Fingernails are composed of keratin just like hair and skin. Healthy fingernails are smooth and strong with no discoloration or spots. Some changes could start to appear on your nails. Your nails may become yellow and dry. Yellow fingernails could be a sign of a serious health problem.
Your nails may turn yellow due to zinc or iron deficiencies. Yellow fingernails can be caused also by fungal infections. Smoking or using nail polish regularly can make your nails look yellow. These color changes in your fingernails may make you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable.
What also can cause discoloration is yellow nail syndrome which is a rare disorder. So if you’re concerned, you should consult a doctor.
Causes Of Yellow Fingernails
Usually, your nails turn yellow due to a fungal infection. Your hands touch a lot of different things daily. You open the door, hold a book, or even touch your mobile. All these things are loaded with bacteria that could be infectious.
Funges can be found under your nails. You may also notice some other symptoms like an unpleasant odor. And your nails often tend to break easily. Your toes can also become yellow because of funges. Your feet are always in warm temperature which is the perfect place for bacteria to grow.
You should see a doctor if you think your nails are yellow due to funges. The doctor will examine your nails and prescribe the proper treatment.
Yellow fingernails can be caused by smoking. Toxins like Tar and Nicotine can cause color changes in your nails. These toxins stain your nails and the skin around your nails. So after smoking for a few months, you find your fingernails turn yellow.
If you’re sure that you don’t suffer from any health problem, smoking is probably the cause of discoloration. Smoking affects your overall health not just your nails. So you should quit smoking to keep your nails healthy and strong.
Yellow Nail Syndrome
Yellow fingernails could be a sign of yellow nail syndrome ( YNS ) which is a rare disorder. YNS usually affects people who are older than 50 years. What causes yellow nail syndrome is still unknown. This disorder runs in families as researchers think that you may inherit the gene.
YNS is usually associated with pulmonary problems and primary lymphedema. It’s also associated in rare cases with cancer and autoimmune diseases. People with chronic sinusitis or pleural effusion are more prone to develop this disease.
Patient’s nails become thicker and grow slowly. Also, nails separate from the nail bed and this causes the nail to fall out. Moreover, your fingernails become excessively curved.
Vitamin E, zinc, and antifungal medications can help treat the problem. If people with lymphatic system problems or respiratory problems develop this disorder, they should treat these problems first so they can control nail changes.
Regular Use Of Nail Polish
Applying dark nail polish colors like black or red can cause yellow fingernails. So you should apply a clear base coat before applying nail polish to reduce discoloration.
Also, wearing nail polish regularly can damage your nails. This can cause color changes in your nails. And it also prevents your nails from breathing oxygen that they need to keep them healthy. So you should take a break from wearing nail polish for some time. This break gives the nail time to regain its strength.
An Underlying Health Condition
If your nails turn yellow suddenly, this could be an indication of a health problem. Diabetes, liver disease, or mineral deficiencies can cause yellow fingernails.
Also, thyroid disease, psoriasis, or lung disease can cause your fingernails to become yellow. Moreover, people with kidney disease or liver failure could experience color changes in their nails. Your fingernails may become white or yellow due to these health problems.
Usually, iron and zinc deficiencies cause discoloration in your fingernails. Blood tests can tell what causes yellow fingernails and help you treat the problem.
How To Treat Yellow Fingernails
You should consult a doctor if you notice sudden color changes in your fingernails. Your doctor will examine your fingernails. And he/she will ask also you some questions about the symptoms you experience. He may also order blood and urine tests.
After examination, he/she will prescribe the proper treatment. He will prescribe antifungal medications if you have a fungal infection.
If zinc or iron deficiencies cause yellow fingernails, the doctor will prescribe supplements to boost iron or zinc levels.
If you smoke, your doctor will ask you to stop smoking to improve your health.
In some cases, the patient may need surgery to remove the nail. A new nail will grow but it may take some time until it fully grows back.
Moreover, some medications can cause your nails to become yellow as a side effect. Patients who use 5-Fluorouracil to treat nail psoriasis, their nails turn yellow. So you should be aware of the side effects of any medication before taking it.
There are some tricks that you can follow to help you whiten your yellow fingernails. Some of these home remedies may work for you while other remedies may not. So here are the tips:
Lemon juice can help you get rid of yellow nails as it can whiten your nails. Squeeze one lemon into a bowl then soak your fingernails in the juice for a few minutes. Then wash your hands and apply a moisturizer to your fingernails and hands. A moisturizer helps keep your hands soft and prevent irritation.
Use a nail buffer to smooth your nails and remove yellow stains. Buff your fingernails gently to avoid removing too many layers of nails. Also, don’t buff your nails daily as this can lead to nail breakage or splitting. Don’t use any buffer, choose a good buffing board.
Before applying colored nail polish to your nails, apply a clear base coat. The base coat protects your nails and prevents staining. Dark nail polish can cause color changes in your nails. But applying a base coat before dark nail polish helps prevent discoloration.
You should also consider applying lighter nail polish colors instead of dark colors. Moreover, you should give your fingernails a break from manicuring every once in a while to protect them. This helps your nails to become strong and soft again.
Denture tablets can whiten your yellow fingernails. Dissolve denture tablets in water then soak your nails in the solution for a few minutes. You can repeat this process a few times until you get rid of the yellowish color.
You can use toothpaste to whiten your nails. Apply the toothpaste for a few minutes and rub it over your fingernails with a soft toothbrush. Then wash your hands and apply a moisturizer to keep hands soft.
Hydrogen Peroxide And Baking Soda
In a bowl, mix 2 1/2 tablespoon of baking soda with one teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide. Apply the mixture to your nails and rub it for 2-4 minutes. Then wash your hands and apply lotion to your hands. You can also apply nail hardener to your nails after washing your hands to keep your nails hydrated and strong.
So try one those tips to whiten your nails and get rid of stains. But if nails’ color change without a reason, you should see a doctor.