Urea lotions have various uses and come in different types to address different skin problems. The most common types are topical lotions, facial moisturizers, and urea creams, although other products have scalp care and antibacterial applications. These products work as a moisturizer on affected areas and can kill harmful organisms on the skin.
The most popular use of urea in a lotion is the rehydration of dry skin. Skin problems can occur when too much water evaporates from the outer layer of skin cells and when the natural oils on the skin surface get stripped due to age and washing. Topical lotions can treat dry skin by penetrating the outer layer and improving the skin’s capacity to retain moisture. The moisturizing ingredients mixed in with the urea lotions provide extra oil to the skin’s surface, preventing water from evaporating in the future.
Urea’s ability to lock in moisture also makes it a powerful ingredient in facial moisturizers. Unlike other lotions and creams that contain mineral oil and lipids, which only moisturize the skin’s surface, urea cream goes deep into the skin layers and retains water internally. This makes the skin supple and soft for longer periods of time, as compared to non-urea products. The lotion cannot improve skin that is already chapped or sunburned, however, and it should never be applied on open wounds or raw skin.
Some aestheticians and medical professionals recommend urea lotions for treating flaky skin on the scalp. Scalp lotions can be used to address recurring dandruff or to control an oily scalp or hair. After the hair is washed with a mild shampoo, the lotion is applied onto the scalp until the affected areas are completely covered. Experts advise individuals to leave the lotion on the scalp overnight to maximize results, although this depends on a medical professional’s evaluation of the patient’s skin. The urea penetrates the scalp to bring water within the skin layers and keep them there, often providing a long-term solution to scalp flaking.
Other urea lotions are used as a complementary treatment to bacterial skin infections. Scalp lotions with urea are designed to get rid of the bacteria that cause flaking and dandruff. When applied to the nails, urea creams can help eliminate nail fungus by improving the skin’s ability to absorb antifungal medications. In this regard, however, the products should be used as complements to the treatment, not as a treatment itself.