Review: Eucerin Intensive Lotion (and the answer to ‘what the hell is ‘urea’, anyway?)

Despite having roadtested dozens of moisturisers over the years, and indeed, finding some that actually lived up to expectations, I cannot help but continue to search for the holy grail moisturising solution for my psoriasis.

Every time a new or improved wonder product for dry skin comes out, I’m there; pawing at the windows of Superdrug and practically licking my lips until I get my hands on the white stuff. (Not that white stuff).

But this time, rather than choosing another new moisturiser for myself, a friend and fellow psoriasis sufferer (Hi Lee!) bought me something new to try.

Introducing, Eucerin Intensive Lotion.

Now, I’m fully aware this product has been around for a while, so it’s not new-to-market as such, but I must admit (with a little shame) I had previously dismissed it.

On what grounds? Well, my reasoning was the fact it’s marketed as a lotion.

What’s wrong with lotions?

Now, don’t get me wrong, lotions are, for the regular dermalogically programmed out there, a convenient solution for mildly dry skin. (Although I’d love to know how many actually use lotions on a daily basis.)

But in my opinion, when it comes to psoriasis, lotions just don’t cut it. I like – or rather I need to bring out the big guns: the heavy duty creams, the intensive oils and the greasy, messy to use, but ohmygod so effective – ointments.

My previous experience with lotions has always led me to believe they’re watery affairs. Yes they sink into your skin with ease, yes they don’t stain your clothing. Or walls. Yes, they spread easier than butter on hot bread. But they’re always a bit… well….meh.

You know my feelings on lotions and their bigger, much harder siblings, so I won’t blab on here, but that’s why my eyes would always dart over this little specimen, whilst I zoned in on something more suitable for my own lizard legs.

So what’s changed?

Well, I was surprised to find this little lotion actually packs a pretty heavy punch. The product isn’t too liquidy, it’s actually quite thick and best of all, it didn’t immediately sink into my skin.

Let me explain what I mean.

In the middle of winter, when a long commute and central heating have battered my psoriasis, there’s nothing quite like basting my red raw plaques with thick creams or ointments – akin to basting a chicken, ready for roasting, all glossy and – for want of a better word – moist.

It’s pretty satisfying to just let your limbs enjoy a fully moisturising experience. It’s good for our skin. And, maybe just as important – it physically makes us sit still for twenty minutes whilst the moisturiser works its magic (or else risk covering everything in a 50 metre radius with white smears)

I’m sure I’m painting quite the picture, so I’ll move on.

This lotion (I’m reluctant to call it that) not only sits on your skin for a good 15 minutes or so, giving that lovely super moistuirsed feeling, but once it’s sunk in, that lovely feeling actually lasts. The quality it offers is not unlike that of its older brother – the ‘rich cream’. But, unlike a rich cream, Eucerin lotion is much easier to apply. A little goes a long way. And no compromise on moisturisation.

So what’s in it? 

Here’s a picture of the ingredients list.

But what exactly are Eucerin talking about when they say ‘10% w/w cutaneous emulsion’ and ‘urea’?

The ‘cutaneous’ means ‘relating to or affecting the skin.‘ Funny. Not really heard that word before.

Of course ’emulsion’ is used to describe product that is lighter than a cream or lotion, but thicker (and less concentrated) than an oil or serum.

Interesting that Eucerin use both ’emulsion’ and ‘lotion’ on the bottle. Maybe they were thinking about the classic Enya lyric “emotion on the ocean” and got confused.

What about urea?

I was at a skin conference earlier this year and a lady asked if ‘urea’ has anything to do with urine. (HA! I mean, come on. Seriously?)

Turns out, she was right.

I almost chocked on my apple juice.

Urea is a substance made up of carbon, nitrogen and oxygen. It’s found in the liquids in mammals: blood, sweat, milk and you guessed it, urine.

Urea is awesome for hydration in the skin. The molecules in it promote water retention, and differing percentages of urea have recognised benefits.

But before we go into that, let me assure you that the urea used in lotions, creams, cosmetics etc. is synthetically created. No human amber nectar required. (*wipes sweat from brow*)

Benefits of urea

I’m glad we cleared that up. Now, the more urea in a product, the more benefits for dry skin. So:

Less than 10%

Water retention is promoted thanks to the hydrophilic nature of the product. The result is skin that feels moisturised.

Over 10%

At this level, urea has a mild keratolytic effect. This means it’s effective for skin renewal.

At much higher doses (30% – 40%)

The keratolytic effect is further increased. Good news for the super flaky and dry skinned (*waves*)

What else is good about Eucerin Intensive Lotion?

As well as good levels of urea, the lotion is also scentless. Genuinely scentless. Thankfully. That means I can spritz my perfume on without having to fear there might be a terrifying base note of TCP or something equally medicinal. Perish the thought.

Eucerin is available at a reasonable price and it lasts ages. I apply morning and night as part of my regular skin care routine. It doesn’t stain bedding, bath towels or boyfriends. So it gets my complete thumbs up.

But I do have one complaint. Or rather, a suggestion.

Eucerin, if you are listening, please add ‘psoriasis’ to the bullet point list on the front of your bottle. And consider renaming the product. Can that be done? Lotion, even if it is intensive, just doesn’t do it justice.

I should add a disclaimer here. You’ll see my skin is almost psoriasis free. A 12 week course of UVB light therapy earlier this year has zapped it dead. For now. But, I have been using Eucerin Intensive Lotion on the little patches I do have at the moment. And, when psoriasis will no doubt rear its ugly head again, I’ll be there with a bottle of Eucerin Intensive Lotion to help ward it off.

Another disclaimer
I wasn’t paid to write this post. It’s just a product I genuinely love. Have you tried it? I’d love to know what you think. Hit me up in the comments or say hi to me on Twitter @DryandMighty