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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

SVR Xerial 50 Extreme Crème Pieds Urisec 22% Urea Cream Bielenda Coarse-Grain Scrub Diamond Microdermabrasion Effect CeraVe SA Smoothing Cream Dermadrate Dry Skin Treatment 10% Urea Cream Eubos Urea 5% Face Cream Eucerin Advanced Repair Lotion Eucerin Dry Skin Face Cream 5% Urea Eucerin Replenishing Face Creme 5% Urea Plus Lactate Eucerin Roughness Relief Lotion Giuliani Kerà K2 ICM Pharma Aqurea Moisturizing Cream Instituto Español Crema Reparadora Urea L300 Fresh Hydration Cleansing Toner Masterplast Soft Feet Heel Balm Numis med Urea 5% Superdrug Cracked Heel Repair Cream Urea Labs 10% Urea Cream Uriage Keratosane 30 Veet Silk & Fresh In-Shower Hair Removal Cream Sensitive Skin up&up Triple Action Foot Cream Cien Crema Hidratante Urea 5% DerMend Alpha + Beta Hydroxy Therapy Dermedic Hydrain 3 Hialuro Cream Eucerin Complete Repair Moisturizing Lotion Eucerin Hyal Urea Nachtcreme Eucerin Urea Repair Rich Eucerin Urea Repair Rich Replenishing Face Cream 5% Urea + Ceramides Helena Rubinstein Re-Plasty High Definition Peel Mantecorp Ivy C Face Perricone MD No:Rinse Exfoliating Peel Sephora Foot Mask TeeProSyn Gesichtspflege Für Trockene Haut / Facial Care For Dry Skin Topicrem Ur-10 Anti-Calluses Foot Cream Zeroid Richenic Cream Urea 5% dermend Alpha Beta Hydroxy Lotion BILLE Super Active Anti - Acne Toner CCS Foot Care Cream Dr. Barbara Stürm Cleanser Isomers Deep Crease Correction Cream L300 Deep Cleansing Toner Murad Hydrating Toner Murad Sensitive Skin Soothing Serum Pirin Dream Intensive Hydratating Body Lotion Sidmool Dr. Galatok Galatokside Real N.M.F Barrier Serum Skimono Beauty Foot Mask Topicrem Ultra-Moisturizing Hand Cream Beautybio The Daily Vitamin C + Antioxidant Day Serum Bioluma Bave d'Escargot Crème Visage Dr. Foot Callus Exfoliating Cream