Thursday, May 7, 2009

Better crafting through chemistry: Allantoin


I touched on allantoin a little in the occlusion post...click here to find out about more occlusives!

Allantoin, also called 5-ureidohydantoin or glyoxyldiureide, is a fantastic skin protectant that softens skin (it's a keratolytic, meaning it causes the keratin to soften), causes rapid cell regeneration and proliferation, and is approved by the FDA to temporarily prevent and protect chafed, chapped, cracked, or windburned skin by speeding up the natural processes of the skin and increasing the water content. It can be derived from comfrey root, aloe vera, and urine...I'm not sure how to tell which is which when you buy it. (How do they figure these things out? Did someone have some urine hanging around the house, let it evaporate, then used it on a wound?) It can be used an abrasive or astringent agent, an anti-irritant, and a moisture binder (and you know how much we love those!)

So what does this all mean for our creations? It can be used in pretty much any water soluble product we might want to make. I like to use in lotions and potions in the winter to protect my skin. It's nice in an apres sun spray to help with soothing, healing, and exfoliating (can you tell I need to protect my pale skin from the sun or what? Summer is not my friend...). I like to use it in a toner to help with softening, cell proliferation, and moisturizing, and it can be used in shampoos or body washes as both an anti-irritant and an exfoliant (great for dandruff prone scalps). And in a facial cleanser, it's doing three or four things at once!

Its pH is 4 to 6, but you're going to be using so little - 0.5% to 2% - that it shouldn't have a huge effect your creations.

If this is such an incredible product, why don't I have it in everything? Because it can get gritty. Allantoin comes in the form of a white product you want to dissolve in your water phase of any creation. Its solubility is 0.5% at 25C, so I use it in my heating phase, although using it in the cool down phase is suggested. But if you don't dissolve it just right, it can re-crystallize and be like a thousand tiny shards on your skin...great, now I've scared you off! Don't run! You can use allantoin at 0.5% in the heating phase and it should dissolve really well. I've tried it at 2.0% and I didn't like it, but it might work for you.

So you can use allantoin in your products at 0.5% to 2.0% in the water phase (heated) or cool down phase. Try modifying a few of your favourite recipes to include this wonderful ingredient! I'd suggest a facial toner, facial cleanser, or facial moisturizer as the perfect place to start.

Tune in tomorrow to see how we can use allantoin in our mineral make up applications!

25 comments:

Nathalie said...

Could i use a bit of this in cp soap?

Naomi said...

I want to add 1% allantoin into a balm I'm making for my nephew's eczema. It's 20% wax, 20% butters, and 60% oils. Will the allantoin dissolve in oil or do I have to dissolve it in glycerin then add an emulsifier (and so then a preservative)?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi. No, allantoin is water soluble, so you would have to dissolve in warm water or glycerin or something similar, then use an emulsifier. You could try using something like aloe oil or butter - it does contain some allantoin - or make him a lotion. Consider making him a spray, then he could put on the balm to seal it in. And I wouldn't go over 0.5% - it's hard to dissolve and you don't want it to re-crystallize in shards (they are very unpleasant!)

Naomi said...

Could I do this: add 3% emulsifier (BTMS) in my recipe, then add in .5% allantoin dissolved in 5% glycerin? If I add the glycerin and allantoin, do I have to add a preservative (I have Germaben II, Liquapar oil, and I just got in Geogard Ultra... which one do you suggest?)?
Susan - you and your blog are the best!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Naomi. Sorry I missed this comment! You're on the right track here! Which preservative - I usually use Phenonip or liquid Germall plus, but you might want to investigate the type of preservative good for eczema. (I remember reading something about formaldehyde releasers, but it might have been something else.)

I'm wondering why you don't want to make something containing water or water based ingredients for your nephew? Water based ingredients - proteins, hydrosols, extracts, and other things - can have great benefits for it!

Christine said...

Does this need to be dissolved in water in order to be effective? Does it still work in lip balm, or mineral makeup?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Christine. Here's a post on that topic - allantoin in mineral make-up.

Anonymous said...

Naomi, I'm a year late here it looks like to this thread. But I want to make a balm/salve/ointment if you well.
That incorporates several water based solubles into it including Allantoin. Magnesium is the other. I make my own Magnesium Oil as it's called but is super staturated water based liquid. I was wondering if I could use the flakes of the Magnesium Citrate and the allantoin in the same initial solution making up a stock solution so to speak. Then use the stock as the source to work into the balm trying both the heating stage and cool down approaches to see what works best. I'm worried however about getting the percentages right. I don't want to over add but do want something around .5 to 1% of both in the final balm. Any ideas how to approach this. First attempts is to use a pre-made lip balm base and pre-made horsenettle and lemongrass base and it's about 2 to 1. I'd like to get this nailed down to a very easy formula that I can make a few jars say 4-16 ounces up at a time so it stays fresh. Great helpful site by the way.

Anonymous said...

Oops I see I'm coming up as anonymous. How rude. I don't recall my google id so I'm Leslie. Who's asking about Allantoin blended into Magnesium oil as a means of a stock solution to use in balms and ointments.

Michele Clarke said...

My husband isn't found of my chapstick blend. So I had him pick one from the store that he loves and one he doesn't. I discovered the difference was allantoin.

I finally added this to my lotion and I LOVE. It's the ingredient I changed and my skin is much softer. I am noticing scars are healing too. I do use tamanu oil neat on fresh scars. It could be a combo of the two.

Faerynuff said...

I should be getting some Allantoin in soon and I can't wait to try it! The comment about the chapstick intrigues me though.. How would you go about adding it to a lib balm if its water soluble and lip balms are anhydrous? Sounds like it would help lips to be nice and soft! Point me in the right direction and I'll try it :)

Rhonda

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Faerynuff. I have no idea how to incorporate allantoin into a lip balm as that's an anhydrous product and allantoin is water soluble. It might be possible to buy an oil soluble version, or you might be able to dissolve a little in some water or glycerin or something and use lanolin or lecithin or something else oil soluble (and not icky tasting) to create a small emulsion?

Ken Consaul said...

"..so I use it in my heating phase, although using it in the cool down phase is suggested. But if you don't dissolve it just right"

If used in the heating phase, what constitutes 'just right'? Most recommendations are to withhold the allantoin until the mix has cooled to about 40C. If the allantoin makes shards because its too hot how do you know you've mixed it correctly?
My thought is, if you mix in at the end of the cooling phase, it is less likely to get completely incorporated and letting something cool on the counter is inviting contamination.

Just started making lotions and am doing just the emulsification exercise. I'm making 100 gr samples using varying proportions of water and different oils. I add some aspen bark extract as a preservative but nothing else. I label the jars with the proportions, yield and, notes on the consistency. I'll keep these just as a reference for future recipes. Great fun watching the emulsification process. Of course, I'm easily amusted.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

HI Ken. I mean if you don't dissolve it just right in the cool down phase, you'll get shards. It's just so much easier to do it in the heated water phase and make sure it dissolves well. Allantoin isn't heat sensitive, so there's no reason not to do it in the heated phase.

Kellie Ankenman said...

Just a little food for thought, many Scandinavian cultures used animal urine to treat wounds and prevent infection. So yes, in a way, someone did have some urine laying around, let it evaporate, and put it on a wound.

Amber said...

Hi Susan!

I've recently discovered the amazing world of DIY cosmetics, and I'm finding your blog such an amazing source of information!
If you have time, I have a question about allantoin and its suitability (or not) for deodorant recipes. I'd like to try and create a deodorant that won't upset my sensitive skin, and I was wondering whether allantoin be a good, skin-calming addition?
Many thanks!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Kellie! Ewwww! I don't want to judge the culture of another - although I'm Norwegian by birth (British by adoption) - but that's gross. Having said that, considering how life used to be nasty, brutish, and short, I guess a little urine was the least of one's worries!

Hi Amber! I always think allantoin is a great addition for sensitive skin and, in fact, all skin types! Please try a small batch first - 50 grams to no more than 100 grams - and see if you like it. Use it for at least a week before deciding if you like or hate it as it can take that long to have a reaction. Stop if you have an adverse reaction, but you really shouldn't.

Ryan Kern said...

I used 0.5% allantoin in the heated water phase, waited for it to fully dissolve then emulsified the water and oil phases together. The lotion was great, smooth with no allantoin shards. But, after the lotion dried on the face it was very itchy. I had to wash it off and threw out the remaining of the lotion. Any suggestions why it would have become itchy after the lotion dried. I'm not allergic to allantoin, as I have used products with it on their labels.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Ryan. It's really hard to offer advice when we don't know what else was in the lotion. There are just too many variables!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Ryan. Would love to hear about the rest of your lotion to see if I could offer some advice. As an aside, the itchiness could have come from the allantoin being in shard form...

Donna Lee Karlson said...

I don't think you addressed if allantoin could be used in soap...
CP or HP?

Thanks

Aline Huntly said...

I would like to know this too!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Donna and Aline. I don't know the answer to this. It's not easy to figure out what will survive the process of saponification. If I could make a suggestion - perhaps Dr Dunn of Scientific Soapmaking could help?

melian1 said...

http://chemagent.ru/proizvoditeli/download/1583/1463/19

This pdf is filled with interesting stuff on allantoin. But on page 9, it says this:

“allantoin may be heated at 80C (176F) for one hour without any showing any change” and mentions that it won’t dissolve under 50C (122F). the solubility is drastically affected by temperature also.

“Strong alkaline solutions (>8pH) cause the decomposition of allantoin”

It also says anhydrous won’t work with allantoin because it needs to have been dissolved in water, propylene glycol, glycerol, or a few other things first. There is a table showing all, along with the solubility rate for each.

It also says that the dry powder shelf life is 5 years.

It also tells how to keep greater than .5% stable in emulsions if you wanted to use a higher percentage.

Megan Xi said...

Can I mix in allantoin directly to a lotion base?