin at a Glance

  • Occurs naturally in most organisms but can be produced synthetically
  • Has both soothing and moisturising properties for skin
  • Helps mitigate skin’s response to more active ingredients
  • Used in concentrations up to 2% in cosmetics

Allantoin Description

Allantoin is a byproduct of uric acid that can be extracted from urea and is the result of metabolic processes that occur in most organisms – among them animals (including humans) and bacteria. It can also be extracted from comfrey (taken from the roots and leaves) and is proven safe and effective because it does not contain the potentially irritating alkaloid compounds that occur in the comfrey plant.

Despite the natural source of allantoin being safe, the type of allantoin used in skin care products is generally produced synthetically as this guarantees no impurities while sacrificing none of allantoin’s effectiveness. It serves as an effective soothing agent and has moisturising properties, giving it value especially in products designed to treat sensitive or compromised skin. It can also help mitigate skin’s response to stronger active ingredients and is often included in formulas to help buffer any potential adverse effects.

In cosmetics, it is used in concentrations up to 2%, but in clinical settings it can be used in greater amounts, where research has shown it can have an impact on healing. In the United States, it is FDA-approved as an over the counter (OTC) skin protectant in concentrations of 0.5–2%.

Allantoin References

Chemistry Series, March 2020, pages 7-21
Molecules, June 2019, pages 1–33
European Journal of Pharmacology, February 2018, pages 68-78
Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology, June 2017, Volume 76, Issue 2, Supplement 1
Pharmacognosy Review, Volume 5, July-December 2011
International Journal of Toxicology, May 2010, Supplement, pages 84S-97S
Journal of Occupational Medicine and Toxicology, October 2008, ePublication

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About the Experts

Paula Begoun is the best-selling author of 20 books about skincare and makeup. She is known worldwide as The Cosmetics Cop and creator of Paula’s Choice Skincare. Paula’s expertise has led to hundreds of appearances on national and international radio, print, and television including:

The Paula's Choice Research Team is dedicated to busting beauty myths and providing expert advice that solves your skincare frustrations so you can have the best skin of your life!