You are absolutely right. There are quite a few product houses that incorporate urea as an active ingredient in products. It has 2 main functions. 1) It is mildly resurfacing and therefore encourages healthy skin cell turnover, keeping the skin active and radiant as the skin cells are constantly being exfoliated. 2) Urea is a great in attracting and binding water, so it draws hydratin to the skin. I do believe in small amounts it also has product preserving abilities.