Urea – what is it?
Urea is an organic product of protein metabolism. In nature it occurs as a major component of urine, but it is also found in other body fluids. In the skin, urea is responsible for one of the factors of hydration. It is a hygroscopic compound that attracts water and keeps the stratum corneum moisturized. In addition, urea is secreted by sweat glands, and is part of the “acid mantle” on the outermost surface of the skin.
Urea has a long history in traditional medicine and was often used to treat infections. Today, urea is produced synthetically and is found in medicinal and skin care cosmetics. All due to its strong moisturizing and skin-protecting properties. In over-the-counter products, such as urea shampoo or face cream, the concentration of urea is usually around 5-10%. In some cases, urea can be found at a concentration of 50%, but such treatments are usually designed to treat specific skin problems.
Urea 50 cream and urea 30 cream are most often found in the form of foot products – if you need spot, heavy-duty hydration or exfoliation, consult your GP or dermatologist.
Urea – properties
Urea has hydrophilic properties, which means it has an incredible ability to retain water molecules, keeping skin firm and hydrated. Not only does urea easily absorb water, but it itself has a very high water content, which helps reduce the amount of moisture lost by the skin. In addition, urea improves the skin barrier, so the skin is less irritated and its condition is better.
But that’s not all – urea also has natural exfoliating properties. This is well seen especially in foot cosmetics, in which the concentration of urea is usually higher. Combined with the moisturizing properties of urea, this is a very effective treatment for the skin. Urea also works well in combination with lactic acid, with which they take care of the healthy molecular structure of the skin. Urea and lactic acid actively remove dead skin cells, literally rebuilding the skin from within.
Urea is also great for dealing with acne. Urea attacks acne-causing bacteria in the skin, so imperfections form much less frequently. Urea also directly inhibits Malassezia yeasts, which are often the cause of fungal acne.
Urea can cause a local anesthetic effect on the skin and has antipruritic properties. For this reason, it is also used for inflammation.