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Urine Therapy & the Skin

by
author image Jennifer Byrne
Jennifer Byrne is a freelance writer and editor specializing in topics related to health care, fitness, science and more. She attended Rutgers University. Her writing has been published by KidsHealth.org, DietBlogTalk.com, Primary Care Optometry News, and EyeWorld Magazine. She was awarded the Gold Award from the American Society of Healthcare Publication Editors (ASHPE), 2007, and the Apex Award for Publication Excellence.
Urine Therapy & the Skin
Advocates believe urine therapy can address a variety of health conditions. Photo Credit gsheldon/iStock/Getty Images

Urine therapy, also known as urotherapy, is a type of alternative treatment that uses urine to address health conditions. The urine is either drank, rubbed on the skin, or used in a synthetic cream form for skin treatment. Advocates of urine therapy claim this treatment can relieve conditions ranging from the common cold to cancer. Some also believe that urine can be an effective anti-aging skin therapy. Urine therapy is not considered a medical treatment for any condition so consult a health-care professional before pursuing this therapy.

History

The use of urine for a variety of health concerns has existed as far back as ancient Egypt and possibly biblical times. According to the newspaper the Independent, the practice of drinking urine was mentioned in Egyptian medical books, as well as in ancient Chinese and Indian texts. The ancient Aztecs were among the earliest recorded users of urine therapy for the skin. They used it to disinfect wounds, the Independent reports.

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Types

Urine can be used in its pure form, in which the individual drinks their own urine, and can also be applied to the skin. According to Cancer.org, you can also apply urea, the main component of urine, directly to tumors on the skin in powder form. Urea is also available as a cream, and is sometimes a synthetic formulation. Drugs.com reports that urea cream can be used to soften tough skin and eliminate calluses and corns.

Conflicting Claims

According to Slate.com, some professional baseball players use urine therapy on their hands as a means of making them "tough." This use seems to be contrary to the claims made by advocates of urine therapy for skin. The baseball players believe the urine protects their hands from injury by toughening the skin. However, Slate.com notes that this belief may be rooted more in superstition than in evidence. Urine treatment for skin isn't scientifically proven to work for any skin condition.

Delivery and Potency

Slate.com notes that although urine isn't proven to soften skin, urea might be effective in moisturizing skin. Synthetic urea produced in cream or lotion form is generally considered to be more effective than actual urine. Slate.com reports that in order to absorb the same concentration of urea from urine, you would need to soak your skin in urine for about five minutes.

Warning

Although the use of urine on skin does not appear to be significantly harmful, it may actually worsen the symptoms of some conditions, such as eczema and contact dermatitis, reports dermatology professor Alexa Boer Kimball in Slate.com. Moreover, you may experience allergic reactions from topical application of urine, and, if you consume it, you might suffer from side effects such as diarrhea, reports Cancer.org. Talk to your doctor about whether urine therapy would be suitable for your skin condition.

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