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How is 40% urea used to treat fungal infections of the toe nail?

What you'll learn:

  1. How does Urea help with toenail fungus?
  2. What else can I do to restore my damaged fungal nails?
  3. Which products are the most effective?
Reading time:  4 minutes
Updated:  6/21/2021
Dr. Jeffrey OsterJeffrey A. Oster, DPM
Medical Advisor

What is urea and why does it help to treat fungal nail infections?

Urea debridement of mycotic nails - safe, easy and effective.

Urea, also known as carbamide, is an organic chemical compound that was first synthesized in 1828.  Urea is often referred to as one of the most basic and important chemicals used in healthcare today.   In addition to medical uses, urea is used as a resin in making plywood, as an adjunct in animal feed and is actually used as the main ingredient that makes pretzels their distinctive brown color. ( )

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Urea's primary uses though are in medicine.  Urea is used in skin preparation to soften keratin, treating psoriasis, eczema, and corns and calluses.  Urea is particularly helpful in treating thick, dystrophic fungal (onychomycosis) nails.  40% urea effectively debrides the diseased nail while leaving healthy nail intact and unaffected.

early stage fungal infection of a toe nail        late stage fungal infection of a toe nail

In the early years of my podiatry practice, I would follow a chemical recipe from the Russian literature to make a 40% urea preparation for my patients to use to treat thick, mycotic nails.  With the help of our in-house skin care team ('s Natural's line of products), we've formulated a 40% urea paste we call Natural Antifungal Nail Butter.  To treat the fungal infection of the nail, we've also added tea tree oil and lavender to naturally treat fungal nail infections.

I want to stress that Natural Antifungal Nail Butter with 40% urea is intended to treat fungal nail infection, but more importantly, the 40% urea is intended to debride diseased nail.  The images below show two stages of a fungal nail infection.  On the left, the image shows an early infection.  This nail is easily treated with a topical antifungal like Terpenicol or Clearzal.  The nail on the right will require both mechanical and chemical debridement.  In this case, the use of a nail cutter and Nail Butter with 40% urea is indicated.

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