The color of your fingernails isn’t likely the first thing that comes to mind when you think about your health, but yellow fingernails and yellow toenails have the potential to indicate some deeper heath troubles.
Although it’s not always the case, the following conditions can cause discoloration. It should be noted that these are not the only causes of yellow fingernails.
- Liver disease (jaundice)
- Lung disease (lack of oxygen can result in yellow fingernails)
- Kidney disease (may lead to an increase in bilirubin in the blood, which can lead to yellow fingernails)
- A vitamin deficiency (mainly iron or zinc)
- Damaged airways (bronchiectasis)
- Lung infection (tuberculosis)
- Thyroid disease
Yellowing fingernails are indicated in patients who have these conditions, but if you don’t already know that you have one of these conditions, the yellowing of your fingernails or toenails is unlikely to be the first symptom you notice.
But regardless of wondering “why are my fingernails yellow,” you would surely be interested in how to get rid of yellow nails. We’ll get there in a moment, but first let’s take a look at the common causes of yellow nails.
Causes of Yellow Nails
Yellow nails are most commonly the result of a fungal infection, which makes plenty of sense as your hands and feet come into contact with all kinds of potentially infectious bacteria; your toes in particular are exposed to moist, warm temperatures where fungus can fester. If you’re not sure if a fungal infection is the cause of your yellow nails, symptoms that can appear after discoloration include flaking of the nail and an unpleasant odor. While the best cures for yellow toenails come from doctors, there is a yellow toenail home remedy or two you can try.
Excessive Nail Polish Use
Certain types of nail polish deprive them of oxygen, which can result in discoloration. To combat this, give your nails some time off from nail polish, or you can try applying a clear base coat, which might limit discoloration.
Smoking can also lead to yellow fingernails. The close exposure to the toxins in the smoke, as well as the smoke itself, can lead to discoloration in the nails. Now, clearly the best remedy for yellow nails resulting from smoke is to quit smoking, but that might not be realistic. If it isn’t, we’ll explore some natural ways you can get rid of yellow nails.
How to Get Rid of Yellow Fingernails
Lemon is a natural bleaching agent that can remove yellow stains from your nails.
Lemon is a natural bleaching agent that can remove yellow stains from your nails. It also acts as an astringent, which can offer healing for the pores and the area underneath the nail. Soaking the affected area in lemon juice can help get rid of the stains on your fingernails and toenails. Home remedies using lemon can be easily concocted, but you’ll have to be patient; the stains won’t go away in a day or two.
Soak the nails in a bowl with lemon juice for 10 to 15 minutes. When you remove them, scrub them gently with soft toothbrush to clean away some of the discoloration. Afterwards, rinse your hands with lukewarm water and apply a moisturizer. You can do this twice per day until the discoloration is gone.
2. Hydrogen Peroxide
Hydrogen peroxide can bleach your nails back to clarity.
Hydrogen peroxide can bleach your nails back to clarity. This is especially useful for discolored nails resulting from smoking, nail polish, or a condition that causes them to remain yellow despite other treatments. However, this isn’t recommended for fungal infections—for those, you’ll need to get to the root of the problem and once that’s been taken care of, the nails should regain their natural appearance.
You don’t want to burn yourself when using this stuff, so you’ll want to use a solution that’s only three percent hydrogen peroxide. Mix three or four tablespoons of three percent hydrogen peroxide into a half-cup of water. Make sure they are mixed well, then soak your nails in the solution for about two minutes. Remove and gently scrub with a soft toothbrush, then rinse the nails under water. Only perform this once per week in order to protect your fingers and nails, and do it for as many weeks as it takes to reach the desired color.
3. Baking Soda
Baking soda can also be used to bleach yellow nails and help restore their natural color.
Baking soda can also be used to bleach yellow nails and help restore their natural color. You can mix it with olive oil and water to achieve a moisturizing effect as well. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda, a half-teaspoon of olive oil and one teaspoon of lemon juice into a thick paste. Using a soft toothbrush, rub the mixture on top of your nails and let it sit for five minutes. Rinse it off with warm water and repeat the application once every two weeks until your nails are no longer yellow.
4. Whitening Toothpaste
Another treatment for yellow toenails or fingernails is to use toothpaste with a whitening agent.
Another treatment for yellow toenails or fingernails is to use toothpaste with a whitening agent, such as hydrogen peroxide or baking soda. The same ingredients that help whiten your teeth can work for mild yellow stains on your nails, too. Apply a light coat of toothpaste on your nails and let it sit there for five to 10 minutes. Using a nail brush, scrub gently and then remove the toothpaste using cotton balls soaked in water. You can repeat this method two or three times per week.
5. Tea Tree Oil
If nails are yellowing from a bacterial infection, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor about getting an effective cream to cure the condition. They might suggest tea tree oil, which can be an effective home remedy to treat fungal infections.
If nails are yellowing from a bacterial infection, the best thing to do is talk to your doctor about getting an effective cream to cure the condition. They might suggest tea tree oil, which can be an effective home remedy to treat fungal infections. Tea tree oil is a natural fungicide with antiseptic and antimicrobial features that can help contain and kill the fungus, while turning your nails back to their regular hue.
Get some pure tea tree oil and apply it to your nail beds with an eyedropper. After a few minutes, rinse it off with lukewarm water and repeat twice per day.
Restore the Natural Color of Your Nails
Whether the condition is serious or cosmetic, you shouldn’t have to deal with yellow fingernails or toenails. There are plenty of remedies available that can help bring your nails back to their original color. It takes time and effort, but it’s worth it!