Dr. Filbry

Behind the Science of Eucerin Complete Repair

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Eucerin is a leader in innovative and effective care for dry, very dry and extremely dry skin with more than 100 years of expertise in developing products that care for dry skin conditions.

In this article, Dr Alexander Filbry, Head of Product Development for Body Care at Eucerin, looks at the causes of dry skin and the science behind Eucerin’s Complete Repair range. He explains how the unique ingredient combinations in the range work to deliver immediate + 48h dry skin relief, so you can perfect your daily skin care routine order.

What causes dry skin?

Dr. Filbry
Expertise in action: Dr Filbry, Head of Product Development for Body Care at Eucerin, leads an outstanding team of skin scientists
Dry Skin
The main reason for skin dryness is an impaired skin barrier function

Dry skin is a very common condition and often results in visits to dermatologists,” explains Dr Filbry. “Symptoms vary according to the severity of dryness, but skin can be tight and rough and/or prone to itching, scaling, flakiness and redness. In extreme cases, skin is pathologically dry”.

The main reason for skin dryness is an impaired skin barrier function which results from:

Discovering Urea in Skin Care: The Story Behind Eucerin Complete Repair

It all started with a research breakthrough as our Eucerin team worked to develop a better skin care routine for dry skin. “In the 1990s, Eucerin skin scientists were the first to discover how to include a Natural Moisturizing Factor in a dermo-cosmetic product”, says Dr Filbry. They created a product which was not only effective in terms of results but also pleasant to use. The Natural Moisturizing Factor (or NMF) they used was Urea. Since then, urea for skin care has become one of the most respected and widely used ingredients in the relief of dry skin symptoms.

“People who suffer from dry skin need more than just immediate relief,” explains Dr Filbry. “They need a long-term solution which will prevent symptoms such as roughness, itchiness and flakiness from returning.” Dr Filbry and his team set out to create an effective range of urea skin products that would deliver both immediate and long-lasting relief for dry, very dry and extremely dry skin.

Our Key Ingredients — Including Urea for Skin

“The development process started with Urea,” says Dr Filbry. “As an NMF, Urea helps skin to regulate its moisture content and, being a natural skin compound, it is well-tolerated even by dry and sensitive skin,” he adds. Urea is hydroscopic, which means it is able to bind moisture into the external layer of skin. But this isn’t its only benefit. “Urea is keratolytic, meaning it breaks down the connections between dead skin cells,” explains Dr Filbry. “Urea is a key ingredient in Eucerin Complete Repair and, as part of our formulas, it improves natural skin exfoliation and soothes and smooths the surface of dry skin.”

Skin repair

“Our formulas are enriched with additional NMF too,” explains Dr Filbry. These include Amino Acids, inorganic salts and Lactate and they work alongside the Urea to improve skin’s water-binding capacity and increase its moisture content.

Another key active in the range is Ceramide. Ceramides are lipids (fats) found naturally in the hydrolipid film of healthy skin and they work to protect skin’s outermost layers. “Ceramides prevent moisture loss from evaporation, and help to keep out the irritants that cause itching and inflammation,” says Dr Filbry, adding that “Ceramide has been proven to help repair and regenerate skin’s natural barrier, lock in moisture and prevent and treat dryness”.

These ingredients work together in the Eucerin Complete Repair formulas to deliver an improved skin care routine for dry skin. They replenish the dry skin moisture barrier, reduce moisture loss and bind water into the skin and many of the products deliver immediate + 48h dry skin relief.

A proper skin care routine that treats the various symptoms of dry skin

Developing a well-rounded skin care routine order for dry skin is easier than you may think. Eucerin Complete Repair offers a comprehensive range of products that includes a cleanser, body lotions and creams (including hand and foot care products) and an intensive treatment cream for problem areas of extremely dry skin.

These products are available with different concentrations of the water-binding active Urea – 5% or 10%. Dr Filbry explains that the concentration of Urea needed depends on the dryness of the skin. “Those with dry skin may want to use a body product with 5% Urea whereas very dry skin will benefit from a 10% Urea product.”

Eucerin continues to lead innovation in skin care

“When we took a deeper look at dry skin, we realized that it needs more than just a couple of natural moisturising factors like urea and lactate.

We discovered how Aquaporins, the moisture networks in the deeper dermis skin layers, can become ineffective when the skin is dry.

That led to the discovery of Gluco-glycerol, the molecule that stimulates Aquaporin function, and restores the natural upward flow of moisture towards the skin’s surface.”

Eucerin Aquaporin Technology centres on Glyceryl Glucoside, or Gluco-glycerol, a novel humectant (water-binding) conjugate of glycerol and glucose, which has been shown to stimulate the epidermal moisture network that is formed by Aquaporin water channels, resulting in improved skin hydration.

“Gluco-glycerol is biologically identical to the molecules that stimulate the skin’s Aquaporin water channels. The Aquaporin network is responsible for the moisture distribution in the deeper epidermal layers and also the natural upward flow of moisture to the outer layers, ensuring long-lasting hydration.”

“Then we added in our extensive research natural moisturising factors, in the form of the Complete Repair NMF Complex. The skin naturally contains molecules that regulate moisture content, called “natural moisturising factors”. These are hygroscopic substances that attract and absorb water from the deeper skin layers into the upper layers, vastly increasing water retention in the upper stratum corneum skin layer. However, when skin is dry there is a deficiency of these vital molecules, and this needs to be replenished before the skin can function properly again.”

The Eucerin Complete Repair NMF Complex consists of the original Urea and Lactate, plus new Carnitine, Amino Acids, Pyrrolidone Carbonic Acid (PCA), Inorganic Salts and Saccharides, and closely matches the ratio of key natural moisturising factors found in healthy skin.

“And to top it off, with our knowledge of surface barrier function, we had to include Ceramide-3, the lipid that directly restores the surface barrier, and locks in moisture. Ceramides are naturally produced by the skin to create a protective barrier that prevents moisture loss due to evaporation, and also blocks out irritants that can cause inflammation and itching. We know that when the skin’s ceramide levels fall, dryness and irritation can result.”

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Adding Eucerin Complete Repair to your daily skin care routine improves skin's moisture.

“When all these activities come together, our Complete Repair Moisture Lotions work at the surface, upper and deeper epidermal skin layers to fight the cause of dry skin at each level.”

“Regular use helps to re-establish the skin’s natural moisture-control process, ensuring long-lasting relief from signs of dry skin, leaving the skin feeling soft and silky smooth.”

Graphical illustration

"These outcomes have been clinically proven in dermatological studies - when the moisturising effects of Eucerin Complete Repair Lotions were tested in 87 women aged between 60 and 80 years, skin hydration, as measured by corneometry, was improved by 37% as soon as 48 hours after a single application."

Eucerin Complete Repair Lotions are fast becoming the most popular dry skin solutions Eucerin has to offer, which is not surprising as they embody years of expert research, and are dermatologically proven to be effective.

DISCLAIMER: This article is intended to discuss and explore the effectiveness of urea as an ingredient, and does not imply that any Eucerin products have therapeutic properties.