Allantoin, the Wonder Ingredient for the Skin

Allantoin - the Wonder Ingredient for the Skin

Allantoin has a wonderful affinity with the skin.

It is an active moisturising ingredient found in the root of the Comfrey herb.

 It has a lovely therapeutic action that promotes skin healing; a safe anti-irritant that is used extensively in the skin care industry.


Quite a lot of research has been carried out on the compounds found in Allantoin.

Hydrating: It increases the water content of our skin.

Desquamating: It encourages natural exfoliation in the stratum corneum, the outer layer of the epidermis.

Repairing: It is well-known for its ability to stimulate cell proliferation, encouraging new tissue growth.

It is known to be extremely healing for wounds, and research has shown that it can clear away necrotic tissue to make way for a healthy new tissue.

Healing: An active skin protector, it naturally encourages the skin’s healing process, making it a suitable ingredient for treating minor wounds and irritations.

Relieves dryness: Promoting cellular regeneration, counteracting dryness, and repairing an impaired barrier, allantoin encourages sensitive skin to become more resilient.

Protecting: This is one ingredient that really does soften the skin. It also protects chapped, sun-damaged skin, and studies have shown that it protects against UV induced cell damage.

Soothing: It is considered an excellent anti-irritant, calming and soothing inflamed skin. So its great when used in baby products.

Free Radical Activity: Topical application helps reduce free radical activity on the skin.

Keratolytic action: In performing its protective and regulatory functions, the outer layer of skin – our epidermis – synthesises a very large number of proteins and oils (lipids) that are naturally found in the stratum corneum.

This is referred to as keratinisation, and if this is out of balance, more keratin than usual is produced and the structure of the barrier function is changed.

Allantoin is clever in that it actually interacts with the skin’s keratin to thin out an abnormally thick stratum corneum, which is why it is known for leaving skin feeling smooth.

Just 0.2% on your skin has the same keratolytic effect as 10-20% urea, an interesting ingredient which you can read all about here.


I worked with a herbalist from Switzerland who first introduced me to the wonders of Allantoin and its ability to regenerate cells.

The advantage of allantoin in a formula is that it is very active at low concentrations of up to 0.5% and it is non-irritating and non-toxic.

One study found that an inclusion of just 0.2% demonstrated significant improvement in over 90% of women with symptoms of redness and cracking. The fact that allantoin has active keratolytic properties means it is the ideal ingredient for combatting dandruff; breaking down large particles in dead skin cells.

One final note, which one of my readers kindly pointed out, is that most of the allantoin used in cosmetics is of purely synthetic origin, as it is a by-product from the production of Diazolodinyl Urea.

That is, of course, unless you are lucky enough to work with a traditional herbalist, as I have had the good fortune to do.

More than a match for very dry or irritated skin, both Miracle Cleanse and Nectar Treatment Balm harness the benefits of this wonderful herb in the form of comfrey; helping to bring comfort and relief to troubled skin with an impaired barrier.

45 thoughts on “Allantoin, the Wonder Ingredient for the Skin

  1. JJ says:

    I used comfrey to heal a badly sprained ankle that was previously operated on to remove bone chip and the ligaments never healed properly so I kept spraining it. I used Comfrey poultices after two weeks and it was healed completely, couldn’t believe it. My friend used it after all his teeth were removed for dentures and the Dentist was astounded his mouth was so healed in one week. Amazing herb, I drank it in early ’80s for about five years, when they sold it as a tea. I stopped when I heard about the liver issue..but I think it was to get more people into their “big pharm drugs”. My liver is great.

  2. Brooke says:

    Hi, I’m interested in why you would consider the synthetically sourced allantoin to be inferior or less appealing than that sourced from comfrey? If the synthetic source is pure, there shouldn’t be any contaminants…

  3. Colleen says:

    Does anyone have any information to back up what I just read about the allantoin in comfrey being best extracted in oil with the aid of a natural emulsifier, such as phospholipids and saponins (my source is Herbal Constituents by Lisa Ganora). Would you add these constituents to the oil medium at the time of extraction?

  4. Megan says:

    Hello, I was wondering if you have a citation for your claim that “0.2% Allantoin has the same keratolytic effect as 10-20% Urea”?

    I have searched the internet but was unable to find information about this claim. I would be interested to know if there was a study confirming this.

    Thanks for your time.

  5. lynn mcdonald says:

    I know very little about Comfrey oil but know from experience it works. I developed a horrible sore itchy rash right across my left hand. It spread also across my left cheek towards eye. It must have been there for 6-9 months with doctors prescribing various creams, which all made it worse and more inflamed . I thought it was there to stay for ever. I visited Torqueue in Devon and by chance popped into a little shop for a look. The lady in there saw my hand and said she could cure it. I was dubious and thought no chance, i’ve tried everything under the sun. She said try this and gave me a bottle of Comfrey oil. I had never heard of it but had nothing to loose. I spread the green oil on morning and night for 3 days and no joking, it disappeared and has never returned. I have used it on my children who are grown now and they use it. My ageing mother has heart failure and big problems with legs blistering and flaking and had no sleep for days for the irritation. She has many medications to take but nothing helps. In desperation I told her about the Comfrey, but was aware it is not supposed to be used on too much broken skin, but as no prescribed medication was working she said put in on. It seems to calm down all itching and the redness reduced drastically and she managed to get the 1st good nights sleep in a while. It must be doing something good.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Lynn thank you so much for this interesting feedback, it really does seem that Comfrey has some amazing healing powers on so many levels. I am going to publish this if it alright, as I am sure it will be of great interest to my readers. Samantha

  6. Yvonne B Mitchell says:

    Well in the state of SC where I live Comfrey is illegal smh due to it’s Hallucinogenic properties lol we use it when were sick in my house, as a tea I add honey to cut the bitter taste, and yes it will make you think your in la-la land buut it’s cured many a colds in my home, and cleared congestion for over ten years! while it’s illegal to sell I have a spot I know of in the country where I can still pick it, and that’s what I do when were running low. But I’ve never experienced any negative effects from this natural herb!

    • Angie says:

      Comfrey a Hallucinagen?
      Well that is a first for me. Are you sure it is or is that what the law says. I would not be surprised that there is a law that states this. The DOA had a huge quandary to settle because so many immigrants from Europe wanted to cash crop it.

  7. Dorota says:

    By the way – almost all allantoin used in cosmetics is of pure synthetic origin (byproduct from production of Diazolodinyl urea). Honestly I don’t even know one supplier of allantoin coming from comfrey and I’m in this business 15 years.

  8. birdie says:

    is allantoin an occlusive? if i use a product with allantoin first, will it impair the absorption of products used afterwards?

  9. Debbi says:

    When I was a child my mother used it all the time. We healed ankles, bruises, and even a chicken who broke her leg (my pet, and I cried because I didn’t want my dad to butcher it for food… So my mom tied a Popsicle stick to it’s leg, set the leg, and put it in a bowl of comfrey, that goofy chicken sat in that bowl for three days! Then it got up and ran around for a few weeks before my mom took off the stick). I personally know people who took it internally and cured themselves of serious health issues… I drink it myself… And my liver is fine! So, as I said, do the research yourself…. Comfrey is great stuff. I did an experiment last year, and put 4-5 comfrey leaves as mulch around some of my plants and not others. Wow.. What a difference between them! All my plants will have them this year… Just sayin….

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Oh wow what an amazing story really? i would love you to write a little article for me on Comfrey from your first hand experience and i will post it and give your credit let me know samantha

  10. Debbi says:

    Comfrey has been used for thousands of years with great benefits! The study cases used to say comfrey us toxic is outrageous. The study was this. They gave to mice the dose equivalent to humans ingesting 90,000 leaves of comfrey a day for 20 years. At the end of the study, ONE mouse had slightly elevated liver enzymes, and they jumped on the band wagon and deemed it dangerous and “could” cause liver damage and death. Really? Did you know that if you drink over a gallon of water at one time, it “could” cause death. Or that if you eat 3/4 cup of salt, you’ve reach the LD 50 limit, which is toxic and causes death to 50 percent of the people? The govt refused to look at the documents of whole communities, who volunteered to have their blood work done, who had been eating comfrey for over 20 years, and not one of them had elevated liver enzymes. This was back when they were banning comfrey… Just makes you wonder… Do the research yourself.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Debbie i couldn’t agree more these one off studies are ridiculous and damaging. I absolutely love Comfrey and use it in many of my herbal preperations and I am all for doing the research yourself, thankyou for your comments


      Tylenol is more toxic to the liver than comfrey and people pop that like candy. Even recommend safe dosages of Tylenol have killed people by causing total liver failure.

    • Angie says:

      Thank you for pointing this out, I read this study also but I can no longer find it on the internet. It was apparently done to support the DOA’s decision not to approve Comfrey as a cash crop to feed livestock and humans back in the 60’s. Do you know of any new studies that have been published?

  11. Jonathan says:

    Allantoin is not toxic. Comfrey can contain toxic PA alkaloids. It is still not clear if occasional use of comfrey cream on the skin presents a real risk or not. There are also comfrey products that are free from PA alkaloids as well.

  12. Thomas says:

    Gina, Comfrey is NOT toxic, so to speak. Some compounds (paralyzidine alkaloids) that are found in varying concentrations CAN be toxic. However, there is no data that I am aware of that suggests using comfrey externally is in any way toxic. If you have such data we would all like to see it.

    • Verified Author Samantha Miller replied:

      Hi Thomas I really appreciate this answer because that comment did leave me a little perplexed, have to admit comfrey is my go to ingredient for a lot of topical healing, never mind the fact it is well documented that traditionally comfrey was referred to as knit-bone and was used as a poultice and as a food to encourage healing of broken bones and wounds. But I am open to all my readers comments and if Gina has data to back this up,I would be more than interested to read it. Samantha

  13. Gina says:

    Comfrey is toxic, even in small amounts on the skin, as it is my understanding that it’s absorbed through the skin and harmful amounts may build up in the body. It causes liver failure and even death. It seems that no one is aware of this. ?

    • Brian says:

      You’re not literally putting comfrey on your skin… your using Allantoin which is synthetic and derived from a chemical process. So uh.. no you’re not putting comfrey on your skin or any of it’s hazardous compounds.. I know that at least the sbs -40 I use is synthetic.. so take a chill pill

    • Dee says:

      Comfrey used externally is not toxic, except you shouldn’t use in on open wounds or deep wounds. The reason for this is it speeds healing, and if there is a possibly of infection, it could cause the wound to heal over the infection.
      Internal use of comfrey can cause damage to the liver.
      Allantoin is extracted from comfrey, and doesn’t possess any pyrrolizidine, which can damage the liver.
      Allantoin has been classified by the FDA as an Over-The-Counter (OTC) Category I (safe and effective) active ingredient skin protectant. It is FDA approved for this use at 0.5% to 2.0% in formulations. If you include it in your formulations and on your ingredient labels, but make no drug claims for it, it remains a cosmetic ingredient and need not be declared as an “active ingredient.”

    • Olivia Pascale says:

      That is absolute nonsense. Comfrey is a very beneficial herb that heals skin so quickly it should be applied externally after the wound has begun to close to prevent possible infection. It can safely be taken as a tea as well and the leaves used as a poultice. Comfrey was also called boneset because it helps broken bones heal quickly. It should be taken for short periods, it is not necessary as a health maintenance tool. Comfrey is also very good for animals who love it and those who eat it have remarkably healthy livers and immune systems.
      Don’t believe the anti-herb drivel put out by the AMA, do your own research first. I know you did not because if you had you would have seen that comfrey is extremely beneficial.

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