What is Urea?: An Effective Dry Skin Remedy

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I know many people, myself included, who start to get dry, scaly skin in the winter months. And for many, dry skin isn’t just a bit of a bother – it can be a big issue. The symptoms can get so bad that the skin cracks, causing itchiness, pain, and even infection.

If you deal with dry and cracked skin on a regular basis, you don’t have to continue to suffer. It’s time to not just find relief, but to prevent your symptoms from occurring in the first place. One of the more effective ways to do this is to use moisturizing creams with an important ingredient: urea.

What is Urea?

Urea is a compound naturally found in the body, where it plays a major role in the metabolism and excretion of nitrogen. Urea is also present in the layers of the skin, where it is important for maintaining the balance of moisture in the skin. This allows it to have beneficial effects in dermatology.

Creams containing urea can effectively prevent and treat a variety of skin conditions, such as the following:

Athlete’s foot
Toenail fungus
Dry skin [1]

Urea as a Dry Skin Remedy

Urea is known to be especially effective in treating dry skin, even in severe cases.[1] It is known to aid in the healing of dry skin by a variety of mechanisms:

1. Improving hydration of skin cells[1]
2. Reducing water loss through the skin[1]
3. Enhancing antimicrobial action to protect against germs and infection[1,2]
4. Regulating genes that help skin cells form a protective barrier[2]

These qualities of urea help to keep your skin hydrated, moisturized, and protected from external sources of injury and infection. Urea isn’t just a treatment tool; it can help to prevent dry skin from occurring in the first place.

How To Use Urea for Dry Skin

Urea can work wonders on dry skin, and it can help you to stop it from happening in the first place.

Find a product with 10 percent to 20 percent urea that uses natural ingredients. Common moisturizers often have ingredients like parabens, phthalates, synthetic fragrance, and other ingredients that are toxic in the body, disrupt hormones, cause reproductive problems, and even cause cancer. So be sure to consider natural alternatives that include healthy ingredients like coconut oil, shea butter, ceramides, or other natural products.

Urea is considered a safe product, and adverse affects are uncommon. Mild irritation is the most common side effect; if you experience any irritation, stop using the product.[1]

To read about other effective dry skin remedies, read more here.


[1] Dermatol Online J. 2013 Nov 15;19(11):20392.
[2] J Invest Dermatol. 2012 Jun;132(6):1561-72.

Natural Health Advisory Institute contributing editor Chelsea Clark is a writer with a passion for science, human biology, and natural health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in molecular and cellular biology with an emphasis in neuroscience from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA. Her research on the relationship between chronic headache pain and daily stress levels has been presented at various regional, national, and international conferences. Chelsea’s interest in natural health has been fueled by her own personal experience with chronic medical issues. Her many profound experiences with natural health practitioners and remedies have motivated Chelsea to contribute to the world of natural health as a researcher and writer for Natural Health Advisory Institute. Read all of her MOTHER EARTH NEWS postshere.

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