Yellow toenails – causes and treatment

Yellow toenails is a common problem. Nails can tell you a great deal about your overall health. Usually, when they get discolored, it means you have picked up an infection or a nail champignon. It can also mean that a product like nail polish has stained your nails or you have an allergic reaction. Nails may occasionally turn yellow as a symptom of something more serious, such as chronic lung conditions, internal malignancies, lymph obstructions, and even rheumatoid arthritis. Read on to learn more about what causes yellow nails and how this condition can be eliminated.


Possible causes of yellow nails

The new nail growth should be a healthy, clear color if your nails have been damaged by coloring or harsh products. If your nails are still yellow, something else may happen in your body. Sometimes it can be an indication of something more serious with yellow nails. Nails may appear yellow with vitamin or mineral deficiencies and introducing a multivitamin supplement to your regiment may stop the problem.


How to get rid of yellow nails

The cause will depend on the treatment of yellow nails. Most likely, because of an infection you have or a product you have used, your nails have become discolored. These home remedies are based on discoloration causes. However, knowing that home remedies are not always effective is important. See your doctor if it is not helpful to remove discoloration from home remedies.

Tea tree oil

Because of a bacterial infection or fungus, tea tree oil is any easy treatment that you can try. Mix one or two drops of tea tree oil with a carrier oil like olive oil, coconut oil, or jojoba oil, and spread the mixture over the affected nail. A study showed that oil from tea tree can effectively stop the growth of common strains of nail fungus.

Baking soda

Fungus can only grow in an acidic pH – level environment. In hot water mixed with baking soda, soaking your feet or toes may prevent the fungus from spreading. Baking soda creates an alkaline environment and can leave your nails much clearer over the course of a few soaks.

Oregano Oil

It has been found that oregano oil has antimicrobial properties. It is effective against bacteria and fungi, making it a great treatment if you are not sure what causes yellowing of your nails. Oregano oil should be mixed with carrier oil before being applied topically to the affected nail or nails, like the use of tea tree oil for treatment.

Hydrogen peroxide

Hydrogen peroxide has been shown to effectively help whiten teeth in combination with baking soda, and it is a common ingredient in toothpaste whitening. Hydrogen peroxide could ‘oxidize’, making it a stain remover. This means it’s a great treatment for the use of product stained nails. The dye can seep into the nail enamel from dark nail polish, leaving them permanently stained. It penetrates deep into the nail and lightens the coloring, like how bleach strips the hair color. It may improve the appearance of stains by mixing hydrogen peroxide in warm water and soaking the nails and adding baking soda will make it even more effective.

Vitamin E

Vitamin E is known to help moisture retention and healthier appearance of cells. When you have plenty of vitamin E, your skin, hair, and nails all take on a vitality appearance. Vitamin E was also clinically studied for yellow nail syndrome as a successful treatment. Yellow nail syndrome is exactly what you would have thought — a condition that causes the nails to become discolored, ridged, and thick. Since vitamin E stimulates healthy nail growth, it can be applied topically or orally to help your nails grow fast.

Prescription medicines

If yeast or bacteria causes your yellow nails, try some of the above treatments to help clear it up. Oral prescriptions such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or itraconazole (Sporanox) may be effective when yellowing is caused by fungus. The FDA has flagged both drugs as potentially hazardous to the liver for long-term use. They have some common side effects, such as diarrhea and pain in the abdomen.

As an alternative prescription treatment, you may want to request ciclopirox (Penlac Nail Lacquer). Ciclopirox, like a nail polish, is applied to the nail. To be effective, all these prescriptions take weeks to months. Healthy nail growth will gradually replace your nails’ yellowish appearance. Be aware that no oral or topical antifungal is 100% effective and it is common to have recurrence of nail fungus.

There are common yellow nails. You can try to treat the condition with plenty of home remedies. Yellow nails are sometimes a symptom of a bigger problem. Yellow nails should not be ignored and finding the underlying cause will result in healthier nails and improved overall health.



Toenail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is a common toenail fungal infection. A white, brown, or yellow discoloration of one or more of your toenails is the most noticeable symptom. It can spread and cause thickening or cracking of the nails. Sandal season or not, you usually don’t want to see toenail fungus when you look at your feet. Luckily you can try a lot of treatments. Traditionally, oral prescription antifungals such as terbinafine (Lamisil) or fluconazole (Diflucan) are used to treat toenail champignons.

These treatments are often effective but can cause serious side effects ranging from stomach upset and dizziness to severe skin and jaundice problems. This may be why a lot of people are instead trying home remedies. Here are 10 of the popular treatments at home.

  • Vicks VapoRub

A topical ointment is Vicks VapoRub. Although its active ingredients, camphor and eucalyptus oil are designed to suppress cough, it can help treat toenail fungus. Vicks VapoRub was found to have a ‘positive clinical effect’ in toenail fungus treatment in 2011. To use, apply at least once a day a small amount of Vicks VapoRub to the affected area.

  • Snakeroot Extract

Snakeroot extract is a sunflower family antifungal made from plants. A study in 2008 showed that the toenail fungus remedy is as effective as the ciclopirox prescription antifungal medicine. For the study, every third day for the first month, twice a week for the second month, and once a week for the third month, snakeroot extract was applied to the affected area.

  • Tea Tree Oil

Tea tree oil is an essential oil with antifungal and antiseptic capabilities, also known as melaleuca. Some small-scale clinical studies have shown that tea tree oil could be effective against toenail fungus, according to the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health. To use, paint the tea tree oil twice daily with a cotton swab directly onto the affected nail.

  • Oregano Oil

Oregano oil is thymol-containing. Thymol has antimicrobial and antibacterial properties, according to a 2016 review. Apply oregano oil twice daily with a cotton swab to the affected nail to treat toenail fungus. Some people are using together oregano oil and tea tree oil. Both products are powerful and can cause irritation or reaction to allergies. This risk may be increased by combining them.

  • Olive Leaf Extract

An active substance in the extract of olive leaves, oleuropein, is believed to have antimicrobial, antimicrobial and immune boosting abilities. Olive leaf salve can be applied directly to the nail fungus or ingested as a capsule. According to this review, in treating toenail fungus, taking one to three capsules of olive leaf with meals twice daily is more effective than olive leaf salve. During this treatment, drink plenty of water.

  • Ozonated Oil

Ozonated oils are “injected” with ozone gas, such as olive oil and sunflower oil. According to a 2011 study, many organisms such as fungi, yeast, and bacteria can then be inactivated by this type of exposure to ozone at low concentrations for a short time. Another study found that ozonized sunflower oil was more effective than prescription topical antifungal ketoconazole (Xolegel) in the treatment of toenail fungus. Work the oil in the affected toenail twice a day to treat toenail fungus with ozonated oil.

  • Vinegar

There is only anecdotal evidence to support vinegar as a toenail fungus treatment. Nevertheless, trying it is a reasonably safe home remedy. In one part of vinegar, soak the affected foot in two parts of warm water for up to 20 minutes per day.

  • Listerine

Listerine contains ingredients that have antibacterial and antifungal properties, such as menthol, thymol, and eucalyptus. This may be why toenail fungus is a popular folk remedy. Treatment supporters recommend soaking the affected foot for 30 minutes a day in an amber-colored Listerine basin.

  • Garlic

A 2009 review found some antimicrobial and antimicrobial capabilities in garlic. By placing chopped or crushed garlic cloves on the affected area for 30 minutes daily, you can treat toenail fungus with garlic. It may be better to treat it with garlic capsules from the inside out, and less smelly. Take the manufacturer’s direction.

  • Diet Change

There is a clear link between diet and health. The healthier the food you eat, the better your body’s chance of fighting off conditions like toenail fungus. Give the nutrients you need to eat to your body:

  1. Yogurt rich in probiotics
  2. Enough protein to support nail regrowth
  3. Enough iron to avoid brittle nails
  4. A diet rich in fatty acids
  5. Foods that are rich in calcium and vitamin D, such as milk products with low fat

Toenail fungus is a cosmetic problem in most cases. Still, it can cause some people serious complications. If you have diabetes, toenail champignons can lead to foot ulcers or other problems with your foot. Chronic toenail fungus is a significant risk factor for leg bacterial cellulite, according to a 2012 study. You should not use home remedies for toenail fungus if you have diabetes or a weakened immune system. Contact your physician for appropriate action.

Home remedies may be more effective in the treatment of mild to moderate toenail fungus than prescription medications. While home remedies typically have fewer side effects, little scientific evidence is available that they work. In the treatment of toenail fungus, many factors come into play, such as nail penetrability, severity of infection, and overall health. Home remedies may take longer than prescribed topical medicines or oral systemic antifungals to wipe out toenail fungus. For several months you may not see results. It is common to have re-infection. Keep your toenails dry, clean, and well-controlled once the infection is gone.

Severe toenail fungus cases can cause pain and damage toenail irreversible. Consult your doctor if you are trying home remedies to treat the infection and they do not work or cause side effects.


Healthy nails are usually color-clear and have no major problems, such as cracks, indentations, ridges or abnormal shapes. If your toenails turn yellow, something less serious, such as aging or nail polish, could result. Or it might be because of a more serious problem, such as an infection.


Aging can result in yellow toenails and fingernails being a natural cause. As people get older, they tend to change the color, thickness, and shape of their nails. Often aging people have a yellow color on their nails.


If you frequently paint your nails with red or orange – colored nail polish, the polish may also discolor your nails. If you take a break from painting your nails, the yellow should go away.


It is not dangerous to have yellow toenails on its own. However, if an underlying medical condition is the cause of the yellow toenails, it may be a sign that something is wrong. An infection, fungus, or medical disorder can cause yellow toenails, for example. Yellow toenails can be a sign of a disorder called yellow nail syndrome (YNS) in rare cases. Doctors don’t know exactly what causes YNS, but it has yellow, curved, thickened nails, along with other symptoms such as breathing problems. There may also be ridges or indentations in their nails, and they may also turn black or green.

If your nails also have one of the following, go see your doctor:

  • Change the shape or thickness
  • Any bleeding
  • Discharge
  • Pain
  • Swelling


One of the most common causes of yellow toenails is a fungus infection that attacks the nails. This is called onychomycosis and is more likely to occur in adults than in children. It can result in the nail turning yellow, yellow spots, white patches or even turning black. Dermatophytes, who eat keratin to grow, most often cause the fungal infection.

Onychomycosis occurs in about 10 percent of the adult population, according to the American Family Physician, and the risk of getting it increases with age. About half-of people over 70 years of age are infected with fungal disease. Some people are more likely to get yellow toenails or catch an infection with the fungus. If you have a medical condition that causes poor circulation of blood in your legs, such as diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other autoimmune disorders, you are generally more likely to have foot disorders. Athletes or individuals who spend a lot of time in hot or moist conditions are also more likely to become infected with a foot.


Psoriasis is an autoimmune disorder typically causing red, scaly skin patches. Nail psoriasis is often associated with skin disorder that affects both fingernails and toenails. If psoriasis is the direct cause of thickened nails, a person may develop ridges on the nails, and the nails may loosen and separate from the bed of the nails.


Paronychia is a skin condition that causes the nail to become red and swell. Both fingernails and toenails can become thick over time and multiple infections. A person may notice that the nail layers begin peeling off. People are more likely to develop paronychia by sucking their fingers frequently, dishwashing, and too much trimming of the nails or cuticles.


Over time, tar and smoke nicotine — from cigarette holding — can stain your nails.


Blood sugar imbalances may cause glucose to be attached to collagen proteins, the structural tissue in nails that transforms the shade of the nail from normal to yellow.


If your doctor has ruled out a fungal infection, you may have yellow nail syndrome that, as its name suggests, is characterized by yellow-colored nails, but also growing slowly, lacking a cuticle, and/or loose nails that may become detached from the nail bed. While experts do not know exactly what causes or cures this condition, they do know it has a genetic component.


Check with your doctor or a podiatrist to confirm the diagnosis if you suspect a fungal infection. If it’s a nail fungus— or if you have diabetes or have pain or discomfort in your toenails — your doctor may prescribe an oral antifungal medication that you usually take for up to 12 weeks. Do not expect fast results; a fungal infection can be eliminated for up to six months.


For most people, fungal infection or overuse of nail polish can cause of yellow toenails. Stopping the use of nail polish should allow the nail to return to normal for at least a week. Fungal infections are easy to treat with an oral or topical antifungal drug. Treatment periods can be long for these infections, with some medication courses lasting up to one year. For people with an underlying condition, the most effective way to deal with the problem is to treat the cause of yellow toenails.

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