Allantoin

EWG Score: 1What is EWG?

Allantoin is a chemical compound that is found in most living organisms, including animals, plants, and bacteria.  Present day, Allantoin can be found in countless skincare, cosmetic, and medicinal products ranging from something as commonplace as a daily moisturizer to being part of a medical formulation designed to combat and control skin irritation, one of it’s key properties.

Allantoin is considered to be a Keratolytic, which means that it interacts with keratin (a type of protein found in the skin) in order to help break down and shed extra skin that might be present in the upper layers, commonly referred to as the ‘epidermis’.

Ingredient Safety

Because knowing what goes into your skin is important.

Allantoin has been used for quite a few years now, and is a naturally occurring compound in plants like the Comfrey as well as countless living creatures in the form of nitrogenous excrement.

EWG: 1 (Low Hazard)
As of July 25, 2019, EWG has noted over 890 products that contain Allantoin.  Of those, more than half (at 521) products are used in facial masks, moisturizers, and serums, alluding to the widespread acceptance and general safety of this compound. 
You can view EWG’s Allantoin entry here.

US FDA:  Reviewed and approved to be a skin protectant.  Additional literature from the FDA and related government entities have notice that Allantoin usage has been associated with being a “wound healing agent, skin protectant and external analgesic, a dandruff/seborrheic dermatitis/psoriasis product” amongst others.
Read more at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) Website.

Effect Types

Categorization of what the effects of Allantoin may be when used on the skin

Skin Soothing: Attributing to the keratolytic properties found in Allantoin, this compound can help shed extra and/or dead layers of skin found in the epidermis (upper layers) resulting in a soothing effect.

Moisturizing: Commonly experienced ‘dry skin’ is usually caused by a loss of water in the epidermis.  With Allantoin removing unnecessary and dead layers of the skin, other ingredients such as emollients, moisturizers, and humectants are able to more effectively work as intended; they are not absorbed by a layer of skin that is essentially non-effective.  Allantoin is also considered to be an emollient, helping to trap moisture within the skin once applied.

Skin Protectant:  With the review and approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Allantoin is considered to be a Skin Protectant Active Ingredient between concentrations of 0.5% to 2%.  One way a skin protectant works is by creating a barrier that protects the underlying skin from irritants.

References and Further Reading:
Allantoin, National Library of Medicine HSDB Database, National Institutes of Health (NIH)

CFR – Code of Federal Regulations Title 21, U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
ALLANTOIN || Skin Deep Cosmetics Database | EWG

Allantoin Topical: Uses, Side Effects, Interactions, Pictures, Warnings & Dosing – WebMD
Allantoin | Cosmetics Info

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