Why experts recommend urea for the treatment of dry skin

According to medical experts, urea, an organic compound, is the gold standard treatment for dry skin. We learn why this is so.

When it comes to treating patients, and giving advice on special conditions, doctors often turn to trusted medical bodies and their latest research for advice.

Dry skin (or xerosis cutis) is a common skin complaint, caused by internal and external factors disturbing the skin’s moisture balance. This skin condition is highly prevalent among the South African population. Yet, surprisingly, there was no standardised approach on how best to treat the condition until recently.

Medical experts agree on the best way to treat dry skin

In 2018, a group of renowned physicians published a medical paper on the Diagnosis and Treatment of Xerosis cutis. The report summarises the latest research findings in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of dry skin and gives doctors practical advice on how best to treat the condition.

The medical paper states that dry skin can, in principle, be treated effectively. The decisive factor in the effectiveness of dry skin treatment is choosing the appropriate care product.

Moisturising should involve a combination of hydrating and lipid-replenishing ingredients, formulated to restore the skin’s natural barrier function in the best possible way and prevent skin from drying out further.

Urea – the gold standard treatment    

The paper explains that, “based on the available scientific data, urea is the gold standard for the therapy of xerosis cutis1.”

Urea has the advantage of being effective on two fronts; as a natural moisturising factor, it binds moisture into the outermost layers of skin. Plus, it also supports desquamation which is the natural process by which skin sheds dead skin cells. Healthy desquamation is linked to smooth skin.

The Diagnosis and Treatment of Xerosis cutispaper also explains that when urea is combined with other moisturising ingredients and lipids, the effect is even better: It states, “The combination of urea with ceramides, NMF and glycerol shows a significantly better effect than the effect of urea or the vehicle alone2.”

Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS

Eucerin scientists were the first to effectively include urea in a dermo-cosmetic product, and now have more than 25 years’ experience of maximising the benefits of urea in skincare formulas. Experience that includes more than 30 clinical and dermatological studies, involving 10 000 volunteers.

The lotions and creams in the Eucerin UreaRepair PLUS range offer people with dry skin exactly what the independent expert paper recommends. The formulas include:

  • various concentrations of urea (ranging from 5% to 10%).
  • other natural moisturising factors (NMFs), ceramides and gluco-glycerol.

The range is clinically and dermatologically proven to offer immediate and 48hour dry-skin relief.3

Urea and 17 other natural moisturising factors help the skin to attract and bind in moisture, thereby improving the symptoms of dry skin.

Ceramides repair and strengthen the skin barrier and thus reduce moisture loss.

Urea binds water into the outermost layers of skin and, at the same time, breaks down the connections between dead skin cells. This promotes desquamation and ensures a smoother skin surface.


  1. Augustin M et al., Diagnosis and Treatment of Xerosis Cutis. JDDG, July 2018: Suppl 4, Volume 16.
  2. Weber TM et al., J Clin Aesthet Dermatol 2012, 5:29–39.

3. Beiersdorf. Data on file

For more information please visit www.eucerin.co.za

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