What Is Urea in Skin Care? A Dermatologist Explains

ByKatherine S

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  • Urea is a pores and skin-treatment ingredient that can be discovered in confront creams, lotions, and serums.

  • Urea has two principal skin-care gains: exfoliation and hydration.

  • Forward, a dermatologist responses prevalent concerns about urea and how to use it.

Everyone who’s at any time attempted to read through the substances listing on the packaging of pores and skin-treatment items understands just how puzzling the endeavor can be. There are some substances that are far more commonplace and consequently less complicated to identify – like hyaluronic acid, salicylic acid, and ceramides – but then there are components like urea that can leave you scratching your head and pondering: what is urea?

If you might be stumped by this component, make it possible for us to lose some gentle on what urea is, its pores and skin-care added benefits, and how to use it in your plan. Forward, a dermatologist answers all of your questions.

What Is Urea?

To start, let’s establish what urea is in the context of natural beauty. “Your skin has a natural moisturizing component (NMF), which assists the pores and skin keep on to drinking water and remain plump and hydrated,” Shereene Idriss, MD, a board-accredited dermatologist and the founder of Idriss Dermatology in New York City, tells POPSUGAR. “Urea helps make up 7 percent of your NMF.” The rest of your natural moisturizing aspect is created up of amino acids, lactic acid, and pyrrolidone carboxylic acid.

The skin is not the only put to discover it. “[It] can be found normally in pee,” Dr. Idriss claims. But have no anxiety, that is not the very same kind of urea that is in your magnificence solutions. “In industrial cosmetics, urea is produced synthetically in the lab and is generally added back again even into baked products and wine that we take in happily.”

What Are the Gains of Urea?

Each ingredient has a function and purpose for remaining bundled in a products. Urea has two major positive aspects. “[It] acts as an agent that helps to split up lifeless pores and skin cells,” Dr. Idriss suggests. “It also has moisturizing action.” Which means you are going to locate urea in each hydrating and exfoliating products and solutions.

Urea is a humectant, just like hyaluronic acid, and draws in dampness from the natural environment (like the air) and the pores and skin alone to hydrate. It is also a keratolytic agent, which is how it gets its exfoliating homes. It functions by breaking down protein keratin in the skin, properly finding rid of flakes and dry patches.

Dr. Idriss recommends that if you are hoping to reap the benefit of exfoliation from urea, you really should appear for solutions with a urea concentration higher than 10 per cent.

How Urea Is Utilised in Skin Treatment

You will obtain urea in pores and skin-care products starting at a focus of just two per cent and ranging up to 40 per cent. “If it truly is significantly less than 10 %, it is really principally utilised as a moisturizer,” Dr. Idriss suggests. “If it really is above 10 percent and up to 20 p.c, it can be employed to deal with skin problems like tough skin patches, calluses, cracked heels, and keratosis pilaris.” This tends to make it wonderful to use on the body where by skin is thicker and can tolerate heavier exfoliation, like on fingers and feet.

Possible Aspect Consequences of Urea

The checklist of potential aspect results of urea is shorter. “As with everything, it might induce some incredibly delicate pores and skin discomfort,” Dr. Idriss suggests. “If you establish any signs and symptoms like stinging, itching, [and] burning, you could have an allergic response.”

On the brilliant side, urea can also enable boost the absorption of other skin-treatment elements in your regimen. This can make them even additional helpful, but it can also make them extra irritating.

Ingredients You Shouldn’t Blend With Urea

Some ingredients play awesome collectively, when many others really don’t. In common, urea is rather straightforward to include into your schedule – you can expect to just want to use warning when combining it with other exfoliating elements, like salicylic acid, glycolic acid, lactic acid, and retinoids, as it may possibly “render it far more potent” and lead to discomfort, according to Dr. Idriss. It can be finest to stick to a single exfoliant at a time.