Skincare Active Ingredients

Urea for skin – Complete Guide

Urea is one of the most underrated ingredients in the skincare industry and It has a lot of benefits that you won’t find much in many ingredients. Let’s look more into this ingredient.

  • Humectant: urea is a tiny molecule that penetrates through the top layer of the skin easily. Once it penetrates through the skin, it can hold onto water and prevent water loss.
  • Keratolytic: urea at high concentrations can loosen the dead skin cells on top of the skin and can prevent unclogged pores. It is a gentler exfoliator that can also brighten the skin.
  • Strengthening lipid barrier: Urea can also increase filaggrin, which is a vital protein, that plays an important role in the skin’s barrier function. It brings together proteins to the outermost layer of the skin to create a strong barrier.
  • It protects against SLS: it reduces the skin’s susceptibility to sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS).
  • Helps with different skin diseases: It helps treat ichthyosis, xerosis, psoriasis, seborrheic dermatitis, atopic dermatitis, contact dermatitis, radiation-induced dermatitis, onychomycosis (a.k.a nail fungus), tinea pedis, keratosis, and pruritus.

Urea is used in prescriptions and OTC products to increase the penetration of active ingredients. It does this by removing the dead skin cells on the top of the skin and allowing the actives to pass through.

Who all can use Urea?

Urea is suitable for all skin types including sensitive skin and skin of color. It mainly used to treat dry skin, dehydrated skin, calluses, and cracked heels. It’s suitable for hyperkeratotic skin (thickened skin), keratosis pilaris, and psoriasis.

How to choose the best Urea product?

Urea is mainly used in lotions and creams. You can look for other moisturizing ingredients along with urea.

  • Concentrations of 3%-10% can treat dry skin and dermatitis.
  • Concentrations above 10% can treat dry patches of skin, calluses, cracked heels.
  • Concentrations above 20% can exfoliate the skin.

What skincare ingredients can I use Urea with?

Since urea is mainly used in creams and lotions, you can use it with your skincare actives like retinol, retinoids, vitamin C, niacinamide, ceramides, peptides, azelaic acid, AHA/BHA/PHA’s, and many more. Using urea with your skincare actives can reduce irritation and also moisturize the skin.

Urea is overall a great ingredient for skin if you have really dry skin and it can also provide a lot of other benefits.

Frequently asked questions:

Can Urea cause purging?

No, urea does not cause purging because it does not promote cell turnover rate. What you might be experiencing are breakouts or an allergic reaction.

Can Urea be used with retinol?

Yes, you can use urea with retinol as long as you use both in lower concentrations. You can use retinol at night followed by a moisturizer, lotion, or cream containing urea.

Can I use urea and niacinamide together?

Yes, you can use urea and niacinamide together as long as you use them both in lower concentrations. You can apply niacinamide followed by a moisturizer, lotion, or cream containing urea.