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Want Brighter Skin & Less Inflammation? Look Out For This Ingredient In 2023

Jamie Schneider
Author:
January 13, 2023
Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
By Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor
Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare.
young woman with glowing skin
Image by Beauty Agent Studio / iStock
January 13, 2023
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Every so often, age-old skin care ingredients cycle through their time in the sun: What's tried and true becomes "trendy" again and again. For example, over the past few years, niacinamide has received a ton of hype. While not a new ingredient by any means, the buzzy vitamin B3 has captured the hearts of many skin care aficionados of late (for great reasons: It balances oil production, smooths fine lines, and brightens tone), so many brands include at least some niacinamide concentration in their formulas—to the point where we may actually be overwhelming our skin with the ingredient, some experts theorize

And in 2023, we're already seeing a shift in power when it comes to these center-stage beauty ingredients. Nothing against niacinamide—but now, it's allantoin's time to shine. 

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On a recent episode of Clean Beauty School, mbg's beauty director Alexandra Engler and I chatted extensively about the recent explosion of allantoin; Engler even deems it the "new niacinamide," given its similar rise to the top. If you haven't yet familiarized yourself with the hero ingredient, take a peek below. You'll see it in plenty of upcoming skin care formulas, so you'll want to get acquainted.  

What's the deal with allantoin? 

As board-certified dermatologist and YouTube creator Andrea Suarez, M.D., previously tells mbg: "Allantoin is an extract that comes from the comfrey plant but also can be found in a variety of other plants," which includes beets and chamomile. 

It functions similarly to panthenol (aka, vitamin B5), as it can soothe redness and irritation. For this reason, Suarez explains, allantoin is frequently found in cosmetics marketed for irritated skin and after-sun products. 

But that's not all the star ingredient can do: Allantoin can also gently accelerate natural cell turnover. "Allantoin is thought to have keratolytic properties," says board-certified dermatologist Christina Lee Chung, M.D., FAAD. "It is derived from urea, which, like the ubiquitous alpha-hydroxy acids, can help smooth and soften skin by getting rid of excess dead skin."

Those soothing-slash-smoothing properties make it a hero for sensitive, acne-prone skin. It also speeds up wound healing1 and reduces inflammation, which is why you can find it in a bunch of scar creams, ointments, and the like.  

So, what suddenly put allantoin back on the map? Well, it also generally plays nice with other skin care ingredients (similar to niacinamide). Not only that, but "[allantoin] enhances the efficacy and appeal of formulas by acting as a skin protectant and providing necessary moisture," says clean cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline.

As more and more brands include the versatile ingredient in their formulas, beauty fans start to recognize (and even crave) its soothing properties. It then becomes an active that brands highlight in their ingredient lists rather than letting it play the supporting role. 

Best products.

Check your recently purchased skin care formulas, and chances are you'll notice allantoin flying under the radar. The beauty space is brimming with allantoin-infused launches lately, but here are the ones I recommend adding to your routine: 

Paula's Choice

Paula's Choice Nourishing Milky Toner

$ 22
As I mentioned in the episode, this is my favorite hydrating toner of late. I’m generally a sucker for anything with a milky texture, and given this formula of skin-replenishing ingredients, I’m not surprised by how quickly I fell in love. Along with allantoin to calm irritation, it contains marshmallow root and panthenol to attract moisture and strengthen the skin barrier. I use it every morning, right after cleansing and before patting in my vitamin C serum.
Paula's Choice Nourishing Milky Toner

EADEM

EADEM Dew Dream Cleansing Balm

$ 30
If you follow my work here, you know how truly obsessed I am with EADEM. Every curated launch has been a winner, and this cleansing balm is no different. The pillowy formula melts away the most stubborn waterproof makeup yet never leaves your skin feeling tight post-cleanse. Cica and Kalahari melon keep your barrier strong and supple, while allantoin provides a gentle exfoliation to encourage brightness. Of course, you’ll find the brand’s hero Smart Melanin Technology to help fade discoloration without ever bleaching the skin.
EADEM Dew Dream Cleansing Balm

Youthforia

Youthforia Pregame Setting Spray

$ 36
Remember allantoin’s soothing properties? Those come in quite handy with this refreshing setting spray. Not only does the formula create a thin layer over your makeup to increase long-wear, but hydrating players (like allantoin) reduce redness and calm acne-prone skin, so your complexion appears dewy, never dull or inflamed.
Youthforia Pregame Setting Spray

ILIA

ILIA C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40

$ 64
This mineral sunscreen serum contains a trio of buzzy beauty ingredients: vitamin C, niacinamide, and allantoin. And thanks to the subtle tint, it provides a hint of coverage perfect for those “no-makeup makeup” days. Pro tip: Let your skin care fully absorb for around 20 minutes before applying this sunscreen serum. It’s oil-based, so if you use it immediately after a water-based moisturizer, it will pill (it took me a bit to find the best timing). Use it correctly, though, and it will give you the silkiest-looking skin—promise.
ILIA C Beyond Triple Serum SPF 40

The takeaway. 

Is allantoin a new ingredient? Absolutely not, but more and more beauty fans are falling in love with its soothing, healing, and exfoliating properties, and the market is enthusiastically responding with more allantoin-infused products. So, keep a sharp eye out for this active—we suspect its reign will last throughout 2023 and beyond.

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Jamie Schneider
Jamie Schneider
mbg Beauty & Wellness Editor

Jamie Schneider is the Beauty & Wellness Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.A. in Organizational Studies and English from the University of Michigan, and her work has appeared in Coveteur, The Chill Times, and Wyld Skincare. In her role at mbg, she reports on everything from the top beauty industry trends, to the gut-skin connection and the microbiome, to the latest expert makeup hacks. She currently lives in New York City.