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ToxicFree Foundation / Ingredient Database / Urea
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    What is it?

    Urea is also known as carbamide. It is used as an antiseptic and deodorizer in many cosmetic and personal care products. Naturally occurring, it is a skin conditioner and does not release formaldehyde, however Urea compounds that are created synthetically as preservatives do release formaldehyde.

    More Information

    This long list of cosmetic and Personal care ingredients fall into the Urea group:



    2-bromo-2-nitropropane-1, 3-diol

    5-bromo-5-nitro-1, 3-dioxane

    Diazolidinyl urea

    Imazolidinyl urea


    DMDM Hydantoin

    Sodium hydroxymethyl



    From A Consumer’s Dictionary of Cosmetic Ingredients and A Guide to Toxic Ingredients

    See: Formaldehyde

    Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA)

    Potentially hazardous incompatibilities: Decomposes on heating above melting point producing toxic gases. Reacts violently with strong oxidants, nitrites, inorganic chlorides, chlorites and perchlorates causing fire and explosion hazard. 

    Potential Symptoms: Burning sensation in throat and chest; cough, dyspnea; exercise-induced asthma (one case); redness, skin, eyes; INGES ACUTE: Headache; nausea, vomiting; seizures. 

    Health Effects: Lung damage - fibrosis, inflammation (HE11); Irritation-Eyes, Nose, Throat, Skin - Moderate (HE15) 

    Affected Organs: Respiratory system, skin, eyes 

    Notes: Urea, used in production of high-nitrogen fertilizers, has also been used medically as an abortifacient and a skin moisturizer.

    This ingredient is commonly used in: