The aim of this study was to evaluate different urea-containing cosmetic preparations designed for foot care regarding skin occlusion. The primary aim was therefore to screen the short-term transepidermal water loss (TEWL) as a parameter for skin barrier function and skin occlusion and to characterize the relative role of the vehicle, i.e. cream or foam in the context of cosmetics containing urea in the 2-10% range addressing the cosmetic products urea 2% cream (GEHWOL FUSSKRAFT blau), petrolatum containing cream (GEHWOL med Schrundensalbe), urea 10% cream (GEHWOL med Lipidro-Crème), urea 10% foam (Allpresan Fuss Schaum) and vaseline (positive control) compared with an untreated area on the volar forearms of volunteers. Moreover, the short time (24 h) kinetics regarding the moisturizing effect of cream and foam formulations in diabetic patients were compared. The efficacy of a cream on reduction of skin thickness of hyperkeratotic skin in the heel region before and after a period of product application was also evaluated. In some of the trials, healthy individuals and in others, diabetic patients (type I and II) were enrolled. TEWL was determined before product application, as well as at given points of time thereafter. In this study, no excessive occlusion effects comparable with a blockage of the skin's natural water evaporation could be observed for any of the test products. To the extent to be expected, this was found neither for the cream products nor for the foam product. Slightly lowered TEWL values after application of the 10% urea cream can be interpreted as a beneficial effect in terms of an improved barrier function. Regarding skin moisture, the urea-containing cream formulation appeared equal or slightly superior to the foam formulation. The thickness of the horny layer was found reduced after application of 10 % urea-containing cream. At present it looks as if cream vehicles would still be vehicles of choice in general, when it comes to the formulation of skin care preparations for not only dry skin but also in the context of pedal skin care.
© 2010 The Authors. Journal compilation. © 2010 Society of Cosmetic Scientists and the Société Française de Cosmétologie.