Yellow toenails may not let you take up the activities like a pleasant walk on the beach in your flip-flops, or strolling through a park in sandals making you feel embarrassed. This lets you cover up your feet. Discolored, brittle, and warped toenails may be due to a fungal infection. So check out the article below that explains what yellow toenails, its causes, prevention and how to get rid of yellow toenails naturally and using home remedies.
Yellow toenails can leave you embarrassed, but not any more. Nails, are the translucent structure that are pinkish flesh underneath with clear visibility. However, the toenails from white can turn to a shade of yellow due to several different reasons and diseases. This unsightly condition of toenails is called as thick yellow toenails.
What are Nails Made Up Of?
Nails are usually clear with a tinge of pink color. It basically consists of keratin, a hardened protein which occurs in other parts like hair and skin as well. Nails are made up of following parts-
- Plate (Nail) – The outer shell which is the hard part
- Nail bed- It is the flesh present underneath the nail plate
- Nail folds- The skin which surrounds the nail plate
- Cuticle – The skin tissue that covers the base of the nail and also protects the newly formed keratin
- Lunula- The light-colored semicircle which appears at the base of the nail
Toenails grow as the living cells which push the older and dead cells forward, as they replicate under the cuticle. These dead cells get hardened and form the nail plate which protects the toe.
What Are Yellow Toenails?
Toenails turn yellow usually because of the presence of yeast or fungal infection beneath the nails. Also, nails become susceptible to this condition because of the warm, dark and moist environment. Yellow Nails aren’t harmful but they do look ugly, furthermore they become a matter of embarrassment in social gatherings. It is a benign condition that needs to be cured effectively before the infection spreads further on the nail reaching to roots.
It is important for one to рау attention to your toenails, for they tell about body health. Yellow tоеnаіlѕ can affect anyone, but this condition generally is experienced by age group of 20–70. Athletes of all ages may suffer from this problem of yellow toenails or discoloration.
So here you will get all the ideas on how to get rid of yellow toenails and what can be problem related to it.
What causes Yellow Toenails?
Nails primarily consist of a hardened protein called keratin. The same protein also occurs in the hair and skin. There are many reasons associated with the hardening of toenails thus causing your toenails yellow.
Healthy nails are usually clear in color with no such issues like cracks, indentations, ridges, or abnormal shapes. But in case your toenails are turning yellow then it could be a result of something less serious,like aging or nail polish or more serious issue, like an infection.
Aging is one of the natural cause of yellowing of toenails and fingernails. As we grow older, the color, thickness, and shape of their nails also tend to change. Aging individuals will often have a more yellow color compared to younger ones.
One of the most common causes of yellow toenails is infection by a fungus that is known to attacks the nails. This sign is called as onychomycosis which happens more in adults than children. The nail may turn yellow with yellow spots, white patches, or may even turn black. This fungal infection is often caused by dermatophytes, which eat keratin to grow.
Onychomycosis occurs in about 10 percent of the adult population, and half of people over the age of 70. In case you have a medical condition with poor blood circulation in the legs, like diabetes, peripheral vascular disease, or other autoimmune disorders, you may be more prone to foot disorders. Athletes spending a lot of time in hot or moist conditions also get foot discoloration. Thus fungal infections are a common cause of yellow toenails.
If you paint your nails frequently using nail polish that is either red or orange in color, your nails can get discolored. Taking a break from nail paints can make the yellow color go away. Excessive use of nail polish causes toenails to become discolored. Although they look unpleasant,yellow toenails from nail polish are harmless.
Yellow nail syndrome
Yellow nail syndrome is a rare condition that may cause toenails to turn yellow. The nails may also grow more slowly, lack a cuticle, and can get damage easily. Yellow nail syndrome may lead to severe symptoms like respiratory problems and swelling of the lower limbs. The cause of the condition is unknown and is common in people aged over 50.
Underlying Medical Condition
Having yellow toenails is not dangerous. However, if the cause for the yellow toenails is an underlying medical condition then it may definitely be a sign of something wrong. Yellow toenails some people can develop as a symptom of an underlying medical condition that include-
- thyroid conditions
Yellow tоеnаіlѕ can also be caused by реrѕоnаl habits and lifestyle. Fortunately, one need not worry for there are easy and effective anti-fungal treatments along with home remedies that can help you beat toe fungus.
When to see a doctor
A person with yellow toenails in extreme condition should consider seeing a doctor for they may need a prescription to treat the condition. These symptoms may include:
- changes to the shape or thickness of the nail plate
Get Rid of Yellow Toenails
For most people, the cause of yellow toenails is either fungal infection or overuse of nail polish. Therefore, ceasing to use of nail polish for at least a week may make the nail to return to normal condition.
Fungal infections can straightforwardly be treated using an oral or topical antifungal medication. Treatment periods for infections can be lengthy with courses of medication that may last up to a year. Some most common prescription for antifungal medications recommended by doctor include Ciclopirox 8 (found in nail treatment pen)percent solution, applied to the nails. Other medications help in curing yellow toenails include applying vitamin E, zinc, and a topical corticosteroid with Vitamin D-3, Zetaclear, Sporanox, and Lamisil. Using antibiotics, such as 400 milligrams of clarithromycin, also clear up yellow toenails.
Antifungal creams for mild cases include Mycocide NS and Nonyx Nail Gel. This is applied twice a day for several weeks.
Home Remedies to Treat Yellow Toenails
Using Hydrogen Peroxide
Cоmbіnе 3 to 4 tablespoons of hуdrоgеn реrоxіde with оnе-hаlf cup оf water.
Mix them well.
Soak your nails in the ѕоlutіоn fоr two mіnutеѕ.
Uѕіng a soft tооthbruѕh, gently ѕсrub your nаіlѕ and rinse them with water. Repeat two to three tіmеѕ a week.
Use a Toothpaste
Use a whitening toothpaste. Aррlу a ѕmаll соаt to уоur toenаіlѕ and leave іt for 10 mіnutеѕ. Scrub mildly and then wash off the toothpaste followed by a ѕооthіng cuticle oil.
Soaking your toenails in water mixed with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. One of the simpleset home remedies to cure yellow toenails. It will remove yellow stains from the nails.
You can even directly rub lemon slices on your toenails.
Use of Listerine
Listerines kills bacteria that causes foul smell and tooth decay. But on the other hand, it has got ingredients that help killing the foot fungus as well.
It contains high level of anti fungal element. Listerine contains Thymol and Eucalyptol that is effective in treating fungal infections and inflammation.
It also contains Salicylate that promotes the sloughing off of dead skin cells so healthy ones can form. To use it combine equal amounts of Listerine and water in a container, and soak your feet for about 30 minutes before brushing them with a nail brush.
Take three tablespoons of baking soda and one tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide. Mix it to form a paste. Apply this paste on the toenails.Wash the feet after 10 minutes and allow it to dry so as to remove the yellow discoloration.
You can also use the mixture of baking soda and lemon juice in the same way.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Soak your nails in an equal amount of mixture of warm water and apple cider vinegar. Use this solution for about 15-20 minutes three times a day to reduce the fungal infection as well as discoloration of toenails.After the procedure dry the feet completely in this solution.
Apple cider vinegar although has dark smell but has so many beneficial properties for your body. Its acidity kills fungus and restores the skin’s pH balance.
Mixture of Tea Tree Oil and Lavender/Olive Oil
A combination of tea tree oil and lavender oil, or olive oil is an excellent combination for yellow toenails as home remedy. You can use it for a few weeks to get rid of this problem.
There are few companies that sell tea tree foot soak for this purpose!
Vicks Vaporub is basically known for cough and cold treatment. However, it is also effective against different bacteria and can be used to treat yellow toenails. You can use it in the following manner.
- Wash your feet thoroughly and dry them with a clean towel.
- Apply Vicks vapor rub of your nails and rub it.
- Repeat this process two or three times a day.
Mixture of Olive Oil and Oregano Essential Oil
Another yellow toenails home remedy using essential oils uses olive oil and oregano oil. You can regularly apply the mixture of one teaspoon of olive oil and two drops of oregano essential oil. But do not follow this therapy for more than three weeks.
File Down Your Nails
Filing down your nails gently to keep them smaller and thinner can also help in preventing yellowing of toenails. Keeping nails short stops moisture from getting trapped in nails.
Corn contains a form of fungus that is harmless to the body. Use of cornmeal to kill the fungus that causes yellowing of toenails.
In a foot bath, mix one cup of cornmeal and about two quarts of water. Submerge your infected feet intoit for about one hour. Use this remedy once a month, this will help in any discoloration and recurrence of infection.
Soaking the feet in a bucket of warm water mixed with a teaspoon of crushed juniper berries also serves as a good natural cure for yellow toenails.
It is a natural anti-fungal ingredient that has potent effects especially on hard-to-reach areas like your nail bed. Before using garlic,apply moist heat to your infected toe to open the pores bringing the bad stuff to the surface.
You can stick your foot in a sock with a garlic clove in it, or mince a bit of garlic and then add it to your nail.
Keep them dry
This is paramount for beating fungus. Candida and other species of fungus thrive in moisture and warmth, therefore it is important to dry your feet to avoid their growth.
Diet for Yellow Toenails
Adding probiotics to the diet can help in prevention of yellow toenails, it also speeds up the healing process. The well-balanced diet with a mix of fresh fruits, vegetables, and whole grains containing essential vitamins and nutrients help in improving immunity against infections.
Topical Gels and Creams for Yellow Toenails
There are many topical gels and creams available in the market for prevention and treatment of yellow toenails.
Mусосіdе NS, a clinically tested antimicrobial ѕоlutіоn penetrates into the nails killing the germs causing infections. Apply twice a day for up to six months to cure toenails and prevent reoccurring infection.
Nоnуx Nаіl Gеl
Nоnуx Nаіl Gеl is another popular product that balances the pH level avoiding the growth of fungus.
Prevention includes practicing proper nail care and regularly monitoring your nails for any signs of poor condition.
- Always wear properly fitting shoes.
- Cut toenails straight with clean nail clippers.
- Keep nails clean and dry.
- Be careful when choosing a salon for a pedicure.
- Regularly air out your shoes after sports or other outdoor activities to ensure they are not left wet.
- Always wear clean socks.
There are several possible causes of yellow toenails like fungal infections or overuse of nail polish. However, for some it may be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. Refer this guide on how to get rid of yellow toenails and how to take care of them.