Please Don't Try This At Home: The Urine Facial

There are plenty of things ladies will do in the name of zit-free skin. We're constantly looking for that miracle treatment to rid us of our spots for good. But, the latest at-home blemish-banishing trick to make news is not one we suggest you try: Women in the U.K. are using urine to clear their acne, according to an essay in The Telegraph.

Apparently, it works gangbusters as a toner and spot treatment. We knew there had to be some truth to this — your typical woman isn't going to slather pee on her face for the hell of it. So, we asked Neal Schultz, MD, an NYC derm and BeautyRx founder, whether this is legit. "Urine is made up of 95% water, and the next-highest component concentration is urea," he explains. "Urea can act a little bit like an exfoliant, which is why it may have skin-care benefits."

In fact, urea is used in a whole host of moisturizing and exfoliating skin-care products — it's particularly good at getting rid of calluses. "Urea is a keratolytic, meaning it dissolves the keratin in the outer horny layer of the epidermis," Dr. Schultz says. "But, urea is also a humectant, because it binds and holds water, thereby adding water to the skin." In fact, it's a great ingredient for skin care because it does both — exfoliates dry skin, and then helps retain water to improve hydration. But, Dr. Schultz stresses the fact that urine contains such a minuscule proportion of urea that you're barely getting any results. "The creams have anywhere from 10 to 15% concentration of urea," he says. "In urine, it's significantly less than 5%."

If you're looking for something to zap those zits that falls into the realm of "natural" — but not in the realm of "things your body expels through your private parts" — Dr. Schultz says green tea, apple-cider vinegar, and tea-tree oil are good alternatives.

Desperate times call for desperate measures and all that, but putting urine on your face is just going too far. Not only is it gross, but it's just not as effective as a cream that has urea in it. "Just because an ingredient can do something, and it exists somewhere [naturally], doesn't mean that you should use it however you want," Dr. Schultz says. We agree. Just say nope, guys.


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