Take a minute to inspect the cosmetics in your cabinet, for instance makeup, skincare, or hair care products. You'll likely find the ingredient urea. Doesn't sound too appetizing, does it? You're right!
Urea is used as a preservative and moisturizer. Unfortunately, it can increase the risk for contact dermatitis. It has also been proven to release formaldehyde, which is a carcinogen.
It's supposed to be moisturizing, but what ingredient is it using to moisturize?
Your knowledge about urea might be that it comes from urine- which is true. The body produces it as an organic, waste compound after metabolizing protein in the liver. Urea is then excreted by the kidneys through urine. It is also excreted through sweat. Healthy skin usually has a small amount of urea on its outer layer.
However, urea in cosmetics is man-made in the laboratory. Ammonia and carbon dioxide are used to make this chemical. Are these things you'd put on your skin?
It's a favorite among manufacturers though, because it extends shelf-life by slowing down the loss of moisture from a product during use. Urea also makes it easier to add certain ingredients to a formula, thus maintaining its pH balance.
It also alters the skin's structure, allowing other chemicals to penetrate to the inner layers of skin. This increases the effectiveness of certain products, but at what cost to your health? Urea also increases the moisture content in the top layers of skin. This is why your skin feels soft and supple after you use a product with urea in it.
A large variety of products, including the following:
As we always say, why should you use ingredients on your skin that a) Have no advantages, and b) can cause harm? Sure, ureas may be slightly moisturizing, but there are far healthier options. These include; butter, honey, shea, aloe, and others. Fortunately, ureas are easy to spot on product labels. Avoid any product that contains the following:
The Sole Toscana Skincare Team