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Urine For Acne: Does it Work?

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There are some odd acne treatments out there, but one of the oddest is the idea of using your own urine to treat your acne. Some people swear by this treatment, but is it actually effective? Read more about the treatment and any scientific backing below.

If you suffer from acne, you have probably spent some time searching online for alternative solutions. There are literally hundreds of things you can try for acne- and some are a lot more effective than others. You have probably heard about potatoes, aspirin, toothpaste, eggs, oatmeal, glue, and apple cider vinegar, but unless you are very brave, you have probably never tried the urine acne treatment method before.

Urine seems gross to us, but there is some scientific evidence that urine is not toxic to the body. In fact, urine contains many beneficial ingredients that we normally consume in another way. Urine therapy simply takes the belief once further and uses it directly to fight acne. But is this treatment method effective enough to move past the “ick” factor and actually try it? Read on and discover for yourself.

Urine Theory

Urine theory is the belief that urine is a health food of sorts, and can have a healing effect on the body. Actually, using urine as a health treatment is something that has been done for thousands of years. Greek and Roman people used urine as a tooth whitener.

Other cultures have used urine to clean wounds, in chemical formulas; and to this day, many of the medications and creams used for treating health problems contain extracts from animal urine. According to some urine theory advocates, urine has the potential to treat over 175 health conditions. What we are most concerned with at the moment, however, is how effective it is in treating acne.

What is Urine?

Urine is not a toxic waste product like stool. In fact, urine is simply considered a byproduct of blood. Urine contains a small amount of waste, but it is completely sterile and non-toxic to humans. Although you probably don’t want to drink urine because of the smell and taste, doing so will not harm your health in any way because nothing in urine is toxic. Urine contains hundreds of compounds and is a mix of hormones, minerals, acids, vitamins, and other ingredients in your body. Depending on your current hormone, vitamin, and mineral levels, what your urine produces will vary.

If you ever wondered how pregnancy or drug tests work, it is because your body releases extra hormones and compounds into the urine when there are high levels in the body. When you are pregnant, you produce more hCG hormones. When you have taken drugs, your body empties the excess compounds into the urine as well.

Ingredients in Urine that May Heal Acne

There are several compounds in urine that are of interest to acne sufferers. You may be surprised that urine contains so many ingredients that are beneficial for acne. Take a look at some of the most helpful acne-fighting ingredients in urine below:


Corticosteroids are a sort of stress hormone that your body produces naturally in times of stress. Most steroids today used to control inflammation are derived from these natural hormones. For acne, corticosteroids can have a calming effect and reduce the inflammation in acne blisters and cysts.


Ammonia is a powerful anti-bacterial product. There is a reason why it is used in so many different cleaning products. Since most acne is bacteria-based, applying a bacterial killer onto your face should, in theory, help remove more acne spots from your face and body.

Salt and Magnesium

Urine contains both salt and magnesium. Epsom salt is a mixture of magnesium and salt and is a commonly used treatment for acne. Individuals who have used Epsom salt as a topical treatment for acne have reported good results. The mixture of salt and magnesium in urine could provide the same benefits against acne. Magnesium and salt both have anti-inflammatory effects on the skin, as shown in a 2007 study from Russia.


Bicarbonate in urine is the same ingredient found in household baking soda. Baking soda is a popular acne remedy. Traditionally, baking soda is used to exfoliate the skin and kill acne bacteria. Urine contains a small amount of bicarbonate, which could help exfoliate the skin and clear clogged pores that can lead to acne breakouts.

Vitamin C

There is some scientific evidence backing the use of vitamin C for treating acne. Studies from the 1950s showed that patients lacking in vitamin C were more likely to have acne flare-ups. Giving patients with acne vitamin C and citrus juice was able to improve acne symptoms in about 70 percent of patients within 4 months. The vitamin C in urine could benefit acne patients in the same way.


The role of iodine in acne is controversial. Most of the studies were performed in the 1960s and were not up to today’s research study requirements. Some studies have indicated that a deficiency in iodine could lead to an increase in acne symptoms by causing hypothyroidism.


Urea is the second-largest component in acne after water. Urea is a strangely beneficial compound that has many healing properties. In fact, many moisturizing creams and products used today contain urea. Urea is soothing on the skin and helps protect the moisturizing barrier on the skin. Urea can help fight the redness and dryness often associated with severe acne. Urea also helps speed wound healing (such as that from acne blisters) and is a mild exfoliate that can help remove excess skin and clogged pores that contribute to acne.


Zinc is a vital mineral in the health of our skin. Zinc can block the production of keratin, which can lead to the development of acne blisters. In a 1989 study conducted by the 3rd Department of Dermatology in France, it was found that low doses of zinc gluconate reduced acne flare-ups by controlling inflammation in the skin.

Is There Any Research Backing Urine for Acne?

There have been no studies directly testing urine for acne- perhaps due to the ick factor. However, there have been some studies on the individual components in acne as outlined above. The traces of these components in acne may not be enough to provide the same benefits that were seen in the study.

The most promising two ingredients in acne are ammonia and urea. Ammonia is a proven bacteria-fighter, and urea is both moisturizing and exfoliating, and it can help wounds heal faster, which could lead to a faster clearing of acne pimples.

Usage Method

Proponents of urine for acne give two ways to use urine in clearing acne. The first method is to actually drink the urine. The first urine of the day is recommended, and it is suggested that you wait until midstream to start collecting the urine.

The second way to use urine is by placing it in a cup and using a cotton ball to apply the urine to your face like a toner. Some people suggest waiting a day or two for the ammonia to get stronger, while others suggest applying it first thing after your first bathroom trip of the day. Either method is rather disgusting, and would only be worth it if urine worked quickly to clear your acne.

Should You Try Urine Therapy?

Since there is very little evidence that urine can benefit acne at all, it is probably not worth the trouble to apply it to your face or drink it. However, many acne sufferers have given anecdotal evidence that using urine on their face was able to cure acne dramatically. If you want to try some new way to clear your skin, try using the methods outlined below first- then, if they don’t work, you can move on to more extreme methods like applying urine to the skin.

Scientifically-Backed Acne Remedies

The following treatment methods have a much stronger scientific backing in the treatment of acne than the practice of drinking urine or applying it to your face. Try these methods before you resort to using your own body fluids in the treatment of acne:

Vitamin A and E

Vitamin A has long been know to be beneficial in fighting acne. Vitamin A can help remove excess oil from the skin and regulate the skin cycle to prevent acne cysts from forming. A study conducted by The University of Afyon Kocatepe in 2013 found that individuals with low vitamin A, vitamin E, and zinc levels were more likely to have acne symptoms and flare-ups.

Gum Guggul

In a study comparing gum guggul to the commonly prescribed acne treatment Tetracycline in 1994, it was shown that supplementing with 25 mg of gum guggul was able to reduce acne inflammation and breakouts by 68 percent. The medication had a success rate of only 65 percent.


A probiotic is simply a strain of beneficial bacteria that works to clean the intestines and fight problems from the inside out. The hygiene theory states that we have many of the problems we do today (like acne) because we do not consume enough bacteria. Studies on using probiotics for acne have been generally positive. One study conducted by the State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in 2011 found that the health of the intestines and the gut play a large role in the severity of someone’s acne. The better a person’s gut health (which can be improved with probiotics), the less acne they have.

Omega 3s

Acne is a problem that mainly affects cultures that eat more omega 6 fats than omega 3 fats. California State Polytechnic University examined the benefits of omega 3s and fish oil on acne in 2012 with surprisingly good results. Participants who took 930 mg of EPA showed dramatic improvement in 8 out of 12 study participants.

The Best Alternative Remedies for Acne

Although you could try urine for acne, and some people have had seemingly good results with the treatment method, there are other, proven methods that have scientific evidence backing their effectiveness. A mixture of probiotics, omega 3 fish oil, vitamins, and gum guggul are more effective than urine, and a lot less gross. But if you’re all right with the ick factor, then there is nothing stopping you from trying urine therapy for acne if you feel like taking the plunge and testing the theory.





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