Fingernails and toenails are made of keratin and generally have a pinkish hue and a translucent appearance. However, on some occasions, they undergo significant changes in their coloration and appearance and turn an unflattering and healthy yellowish color. This alteration can be the consequence of various causes, from bad habits or aggressive aesthetic treatments to medical conditions that require treatment, such as fungal infections, skin diseases or liver problems, among others.
In this way, the nails can also be an indicator of your state of health, so it is advisable to be attentive to any changes that occur in them. In this FastlyHealarticle, we show in detail what the causes of yellow nails are and how you can treat them in each case.
Yellow toenails from fungal infection
One of the most frequent causes of yellow nails is the existence of fungus in them, a condition that is medically called onychomycosis . This is caused by the proliferation of fungi called dermatophytes, which penetrate the nails through small cracks and attack them from the inside, thus causing significant changes in their appearance.
The nail fungus normally come in those warm humid places, such as locker rooms or public pools, they are perfect environments for the growth of these microorganisms. They are also more common in the elderly, diabetic patients, people with a weakened immune system, and those with nail lesions. Although they are more common on the toenails, they can also occur on the fingernails.
In addition to yellowish nails or the appearance of yellow stripes on the nails, onychomycosis causes severe brittleness, thickening, deformities, breaks and even lifting or falling in advanced stages of the infection. Therefore, it is important to see a doctor before the first symptoms and start the appropriate antifungal treatment in each case.
Yellow nails from liver problems
The yellow nails , in other cases, may be a reflection of problems or liver disease. Especially, the suffering of the different types of hepatitis has as a common symptom, jaundice, which refers to the yellowing of the skin, nails, conjunctiva of the eye and mucous membranes due to an excessive amount of bilirubin in the blood.
Hepatitis is a disease that causes inflammation of the liver, but there are different types of hepatitis, which have different causes and symptoms, so if you suspect your condition, it is important to see a doctor and find out what treatment is should start. Expand this information by consulting the article Hepatitis: types, symptoms and treatment .
Yellow toenails from diabetes
Some diabetic patients have yellowish nails , because in this case the doctors have ensured that the color change can happen due to the sugar molecules attacking the proteins, which are essential to keep the nails strong and in perfect condition.
Although it is not always easy to know if you have diabetes, if you have symptoms such as increased frequency of urination, continuous urge to go to the bathroom, frequent need to drink water, exhaustion and weakness despite sleeping At night, it is important that you consult with your doctor and take the appropriate tests, since the accumulation of sugar in the blood can lead to serious health problems. If you want to know more about this disease, see the articles Type 1 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment and Type 2 Diabetes: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment .
Yellow nails from psoriasis
Another medical cause of yellow nails is the so-called nail psoriasis , a condition that can occur in both fingernails and toenails. In general, most patients with nail psoriasis also suffer from psoriasis in other parts of the body. It is a chronic skin disease that has no cure and for which the exact causes are unknown, but everything indicates that the immune system and the environment play a key role in its development.
When psoriasis manifests the nails, a hole can be observed in the surface of these, thickening of the skin underneath, yellowing, brown or reddish and detachment of the nail if it separates from the skin. Because it is a condition that comes and goes, it is advisable to go to the doctor to receive timely treatment and keep outbreaks under control. Those mild cases can be treated effectively with the application of ointments that have steroids or salicylic acid.
In the following article, we show good natural remedies for nail psoriasis .
Smoking can lead to yellow nails
In addition to the above medical causes, there are other factors that can also cause yellowing of the nails. One of them is smoking, and that is that smokers are more prone to yellow nails than those who are not. This is due to the continuous contact of the fingertips and nails with the chemical components that the cigarette contains and with the smoke that it gives off.
But, as you already know, this is not the only harmful effect of tobacco, since the most important ones are directly related to the health of the organism, affecting very negatively the health of the respiratory system, the cardiovascular, nervous, digestive and reproductive systems. If you need extra help to get rid of this bad habit, follow the advice in the article Tobacco substitutes to quit smoking .
Yellow nails from poor quality polish
Another factor that can be, in some cases, responsible for yellow nails is the continuous use of poor quality polishes . These usually contain chemical and aggressive components in their composition that damage the keratin of the nails and, consequently, cause that yellow hue. In addition to this, when the nails are polished frequently and for long periods of time, they cannot breathe properly, something that can also contribute to changes in their natural coloration.
Therefore, it is important that you always use good quality nail polishes, that you protect them with a hardener and that you go without painting for a while so that they can be kept in perfect condition.
Other possible causes of yellow nails
- Lack of nutrients: a diet lacking in vitamins A, B, iron, zinc, calcium and protein can cause the nails to look yellow.
- Yellow nail syndrome : a rare syndrome characterized by yellow nails without cuticles, which grow very slowly and are very weak. In addition to this, the affected person also usually has lung disease and lymphedema.
- Consumption of some medications.
- Aging: as you age, your nails become more brittle and weak, and they can also turn yellow, harden and thicken.
How to remove yellow fingernails and toenails
In the event that the problem of yellow nails is due to a specific health problem, the treatment indicated by the doctor in each case should be carried out. Here are some home remedies that can help you whiten yellow nails quickly and effectively:
- Lemon and milk: whitening and moisturizing properties. Squeeze 2 lemons and mix their juice with 1/2 cup of water. Soak the yellow toenails or fingernails in this preparation for about 10 minutes. Then, soak your nails in another container with 1/2 cup of milk for another 10 minutes. Finish by rinsing with warm water.
- Baking soda: whitening and exfoliating properties. Mix 2 tablespoons of baking soda with 1 small tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide. Apply the mixture on the nails with the help of a soft bristle brush that you no longer use and leave it on for about 20 minutes. Remove with lukewarm water.
- White vinegar: antiseptic properties. Mix 4 tablespoons of white vinegar with 3 tablespoons of hydrogen peroxide and apply it on the yellowish nails with a brush.
- Aloe vera: regenerative, antiseptic and antifungal properties. Place the gel from 1 aloe leaf in a container, pour 1/4 cup of water and soak your feet or hands for 10 minutes.
You can see more treatments like these in the article How to whiten yellow toenails .
This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.
If you want to read more articles similar to Yellow nails: causes and solutions , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .
I am a Surgeon with a diploma in comprehensive ultrasound and surgical care residency, an area I am specializing in. During the exercise of my profession, I have realized the need for patients to know the diseases they suffer, and I can tell you that a large part of their complications is due to a lack of information. Being a health web writer allows me to transmit my experience, without borders, to all those readers eager for knowledge, educate them in the prevention of diseases and promote a healthy lifestyle.