Urea

goodie
Also-called-like-this: Carbamide

Details

Yes, it's the thing that can be found naturally in pee. And in the skin. It is an awesome natural moisturizing factor, aka NMF.  NMFs are important components that help the skin to hold onto water and keep it plump, elastic and hydrated. Urea makes up about 7% of NMFs next to other things such as amino acids (40%), PCA (12%) or Lactate (12%).

What makes urea special, is that it is not only a simple moisturizer, but it is thought to be a "small-molecule regulator of epidermal structure and function" meaning that it has a bunch of extra biological activities. It acts as a mild keratolytic agent (some of its moisturizing action is thought to come from urea's ability to break down bonds in the protein called filaggrin and thus freeing up amino acids in the skin), enhances antimicrobial peptide expression and improves skin barrier function

Being a mild keratolytic agent and strong moisturizer means that high-percentage (10-40%) urea treatments are found effective in a bunch of skin disorders connected to excessive dryness and malfunctioning skin barrier such as ichthyosis, xerosis, psoriasis, eczema and seborrheic dermatitis.  

Overall, just like glycerin, urea is a real oldie but a goodie, a nice ingredient in any moisturizer.

Show me some proof

  • Pan, Michael, et al. "Urea: a comprehensive review of the clinical literature." Dermatology online journal 19.11 (2013).
  • Grether-Beck, Susanne, et al. "Urea uptake enhances barrier function and antimicrobial defense in humans by regulating epidermal gene expression." Journal of Investigative Dermatology 132.6 (2012): 1561-1572.
  • Lodén, Marie. "Role of topical emollients and moisturizers in the treatment of dry skin barrier disorders." American journal of clinical dermatology 4.11 (2003): 771-788.

Products with Urea

Dermadrate Dry Skin Treatment 10% Urea Cream Eucerin Dry Skin Smoothing/Replenishing Face Creme Day With 5 Percent Urea Eucerin Replenishing Face Creme 5% Urea Plus Lactate ICM Pharma Aqurea Moisturizing Cream Superdrug Cracked Heel Repair Cream Veet Silk & Fresh In-Shower Hair Removal Cream Sensitive Skin Dermedic Hydrain 3 Hialuro Cream Eucerin Complete Repair Moisturizing Lotion Eucerin Hyal Urea Nachtcreme Eucerin Urea Repair Rich TeeProSyn Gesichtspflege Für Trockene Haut / Facial Care For Dry Skin CCS Foot Care Cream Dr. Barbara Stürm Cleanser Isomers Deep Crease Correction Cream Murad Hydrating Toner Sidmool Dr. Galatok Galatokside Real N.M.F Barrier Serum Freedom Studio Priming Water Manyo Factory Aqua Moisture Sleeping Cream Pack Manyo Factory Thermal Water Mineral Cream Murad Clarifying Cleanser Patchology Flashpatch Eye Gels iS Clinical Super Serum Advance+ First Aid Beauty Ultra Repair Face Moisturizer Glossier Moisturizing Moon Mask Murad Advanced Active Radiance Serum Murad Advance Acne And Wrinkle Reducer SeneGence Climate Control Clinique Clinique Dramatically Different Moisturizing Lotion Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Overnight Hydrating Masque Paula's Choice Hydralight One Step Cleanser Dermalogica Map-15 Regenerator Kiehl’s Ultra Facial Cream Lierac Paris Hydragenist Moisturizing Oxygenating Replumping Morning Mist Murad Anti-Aging Moisturiser Broad Spectrum SPF 30 PA+++ Renee Rouleau Advanced Resurfacing Serum The Ordinary Caffeine Solution 5% + Egcg Etude House Bebe Foot Mask RETIRIDES Retirides 1.0 Peter Thomas Roth Firmx Growth Factor Extreme Neuropeptide Serum Superdrug B. Essence Lotion e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence e.l.f. Hydrating Water Essence Balea Med Ultra Sensitive Totes Meer Körperlotion Julep Rethink Your Shower Hydrating Body Cleansing Oil LANEIGE Water Bank Gel Cream LANEIGE Water Bank Moisture Cream Murad Pore Reform™ Skin Smoothing Polish NYDG Ultra-Light Hydra-Gel Nu Skin Napca Moisture Mist Perricone MD Blue Plasma Cleansing Treatment