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What Is Urea, and What Makes It Effective in Treating Dry, Itchy Skin?

What Is Urea, and What Makes It Effective in Treating Dry, Itchy Skin?

What is urea? Why is it found in certain creams? Is it effective against dry, irritated skin? Learn more about this ingredient and its benefits.
10 Dec 2021

Anyone who has ever dealt with dry, rough and itchy skin knows how important it is to keep skin hydrated 24/7. Itchy flare-ups can lead to extremely scaly or flaky skin, which can cause major discomfort (especially in the winter months). This is why it’s so important to look for a moisturizing lotion with proven ingredients to soothe symptoms and keep dryness at bay. That’s where urea comes in: Known for its exfoliating and moisturizing properties, this ingredient can help keep rough, scaly skin under control. Check out these helpful tips and upgrade your skincare routine ASAP.

What is urea?

Urea is a compound that our bodies naturally produce when protein is metabolized, travels through the liver and kidneys and is eventually released in urine. It’s also naturally found on our skin. Don’t worry, though—the urea that’s used in skincare products is synthetic and produced in a lab.

What is urea cream?

Urea is a humectant and an emollient, which means it absorbs moisture and softens skin. A product that contains 5% urea will help keep the outermost layer of skin (a.k.a. the epidermis) hydrated by drawing water from the deeper layers. At 10% strength, urea can exfoliate by breaking down keratin proteins in the outermost layer of the skin, which can help get rid of dead skin cells in the form of flakiness or scaliness. It also helps to calm itchiness and irritation. Products with more than 20% urea may help soften nails and can treat nail fungus.

Why use urea in skincare?

Urea is a humectant, which means it is able to absorb moisture from the environment and draw it to the skin. In addition, urea is also an emollient that softens and smooths the skin. Research shows that urea is ideal for treating itchy, irritated skin thanks to its ability to improve dryness and soften and exfoliate skin. Using products with urea results in fewer rough patches, which means less itchiness and inflammation. Anyone with dry skin can benefit from using urea as part of their skincare routine. It is safe for sensitive skin, can help with psoriasis and is great for thick, rough patches like on the knees, elbows and feet (including super-dry and cracked heels).

La Roche-Posay’s urea lotion

Take care of your skin and soothe symptoms like tightness and itchiness with La Roche-Posay Lipikar Lait Urea 5+ Body Balm. This urea lotion is suitable for all skin types, which means anyone suffering from dry, rough, flaky skin can benefit from using it. This gentle balm provides intense hydration, replenishing the skin’s lipids while gently exfoliating to remove dead skin cells from the surface. It’s even suitable for folks dealing with dryness from diabetes. Plus, it’s not at all sticky or greasy and melts into the skin for a soft, velvety finish.

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