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Allantoin has a lot of good things going for it. Check the ingredients list of some of your favorite serums and moisturizers, and you’re likely to see it featured—derived from the botanical extracts of the comfrey plant, it’s great for everything from soothing irritated skin to helping to shed dead skin cells for a clearer, brighter complexion.

Oh, and also, a new study conducted at the University of Liverpool has discovered allantoin to be one of several newly identified compounds that mimic the “life-extending effect of a starvation diet.” Calorie restriction has, sadly, been proven to extend the human lifespan by slowing down the aging process—but why bother extending your lifespan if you can’t eat delicious things all the time? That’s where allantoin comes in.

Scientists from the university identified eleven potential compounds that may help to mimic the calorie restriction process, and tested five of them in nematode worms. The worms treated with rapamycin, trichostatin A, LY-294002, and allantoin lived up to 20 percent longer than untreated worms, and stayed healthier longer, too, in a way expected from calorie restriction. Says Dr. João Pedro de Magalhães, who led the study, “Calorie restriction has been shown to have health benefits in humans and, while more work is necessary, our findings could potentially result in human therapies for age-related diseases.”

PhD student Shaun Calvert, who carried out the research, added, “We have shown so far that our compounds work in worms, but studies in mammalian models are now necessary. The next step for us is to understand the mechanisms by which allantoin extends lifespan, as this could reveal new longevity pathways.” The effects of a starvation diet without the actual starvation diet? This is exactly what we’ve been waiting for. Just applying allantoin to our faces won’t get us any closer to reaping the benefits—they have to figure out how to turn it into a pill for that to happen—but we’re going to keep it up as long as it keeps our skin looking good, too.

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