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Ingredient Spotlight: Allantoin

The comfrey plant blooms with tiny purple buds and has a laundry list of natural remedies. Interestingly, it contains poisonous compounds, called pyrrolizidine alkaloids (PAs), but it’s been used throughout history to treat everything from bruises and ulcers to coughs and colds.

But the uses of the comfrey plant don’t stop at treating illnesses. Allantoin, a compound extracted from the comfrey plant, is a common natural skincare product that’s well known for its conditioning properties.

Keep reading to learn more about this great hydrator!

What is Allantoin?

Allantoin is a non-irritating, natural nitrogenous compound that can soothe and heal the skin while triggering healthy tissue growth. Despite the poisonous qualities of its source’s roots, the Environmental Working Group rates Allantoin as very safe. Though research on the compound is somewhat limited, the data available suggests it’s not an environmental toxin, and not toxic or harmful to its users. Though one study conducted by researchers at the University of Liverpool suggested Allantoin may have anti-aging properties by mimicking the effects of starvation diets on the body, Truth In Aging says there is no credible evidence to support Allantoin as an anti-aging agent.

What is Allantoin used for?

Allantoin is an effective and safe moisturizer, so most products that contain the compound are used to treat dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin (everything from eczema to dandruff) and minor skin irritations, such as friction burns.

What we love about allantoin is that while some moisturizing agents form an oily layer on top of the skin to trap moisture inside, Allantoin actually softens the keratin — a fibrous protein found in the skin and hair — that holds the top layers of the skin together.

What kinds of products contain Allantoin?

If you’ve ever shopped for skincare, cosmetic, or personal hygiene products at a drugstore, you’ve probably used a product with Allantoin. It’s commonly found in over-the-counter lotion, dandruff shampoo, toothpaste, shaving cream, and lipstick. It’s also one of the main hydrating ingredients in the SLMD Daily Moisturizer, SLMD Salicylic Acid Cleanser, and SLMD Retinol Serum.

Are there side effects or risks of using Allantoin?

Allergic reactions and negative side effects to Allantoin are pretty rare. However, everyone’s skin will react differently to individual ingredients or products, so it’s best to keep an eye out for any burning, stinging, redness, or irritation when you start using a new product. Overall, Allantoin is widely regarded as a safe, allergen-friendly, natural remedy to dryness and irritation.

Since Allantoin is a natural, environmentally friendly plant extract that’s safe to use, it should be a perfect moisturizing solution for skincare fanatics and environmentalists alike.

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