What Is Urea

Urea, otherwise known as hydroxyethyl urea or urea 40, is a natural component present in the epidermis and makes up 7% of the natural moisturizing factor (NMF), which functions to keep skin lovely and plump. Urea’s properties are remarkable. It can help maintain a healthy moisture balance at low percentages, while higher percentages encourage cellular turnover bringing a luminous quality to the skin. However, like many natural compounds, the presence of urea in the skin decreases with age resulting in skin dehydration and inflammation. Incorporating urea into your skincare routine can help to prevent these issues.

How It Works

The outer layer of the skin, the epidermis, can be divided into five sublayers. The outermost sublayer, the stratum corneum, keeps unwanted molecules from entering the body and prevents water loss through the skin. The water-retaining property of the stratum corneum largely comes from a group of substances known as natural moisturising factors (NMFs). Among these NMFs is urea. Urea is used in a variety of skin care products to target general skin dryness or medical conditions associated with dry or itchy skin. Urea can also help exfoliate dead skin buildup and may help target fungal infections.

Benefits Of Urea

Hydration is the key to soft, smooth, and healthy skin. Urea is known for being a powerful humectant that attracts moisture from the environment and seals it into the skin. Regular application of a product containing urea can improve skin’s water retention ability.

Formulations containing urea were also found to significantly improve skin barrier function. It provides skin with better protection from external harm.

Topical application of the ingredient is also believed to accelerate the process of skin renewal. This, in turn, may help maintain your skin barrier and protect your skin from external environmental elements.

Urea can be an excellent exfoliant as well.  Due to its keratolytic properties, it helps remove the excess skin produced by the epidermis. It is mandatory to regularly remove the dead skin cells from the skin surface. Urea does a great job at it as an exfoliant and may soften dry, rough skin.

Fun Fact

Urea may have anesthetic properties. Anecdotal evidence suggests that urea can be used for pain relief in skin inflammation and painful flare-ups. Some studies also show that it can be combined with anti-inflammatory treatments to aid in the management of several skin conditions.

Food Sources

Urea can’t be found in natural food sources but urea oral supplements are used for hyponatremia treatment. Hypoantremia is a condition of low blood sodium levels. Taking urea helps to bring this level back to normal.

Our Skincare Top Picks

Advanced Cleanser

Advanced Cleanser effectively removes make-up, excess sebum, and skin impurities. After usage skin appears clean, purified, and hydrated. Suitable for daily cleansing and all skin types. 

Active Ingredients: Xylitol, Zinc PCA, Urea, Glycerin

Best for dry, sensitive, or normal skin and make-up removal

Purifying mousse

Daily cleansing foam for purifying and sanitizing skin types prone to acne and seborrhea. Its light texture and formulation, mainly based on glucosides and refreshing agents enables it to eliminate impurities from the skin, creating optimal conditions of softness and leaving behind a pleasant sensation of freshness.

Active Ingredients: Urea, Chlorhexidine, Salicylic Acid, and Lactic Acid

Best for combination or oily, acne-prone skin


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