Lately my skin has been very dry. It itches, flakes and looks dry. It’s worse than usual. And I think it’s because I work from home and have the heating at a comfortable temperature all day long. Also my Asian skin is super sensitive to dehydrated environments so I thought it was me.
Until I found that my husband’s face started to flake too. And I have never seen this before. His Caucasian skin can withstand such conditions. So I said: “Look your skin is flaky!”
And he answered in alarm: “No, my skin is never flaky.”
He ran to the bathroom and saw in the mirror that his skin was indeed starting to flake. “What should I do?”, he shouted.
“Moisturize”, I shouted back.
Since then we’ve been moisturizing extra every day, but frankly, we’ve noticed little difference. We decided we needed a heavier substance. And after googling I found: urea. Now I haven’t used it yet, I still have to buy it. But I think it is what my skin need right now. And I tell you why.
What is Urea?
Urea is made in your body by your liver. It is used for moisture regulation in the kidneys and skin. Urea attracts water and retains it. It ensures that your skin is hydrated, protected and less likely to dry out. This is why you often see the substance in skin care products. They don’t use a natural variant of urea here, but a synthetic one.
Urea in skin care does two things: and hydrates your skin and makes it less likely to dry out. This makes flakes and dry spots disappear faster. It’s therefor widely used for skin problems, like eczema, dry skin and psoriasis.
It also works against fungus. You will therefor often find it in foot products to combat nail fungus.
The benefits of urea
Firstly, urea acts as a humidifier. Humidifiers attract water molecules. This keeps your skin hydrated for longer, prevents moisture from evaporating from your skin and strenghtens the natural barrier of your skin. This is especially nice for your skin when it’s cold outside and having the heating on inside.
In addition, urea also acts as a mild peeling. It exfoliates the skin. Dead skin cells are broken down and cel renewal is accelerated. This makes your skin smoother and softer.
Urea in J-beauty and K-beauty
Urea is often use in moisturizers to enhance the effect. It occurs in different strenghts (between 5% and 40%). The higher the percentage, the better the hydration.
Front photo: RyanKing999