Q. I had problems with cracked, calloused soles and toenail fungus. I had medicine but it did not go very far. One of the items in the medicine was urea, which I believe is a by-product of urine.
I started soaking my feet in my own urine and WOW! It cleared up the callouses and thickened soles as well as the toe nail fungus. Just thought you would want to know.
A. You are not the first person who has used urine to deal with skin and nail problems. Here are just a few of the many stories we have received over the years about “urine therapy.”
“When I was in the US military (50 yrs ago) our training NCOs told that we’d get very good results by urinating on our feet in the shower. These showers were AT LEAST daily. Worked for me… still does.”
“I remember my grandma saying she peed on her hands when they were dry and cracking. She would pee in a jar and then pour it over her hands. I have heard about urine for along time but never seen it published.”
“I am 76 years old and my grandmother always told us grandkids to ‘go pee on it’ whenever we came through the farmhouse door with a new scratch or cut. She was far too busy in the kitchen cooking and baking on the old wood stove for the men due in from the hayfields to worry about little cuts or scratches. Bless her. She had the answer way back then.”
“I have suffered with smelly and sweaty feet for years. I have tried many creams, ointments, oils, foot baths and you name it. I would put on a pair of brand new shoes and 30 min. later, look out!
“I could never take my shoes off in public. The odor could clear a large room out. People, even my friends, would place a finger underneath their nostrils and even constantly spray cologne into the air!
“It was so hurtful! I prayed without ceasing because I know that I am not the only one with foot odor. I Googled smelly feet & stumbled upon your article.
“Check this out–I soaked my feet in urine for 30 min: ‘ODOR-FREE FEET’. Thank you, and thank God for answering my prayers! Feet still sweat but NO ODOR!
“Okay, I do have to join the conversation. I am over 60 yrs of age. I developed a dark gray “something” on my large toenail on my left foot. I had been doing aerobic exercising in a pool with a group of people and wondered if I ‘caught’ something from that. I guess I will never know.
“The main thing here is that I had read that a reader said he had that same type of problem and that using urine in the shower would be very helpful. I did not try that right away but used your suggestion of Listerine. It was helpful (for a while). The darkness started to come again in about a year or a little more and I remembered the other story and bit the bullet and tried urine on the toenail in the shower.
“Honestly, the urine made everything change, go away, and hurrah, healthy toenail again. It was not as gross as one may think and so easy, even for a woman. We shouldn’t be so squeamish about trying something really simple and harmless, anyway.”
“Would a lotion with urea in it work as well as urinating on one’s feet?
“Sometimes it’s not the fault of the feet. I’ve found that certain shoes are more prone to making feet smell bad than others. It probably is connected with what the shoes are made of.”
PEOPLE’S PHARMACY RESPONSE:
You are quite right that shoes can contribute to foot odor. Synthetic material that allows feet to get warm and sweaty will create a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that can exacerbate food odor.
We are always impressed with the many adventurous visitors to our website. The stories above are quite intriguing. Although some people may be willing to experiment with urine soaks, most people would prefer an affordable hand cream with urea included.
Urea (carbamide) is a natural component of urine and has been used for a very long time in fertilizer. That is because of its high nitrogen content.
When urea is included in skin cream, it serves as a marvelous epidermal protector. The most prestigious dermatology research journal in the world is The Journal of Investigative Dermatology. A study published in this journal in June, 2012, revealed that urea improves the barrier function of the skin and regulates gene activity in the skin to improve its antimicrobial defenses. That makes the skin more resistant to infection and other attacks. The urea used in cosmetics and skin creams is not extracted from urine but is manufactured in a modern facility.
Redex Industries, the makers of Udderly Smooth Udder Cream (and sponsors of our radio show) have come up with a urea-containing version of their famous moisturizer. You can get what we consider “professional strength” Extra Care 20 with 20% urea. This is the strongest urea cream you can buy without a prescription. People with diabetes or those undergoing chemotherapy find this skin cream especially helpful, but it is also great for people with dry, cracked “sandpaper” skin.
What works for your leathery skin at this time of year? With all the recommendations urging us to wash our hands dozens of times a day to avoid catching influenza or norovirus (stomach flu), it is no wonder everyone is suffering. Add to that the cold weather and dry heat and you have a recipe for sad skin. Let us know what you do to protect yourself by commenting below.