However, urine therapy isn't all ancient folklore. In 1997, German doctor Flora Peschek-Böhmer and journalist Gisela Schreiber wrote a modern manifesto on it, in which they enumerate the various ailments -- arthritis, conjunctivitis, diarrhea and constipation (not sure how that works), gout, obesity, "phantom pain" (so yeah, really anything) -- that urine can heal, or at least prevent. The book, Urine Therapy: Nature's Elixir for Good Health, condones drinking urine and subsequently gets pretty weird (there's a chapter called "Cocktail Hour" about how to mix urine with other natural remedies to increase its healing effects), but the authors do acknowledge that if you're repulsed at the thought of drinking your own pee, externally applying it to your skin will help clear up pimples, warts, age spots, or eczema.
There is a scientific theory, of course, behind why urine could be good for your skin. "Urine contains urea, which is an exfoliant that gives the skin some turnover and breaks it up," explains Dr. Sejal Shah, a dermatologic surgeon based in New York. "What's interesting about urea is that it's also a humectant, so it can retain moisture as well. As a urea product, urine would fit into this category." From what Dr. Shah tells me, urea sounds like a miracle ingredient that can heal two seemingly opposite, and common, skin conditions: acne and dry skin. If urine is the elixir for perfect skin, I want in.