Urea as an ingredient in cosmetics

Hand-lotion-ureasUREA is a waste product found in the urine of mammals and in minute amounts in human perspiration. UREA also contains small amounts of nitrogen. It is created due to proteins being metabolized and is excreted by the kidneys.

UREA was discovered and manufactured synthetically by German and French chemists. It comes in the form of white crystalline powder or small white pellets.

It is used in the cosmetic industry as it has a softening and hydrating effect on skin and acts as a humectant; has the ability to draw moisture from the atmosphere.


UREA minimizes the change in the acid/base balance of a product when other ingredients are added and slows down the loss of moisture when it is included.

UREA increases the moisture levels of the stratum corneum or upper layer of the epidermis, also known as the horny layer and has the ability to dissolve scaly cells and in so doing results in a smoother more glowing complexion.

In the cosmetic industry UREA is included in small amounts in face and body lotions, in anti-ageing preparations, in sun block and even tooth whitening products.

UREA is essential to foot creams and balms for its softening and moisturizing properties, as one's heals and soles are most prone to dryness and cracking more so than other body parts. Podiatrists find UREA especially helpful in the treatment of corns and callouses and the damage caused by ingrown nails.

As with many other ingredients, UREA may cause various forms of dermatitis in sensitive skins resulting in redness, itching and burning sensations and in more severe cases swelling of the tissues. However, these reactions are minimal