Allantoin

Allantoin is a chemical compound derived from the acylation process of urea and glyoxylic acid. It is sometimes also referred as glyoxyldiureide or 5-ureidohydantoin [1]. It is odorless, tasteless white powder in its natural form [2,3,4,5]. It possess amphoteric properties and does not stain as well [6,7]. Furthermore, it is not soluble in non-polar compounds (i.e. mineral oils, ether and chloroform), very slightly soluble in alcohol, slightly soluble in cold water and glycerine and is highly soluble in hot water [5]. 

 It is one of the major metabolic intermediate products in living organisms including animals, plants and bacteria. It is mostly extracted from plant sources like chamomile, wheat sprouts, sugar beet and comfrey [8].

Allantoin in the Health of the Skin

It is a very important ingredient for the health of skin and possesses a lot of properties to sooth the skin, moisturize and heal the skin [9]. The most important beneficial effects of allantoin for skin are:

Exfoliation of Skin

It has the property to exfoliate the skin i.e. remove the tough, dead layer of the skin and shed t off. In this way it keeps the skin soft and smooth as the dead, tough layer has been shed off. The accumulation of dead skin may result in skin being dull.

It not only removes the tough and dead skin but also help in increasing the turnover of skin cells, proliferation and remodeling of the skin.  It also reduces the dullness of the skin which might be due to the decreased proliferation of skin which is observed in old aged individuals. [10].

Anti-Aging Properties

Allantoin plays an efficient role in synthesis of collagen [11], which is responsible for skin to keep tight and wrinkle free. As the skin ages, collagen fibers are reduced in number and skin appears to be more wrinkly and saggy. 

By synthesizing the collagen, it serves to make the skin looks younger and healthier. 

Wound Healing Properties

Certain skin care products such as creams, gels and ointments containing allantoin were tested for wound healing of the skin. It was found to sooth the injured skin and heal the wounds. No adverse effects to allantoin were reported [12-16]

Moisturizing Properties

It moisturizes the skin and protects it against irritation and dryness [17]. It is even safe for sensitive skin types since no allergic or irritation reactions are induced by it.

Further, it prevents the moisture and nutrients to escape from the skin which makes skin healthier. It reduces the TEWL (transepidermal water-loss) [18] which is responsible for making the skin loose the moisture and appear dry and itchy.

Non-Irritating

To ascertain the significance of Allantoin, a study was performed in which allantoin containing topical formulation was tested to treat diaper rash in infants. No severe or mild adverse effects were documented in the study[19,20].

In another study, an ointment containing coal-tar and Allantoin was applied to the skin of individuals with Psoriasis. The study concluded that no adverse effects were observed in individuals who were treated with the above mentioned treatment [21-25].

Possible Allergic Reactions

Allantoin is gentle for the skin, a great anti-aging product and highly efficient in individuals with sensitive skin type. It is a non-toxic compound for the skin and safe for the cosmetic use. However, some people might be allergic to the ingredient who shall avoid its use, especially if Allantoin is extracted directly from the comfrey leaves and applied to the skin. 

Conclusion

Allantoin is a naturally occurring amphoteric compound of urea, extracted from many plant sources such as chamomile, wheat sprouts, sugar beet and comfrey leaves. It is one of evident ingredient in much Korean skin supplements. However, scientific researchers have ascertained that it may produce great impact on the health and life of the skin cell. 

It has been found that it produce a lot of positive impacts on the skin, such as it may act as an anti-aging compound which slows down the appearance of wrinkles and reduce the dullness of skin. It may even hydrate and moisturize the skin, rendering it from being dry and itchy and maintaining the stability of waterproof barrier at the same time. Not only limiting to that, it can increase the proliferation of skin cells which will help in making the skin healthier, younger and smooth. It also plays a very significant role in exfoliating the skin i.e. shedding off the old and tough layer of skin and replacing it with a new healthier skin. Some studies have also suggested its role in wound healing of the skin and reducing the inflammation at the time of wound. It also soothes the skin and help in speedy recovery of the wounds. 

References

  1. Gottschalck TE, Bailey JE. International Cosmetic Ingredient Dictionary and Handbook. 12th ed. Washington, DC: CTFA; 2008.
  2. Sheker KM, Black HJ, Lach JL. Silver allantoinate for the topical treatment of burns. Am J Hosp Pharm. 1972;29:852-855.
  3. Allantoin. 2007. http://chemicalland21.com/ lifescience/phar/ALLANTOIN.htm. Accessed January 1, 2007
  4. Fisher AA. A non-sensitizing topical medicament therapeutic effects of the addition of 5 percent allantoin to Vaseline. Cutis. 1981;27:230-231, 234, 329.
  5. Akema Fine Chemicals. Allantoin: a safe and effective skin protectant; 2006. Unpublished data.
  6. Lesser MA. Allantoin. Drug Cosmetic Ind. 1938;42:451-453, 456, 469.
  7. Schali C, Roch-Ramel F. Renal handling of [14C] allantoin in the rabbit. J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 1980;213:168-172.
  8. Staiger C. Comfrey: a clinical overview. Phytotherapy Research. 2012 Oct;26(10):1441-8.
  9. Araújo LU, Grabe-Guimarães A, Mosqueira VC, Carneiro CM, Silva-Barcellos NM. Profile of wound healing process induced by allantoin. Acta Cirurgica Brasileira. 2010 Oct;25(5):460-1.
  10. Savić VL, Nikolić VD, Arsić IA, Stanojević LP, Najman SJ, Stojanović S, Mladenović‐Ranisavljević II. Comparative study of the biological activity of allantoin and aqueous extract of the comfrey root. Phytotherapy Research. 2015 Aug;29(8):1117-22.
  11. Pinsky MA. Efficacy and Safety of an Anti-aging Technology for the Treatment of Facial Wrinkles and Skin Moisturization. The Journal of clinical and aesthetic dermatology. 2017 Dec;10(12):27.
  12. Margraf HW, Covey TH. A trial of silver-zinc allantoinate in the treatment of leg ulcers. Arch Surg. 1977;112:699-704.
  13. Almeyda J, Wood H. Treatment of psoriasis: comparative study using allantoin coal tar extract combined with hydrocortisone and betamethasone valerate. Br J Clin Prac. 1979;33: 106-108.
  14. Willital GH, Heine H. Efficacy of Contracubex1 Gel in the treatment of fresh scars after thoracic surgery in children and adolescents. Int J Clin Pharm Res. 1994;14:193-202
  15. Garnick JJ, Singh B, Winkley G. Effectiveness of a medicament containing silicon dioxide, aloe, and allantoin on aphthous stomatitis. Oral Surg Oral Med Oral Pathol Oral Radiol Endod. 1998;86:550-556.
  16. Wadhams PS, Griffith J, Nikravesh P, Chodosh D. Efficacy of a surfactant, allantoin, and benzalkonium chloride solution for onychomycosis. J Am Podiatr Med Assoc. 1999;89:124-130
  17. Sethi A, Kaur T, Malhotra SK, Gambhir ML. Moisturizers: the slippery road. Indian journal of dermatology. 2016 May;61(3):279.
  18. Oliveira G, Leverett JC, Emamzadeh M, Lane ME. The effects of heat on skin barrier function and in vivo dermal absorption. International journal of pharmaceutics. 2014 Apr 10;464(1-2):145-51.
  19. Kahan H, Schwartzman J, Sawicky HH. A new topical remedy for the prevention and management of napkin dermatitis (diaper rash). Arch Pediatr. 1956;73:12-29.
  20. Kaessler HW. Dermatitis of the diaper area: a new remedy for an old affliction. Arch Pediatr. 1957;74:47-50.
  21. Bleiberg J, Saltzman JA. Experience with a new preparation in the local treatment of psoriasis. Clin Med. 1958;5:485-488.
  22. Clyman SG. Clinical experience with a new preparation for psoriasis: a paired comparative study. Ann NY Acad Sci. 1958;73: 1032-1037.
  23. Welsh AL, Ede M. Therapeutic effectiveness of tar-allantoin lotion (Alphosyl 1) in selected dermatoses. Ohio Med. 1959; 55:805-807
  24. Meister B. Treatment with tar and allantoin cream. Skin. 1962;1: 55-56

Allenby CF, Munro-Ashman EJE, Wells RS, Barr A. Outpatient treatment of psoriasis a double-blind trial of ointments. Lancet. 1966;15:124-125.

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