Skin-Care Guide

Here’s Why You Should Add the Ingredient Allantoin to Your Skin-Care Routine

Thanks to the powerhouse ingredient, skin-protecting allantoin, Cetaphil’s new Soothing Gel Cream with Aloe is about to become your new favorite winter moisturizer.
an illustration of a black woman wearing a pink robe and orange hair towel applying lotion to her legs in the bathroom
Illustrated by Judit García-Talavera

There’s nothing I dread more than winter — there, I said it. Call me the Grinch, but even with all the twinkly lights, jolly holiday tunes, and cinnamon-scented everything, I never look forward to the way frost mistreats my skin. A chronic dry-skin sufferer, I routinely battle flakiness year after year, applying heavy, thick, goopy moisturizers throughout the day.

Don’t get me wrong — I love a heavy moisturizer from time to time, but during the winter months, when I need to hydrate my body post-shower every day, I’d like to be able to hop into my leggings without having to wait 10 minutes for my moisturizer to dry. This is where Cetaphil’s new Soothing Gel Cream with Aloe comes into play. It’s a lightweight moisturizer that not only works to instantly soothe, hydrate, and protect dry, irritated skin, but also won’t leave you with that greasy, sticky feeling. This new formula makes sliding right into those comfy work-from-home-in-the-pandemic sweatpants a breeze.

How can Cetaphil’s new lightweight gel cream hydrate dry, irritated skin for a full 24 hours and stand up to the moisturization that a heavier formula might offer? We’re glad you asked — it’s an ingredient you might not have heard of before, called allantoin.

What is allantoin?

According to Hadley King, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, allantoin, or aluminum dihydroxy allantoinate, is a natural compound found in several plants, including comfrey and chamomile. “[Allantoin] can also be lab-created, and this is what is often found in skin-care products,” says King. “It has long been thought to have healing and soothing properties.”

Illustrated by Judit García-Talavera
What are the benefits of allantoin in your skin care?

Allantoin, a popular moisturizing ingredient used in many Korean beauty products, is making its way stateside, and for good reason: It works to hydrate, protecting — and in some more extreme cases, rescuing — sensitive skin from environmental aggressors like wind and the cold. 

Which skin types benefit the most from allantoin?

Because allantoin helps calm, moisturize, and protect the skin, it’s ideal for those with sensitive skin, like my winter-dreading self. Dendy Engelman, a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York City, explains that the people who will benefit the most from allantoin’s hard-working properties are those “with dry skin and/or rough texture, but who are also sensitive to chemical or mechanical exfoliation.” 

Why choose allantoin over other moisturizing ingredients?

Allantoin is an effective protectant and moisturizer, but unlike other skin sealers, such as dimethicone, colloidal oatmeal, and petroleum, allantoin also has rejuvenating and exfoliating effects. “Dimethicone helps smooth skin and works by filling in skin crevices, and colloidal oatmeal is soothing. Petroleum forms a protective barrier on the skin,” says Engelman. “Essentially, allantoin does all three.” Allantoin’s ultimate calling card, though, is that it’s water-soluble, meaning it’s lightweight, so your skin drinks it up quickly — people who prefer lighter consistencies may gravitate toward this ingredient, as well.


If you’re someone who has been steering clear of traditional skin protectants in fear of that too-slimy feeling, this powerhouse ingredient is worth a try. Thanks to allantoin’s lightweight texture, Cetaphil’s Soothing Gel Cream with Aloe is ideal for those needing extra moisture without the greasy, heavy feeling that most body moisturizers leave — it absorbs quickly and will leave your skin looking and feeling baby-soft smooth, too.