Urea cream is known as a debriding agent, which helps to eliminate dead cells from the skin. Known by several brand names like Carmol®, Keralac®, UriSec® and Decubal®, this topical ointment is prescribed to combat a range of common skin disorders, from eczema and dematitis to psoriasis and keratosis. Many over-the-counter remedies also employ this cream to reduce corns, calluses and even ingrown nails.
This medicinal approach to skin care is often referred to as a keratolytic emollient, or a skin-thinning moisturizer. It acts to remove dead skin around various lesions like warts by dissolving only those cells no longer needed for epidermal constitution. It can also soften nail fibers for easy removal when they have become yellowed or otherwise damaged.
When various infections are present, skin cells can die off more quickly than usual. This requires a debriding agent like urea cream to clean the old cells away to make room for healing. This problem is often referred to as hyperkeratosis, which can manifest itself in a range of skin conditions creating scaly looking skin.
Aside from the aforementioned conditions, urea cream is used to combat hyperkeratosis brought on by several other problems. A genetic condition called ichthyosis is often treated with the cream, as is keratoderma, which shows itself as horn-like growths on the skin. Many doctors also recommend this cream in addition to regular scrubbing with an exfoliating loofah sponge when patients complain of oversize corns or calluses.
Some users of urea cream suffer minor side effects, which often recede over time. The most common is a mild itching, stinging or burning feeling. Even fewer patients are allergic to this cream, which can cause an extreme rash called urticaria as well as an exaggerated swelling of the face and neck. Since very little urea cream is absorbed into the bloodstream, drug interactions are rare.
Though urea cream is regularly prescribed for medical treatment, it is also a component, in less-concentrated form, of various commercial skin care and anti-wrinkle creams. It is promoted as preventative maintenance for skin, clearing away damaged cells and fungi to make way for healthy epidermal growth. It often comes in a suspension liquid that also may include other moisturizers like aloe vera, mineral oil or vitamin E — all working in concert to strip away the most dried, scaly skin as possible.