A Hero For Dryness & Rough Patches

If you’ve examined substances in your moisturizer, you’ve in all probability observed urea listed — then questioned what precisely that’s. Because whereas different equally hydrating parts have risen in reputation, urea in skincare has but to grow to be a family title regardless of its omnipresence in so many lotions.

In quick, urea is a pure element of the pure moisturizing issue of the pores and skin and can assist to enhance pores and skin hydration, Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle. The ingredient additionally serves as a humectant, which means it attracts moisture from the surroundings to maintain the pores and skin hydrated, explains board-certified dermatologist Dr. Brandon Camp, M.D. And because of this you’ll typically discover it inside moisturizing magnificence merchandise, says Camp.

Other humectants you may be extra aware of are its extra well-liked friends in skincare, together with hyaluronic acid and glycerin. Considering its science-backed hydrating skills, why is urea not as extensively talked about? Keep studying for what dermatologists must say about utilizing urea in skincare.

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What Does Urea Do For Skin?

What makes urea so particular is its distinctive combo of advantages. Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist based mostly in New York City, tells Bustle he considers it a “wonder ingredient.” That’s as a result of it moisturizes and exfoliates: While urea does soak up water as a humectant to ship hydration to the pores and skin, Mudgil explains it additionally acts as a chemical exfoliant, which means it helps to eliminate useless pores and skin cells.

The focus of urea you’re utilizing impacts what you get out of the ingredient. “The forms of urea found in skin care are all varying versions of each other, but tend to differ in concentration and vehicle,” Dr. Rachel Nazarian, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist, tells Bustle. “Lower concentrations, such as below 10%, are used to improve moisture and hydration, and to make the skin feel soft and smooth,” she explains.

Higher concentrations, then again, are finest used to focus on areas with particularly tough pores and skin, equivalent to within the elbows or knees, Camp says. And whereas the utmost focus accessible could also be as excessive as 40%, any quantity above 10 acts as a keratolytic agent. This is a sort of chemical exfoliant that breaks the bonds between dead skin cells, finally facilitating their removing from the floor of the pores and skin, he explains. (Another keratolytic agent? Salicylic acid.) You’ll have a tendency to seek out larger concentrations in focused merchandise that should deal with thick patches of pores and skin and calluses, for instance.

How To Use Urea In Your Skin Care Routine

The ingredient is usually well-tolerated by all pores and skin varieties. You’ll primarily discover urea in physique care merchandise, although it’s possible you’ll discover it in decrease concentrations in facial skincare formulations. Most generally, Nazarian says it’s used on areas that want mild exfoliation to dissolve thick tissue (like your heels and elbows). Urea can be significantly helpful in treating sure pores and skin situations. “Urea can also be used to help treat calluses, psoriasis, keratosis pilaris, and eczema,” Garshick says.

As for mixing it with different substances, derms say to be cautious along with your exfoliants. “Occasionally, urea can be combined with glycolic acid or other exfoliating acids, but this is strictly for a deeper removal of thick skin, such as for the heels of the feet,” says Nazarian, noting it may probably be irritating in any other case.

Which Concentration Is Right For Me?

The correct focus is totally dependent in your pores and skin’s wants. If you desire a fundamental moisturizer, Mudgil suggests utilizing a proportion with lower than 10%, as this could present ample hydration with out an excessive amount of irritation. “Lower levels of urea are fine for all skin types, and can be useful for maintaining a healthy moisturize barrier for anyone and everyone,” Nazarian says. Turn to twenty% and better when you’re trying to deal with callused, thick pores and skin, like elbows, and knees, and something nearer to 40% for absolutely the thickest and driest pores and skin in your physique, such because the heels.

Shop Urea In Skin Care

For Rough Body Skin

Garshick and Camp suggest Eucerin Roughness Relief, a moisturizing lotion that may be utilized to the entire physique to assist cut back tough and bumpy pores and skin whereas additionally delivering long-lasting hydration. It’s each fragrance-free and dye-free, too, making it a good selection for all pores and skin varieties.

For Calluses & Dry Feet

Garshick and Camp additionally each suggest this formulation by Isdin, which is a gel oil that targets calluses and thickened, tough pores and skin on the ft. “It helps to soften and smooth the skin without leaving the skin feeling greasy,” Garshick tells Bustle. A professional tip from Camp for treating your ft: “Try soaking your feet in lukewarm water for three to five minutes, then pat them dry, apply your urea product, and wear white cotton socks to bed,” he says. “This will facilitate the penetration of urea into the skin and prevent you from wiping it off on your sheets overnight.”

For Skin Barrier Protection

Formulated with 10% urea, hydrating squalane, calming collidal oatmeal, and fellow humectant glycerin, Soft Services’ Daily Toning Lotion delivers deep moisture to the pores and skin because it mildly exfoliates. With common use, you’ll nourish your pores and skin barrier as you reap the good thing about smoother pores and skin — all with out irritation.

For All-Around Better Texture

Camp is a fan of this rexturizing remedy, which mixes urea, skin-calming niacinamide, and hyaluronic acid. These famous person substances all work collectively to seamlessly ship easy, tender, and moisturized pores and skin, he says.

For Dry Hand Relief

Formulated with 5% urea, rice ferment, and rice bran oil — the latter of which is excessive in omega-6 and acts as an emollient — Facetheory’s Chirosmooth Hand Cream soothes and hydrates severely tough, dry, and/or chapped pores and skin on the palms.

Studies referenced:

Celleno L. (2018). Topical urea in skincare: A evaluate. Dermatologic remedy, 31(6), e12690.

Dall’Oglio, F., Tedeschi, A., Verzì, A. E., Lacarrubba, F., & Micali, G. (2020). Clinical evidences of urea at medium focus. International journal of scientific observe, 74 Suppl 187, e13815.

Piquero-Casals, J., Morgado-Carrasco, D., Granger, C., Trullàs, C., Jesús-Silva, A., & Krutmann, J. (2021). Urea in Dermatology: A Review of its Emollient, Moisturizing, Keratolytic, Skin Barrier Enhancing and Antimicrobial Properties. Dermatology and remedy, 11(6), 1905–1915.

Verzì, A. E., Musumeci, M. L., Lacarrubba, F., & Micali, G. (2020). History of urea as a dermatological agent in scientific observe. International journal of scientific observe, 74 Suppl 187, e13621.


Dr. Marisa Garshick, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Brandon Camp, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Adarsh Vijay Mudgil, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

Dr. Rachel Nazarian, M.D., board-certified dermatologist

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