Allantoin is a common ingredient in everyday cosmetic products, including shampoo, lipstick, moisturizers and lotions. Allantoin and lanolin are sometimes used in the same products; however, the two compounds are chemically unrelated and do not share a chemical classification.
Production of Allantoin
Allantoin is found in the leaves of the comfrey plant and in the urine of most mammals. However, commercial allantoin is usually produced synthetically by companies like Akema Fine Chemicals.
Production of Lanolin
While allantoin is produced artificially and found in hundreds of natural sources, lanolin can only be extracted from a single source: sheep's wool. It is produced as a by-product of the wool industry.
While lanolin's texture is waxy, gummy and thick, allantoin feels slippery and moist against the skin. Lanolin may be used as a thickener in cosmetics, whereas allantoin imparts a smooth texture.
Because lanolin is produced from the wool of sheep, people who follow strict vegan lifestyles may choose to avoid it. However, synthetic and plant-based forms of allantoin are considered to be vegan-friendly.
In nature, allantoin can be found in the placental tissues of many mammals. This fact has spawned a fairly common misconception that allantoin is made from the fetal tissue or placenta.
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Juniper Russo, an eclectic autodidact, has been writing professionally since 2008. Her work has appeared in several online and print-based publications, including Animal Wellness. Russo regularly publishes health-related content and advocates an evidence-based, naturopathic approach to health care.