This medication has 2 types of ingredients (emollient, keratolytic) that work together to treat or prevent dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin (such as that caused by eczema, keratosis, xerosis). Dry skin is caused by a loss of water in the upper layer of the skin. Emollients are substances that soften and moisturize the skin and decrease itching and flaking. Emollients/moisturizers work by forming an oily layer on the top of the skin that traps water in the skin. Petrolatum, lanolin, mineral oil, and dimethicone are common emollients.
Lactic acid, salicylic acid, and urea are keratolytics. They increase moisture in the skin by softening/dissolving the horny substance (keratin) holding the top layer of skin cells together. This helps the dead skin cells fall off and helps the skin keep more water in. Higher strengths of urea are used to treat corns, callous, and some nail problems (e.g., ingrown nails). Urea is also used to help remove dead tissue in some wounds to help wound healing.
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