Yellow Toenails: Causes and Treatment

  • March 8, 2023
  • Nail Care

How cute are short, neat and healthy toenails  that are translucent with the pinkish flesh still visible from underneath them? Seems like the perfect toenails to me. Then one day as you’re wearing your sandals you look at them and notice your perfect pink toenails are turning yellow. And the nightmare begins.

Discoloration is often caused by a fungal infection or from wearing dark nail polish and sometimes even aging. Usually while aging, you may notice your toenails becoming more  thick, brittle and even yellow. This is due to the natural decrease in blood flow to your hands and feet as you grow older. But discoloration could also be a sign of a more serious condition. People suffering from conditions such as diabetes and thyroid diseases are also victims of yellow toenails. More often than not, yellow toenails are usually are usually followed by other changes such as splitting, brittleness and thickening.

Usually treating yellow toenails can be done at home. But sometimes, if the condition is worse, you may have to seek medical attention. In this article, we get to look at the various causes of yellow toenails as well as their treatments.

Causes and Treatment of yellow toenails

Nails naturally consist of hardened protein called Keratin. Yellowing of toenails is commonly a result of fungus. This fungus develops underneath the nail resulting in it becoming thick, raised and yellow. Fungal infection of this kind is very common that you might not need to see a doctor for treatment. But as mentioned earlier yellow toenails can also be caused by a number of factors such as;

  1.  Yellow nail Syndrome

Yellow nail syndrome is a very rare but serious condition that usually causes yellow nails. It comes as a result of respiratory diseases and causes yellow and green discoloration, thickening of the nail, separation of nail from nail-bed and also inhibited nail growth.

For this condition you will have to see a doctor for proper diagnosis. Also keep in mind that changes are often permanent but you might improve their appearance by taking vitamin E supplements orally or applying their solution to your nails physically.

  1. Nail polish

Sometimes darker shades or even bright red and orange nail polish might turn your toenails yellow especially if worn over a long period of time. This might also happen if you do not apply a clear base coat underneath the darker shades. This is usually due to the stains left behind by the dyes in the nail polish.

This is usually not a cause for concern as you can easily get rid of the yellow color by using more acetone. And if this does not work, then it’s better to keep of nail polish for a while and allow the yellow to slowly fade away.

  1. Aging

More often than not, toenails tend to change their color, thickness and shape as we grow older. It is believed that this happens as a result of decreased circulation of blood to the hands and feet therefore reducing oxygen flow. Therefore, the yellowing might also happen to your fingernails as well.

This unfortunately can not be prevented but it’s totally okay as you don’t have to worry about treatment.

  1. Toenail Fungus

This is the leading cause of yellow toenails. It usually occurs when the skin under the toenails break due to ill-fitting shoes, walking barefoot in warm and dump areas and also athlete’s foot.

Unlike other causes, this can not be treated by over-the-counter medicine. You might have to take prescription medicine for months to completely getting rid of this fungus.

  1. Smoking

Just as in aging, smoking also causes yellowing of toenails due to decrease on blood circulation to your hands and feet. The only difference is, in this case it causes inflammation and plaque build-up in your blood vessels. This causes the nails to turn yellow and change in texture making them brittle and chip easily. It also makes your skin dry and flaky which makes you vulnerable to fungal infections.

You can treat your toenails by soaking them in baking soda to get rid of fungal infections due to its antifungal properties. You could also apply tea tree oil twice a day to ease the inflammations if any.

If any of these remedies do not work and symptoms persist, be sure to see a doctor.

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About The Author

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Charene Mich is a makeup enthusiast, makeup artist, digital marketer and content creator. Charlene also has a YouTube channel that she started out of her passion for beauty,hair and lifestyle content which also led her to start writing on Weridi.