WHAT IT DOES:
Urea is a component of urine, although synthetic versions are used in cosmetics. It is an essential part of the natural moisture factor (NMF) of human skin and a common ingredient in hydrating products. In high volumes, urea acts as a keratolytic to soften skin.
HOW IT WORKS:
In small amounts, urea has beneficial water-binding and mild exfoliating properties for skin. In larger concentrations it can cause sensitivity.
Urea has been used in modern medicine for some time in treating the itching and burning effects of psoriasis, dermatitis, and ichthyosis. A known keratolytic urea encourages the desquamation of dead skin cells by increasing moisture in the outermost layer of the skin.