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Non-Surgical Russian Nail Removal With Urea

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Q. A mixure of urea and beeswax also known as the "Russian Formula" was used to remove the toenail of a friend of mine. It was done by a dermatologist in Lexington, KY. Have you ever heard of such an approach?

A. We learned about the Russian approach to removing infected nails many years ago. It was brought back to this country by Dr. Eugene Farber, Chairman of Dermatology at Stanford University, in 1978.

Instead of removing the nails surgically, which can be painful and increase the risk the infection, the Russians used a strong (40%) urea paste. This dissolves fungus-infected nails without damaging healthy nails.

To learn more about this approach and how to eliminate the fungus once the nail is dissolved you may be interested in our Guide to Hair and Nail Care.

We also heard from Paul who wanted to learn more about the healing properties of urea when used in a skin cream or moisturizer: "What makes urea so special"?


Urea is quite an amazing compound. This little-appreciated ingredient in some moisturizers can be exceptionally helpful.

A study in the highly regarded Journal of Investigative Dermatology (June, 2012) suggests that urea can improve barrier function and regulate gene activity in the skin to improve its antimicrobial defenses.

Urea (aka carbamide) is a natural nitrogen-containing compound made by the body. It is found mixed with other compounds in skin oils. At concentrations of around 10 percent, urea is an excellent skin protector. You'll find urea in moisturizers such as Udderly Smooth Extra Care Cream with 10% Urea.

http://www.udderlysmooth.com/dry-skin-extra-care-moisturizing-lotion.shtml

The makers (Redex Industries) underwrite our public radio show. Even if they didin't we would still say that this is one of the very best moisturizers on the market! It is also highly affordable compared to some of the far more expensive skin creams that are out there. At this time of year, when we wash our hands so often, we need the extra protection that urea offers. We cannot think of a more effective ingredient in a skin cream!

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5 Comments

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I am 64 years old and have had a fungus in most of my fingernails for 30+ years. The fungus turned the nails dark, ridged, and thick, and it destroyed the cuticles on one hand so that I frequently got painful infections. I tried prescription pills from my dermatologist and all of your home remedies, but nothing worked.

Then about two years ago, I started drinking an 8-10 ounce glass of green smoothy daily, and several months ago, I added a daily glass of green juice. A green smoothy is a blended drink of dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, kale, and/or chard) with parsley, a frozen banana, and frozen berries or mango made in a high-speed Vita-Mix blender (Victoria Boutenko has an excellent book about the value of green smoothies). A green juice is a combination of celery, kale or chard stems and/or leaves, broccoli stems, parsley, ginger, apple, cucumber, and lemon - all put through a low-speed juicer.

Soon after I started drinking the green smoothies, the severe eye infections that I got several times a year, and for which I had to take topical steroids, suddenly disappeared. Then I began forgetting to wear my eye glasses, which I've needed for near-sightedness since age 8, and last December, when I renewed my driver's license, I passed the eye test (20/40) without my glasses.

Several months ago, I also noticed that my once almost pure white hair has been slowly coming in blond and brown, my fingernail fungus has begun to disappear on several fingers, unaffected nails are growing out of the nail beds, and the cuticles on those fingers have self-repaired.

All of this has taken a long time, but it's been well worth it because I also feel better, have more energy, and am much more active than I've ever been. Maybe this will help others.

Take care, and thanks for all you do.

Mary

have no experience with this treatment, however have a problem similar to that pictured. Would like to get feedback from readers who have experience with it and/or other ttmts.

Just tried the Udderlysmooth recently and it's udderly amazing and soothing.

Hi,
Do you have tx suggestions for ingrown toe nails. HELP !

I''m interested in removing a fungal infected toenail. After reading your article I called Gordon Labs and was told that the lab no longer makes Gordon's Urea 40. I find that Urea 40 products are advertised online however, basically as an over the counter product. Other websites say that it is available by prescription only. Can you comment on this?

PEOPLE'S PHARMACY RESPONSE:

We strongly believe that this is a physician supervised process. It is NOT a do-it-yourself program. It requires a health professional who understands the regimen. A 40% urea cream has been considered a prescription product and we believe that makes sense.

It is entirely reasonable, however, to use a 10% or even a 20% urea cream for eczema or dry skin problems.

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