A 7-Part Overview To Help You Fix Yellow Toenails

Erica Kim By Erica Kim | Author

Yellow Toenails: Treatable

Yellowing toenails may be a sign of aging, infection or nail polish staining. Healthy toenails are generally clear and they won't have any indentations or ridges or any odd shapes on them. If they are turning yellow, however, it may be a result of something that is less serious such as aging or your nail polish staining. It may also be a serious infection that is easily treatable as well. Find out the causes, and fix yellow toenails with the help of this overview.

1Yellow Toenail Syndrome

Yellow toenail syndrome isn't dangerous in and of itself, however, the cause may be dangerous. It may be due to an underlying medical condition. It could be a fungus, an infection or a medical disorder. See your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following changes in your toenails: changes in the shape or the thickness of your toenails, bleeding, pain, swelling, discharge, or infection, a doctor can identify what is going on and help you treat them properly.

Rarely, they may also be a sign of a condition called yellow nail syndrome or YNS. Doctors aren't sure what causes YNS however, those who do have it have yellowed toenails, thickened toenails, curved toenails and the nails grow slowly, patients will also have respiratory issues. The toenails may have ridges and they may also have indentations that can turn green or black.

2Aging And Toenail Polish

Aging may be a natural reason that toenails and fingernails turn yellow. As people age their toenails grow thicker and the shape tends to change, the color can also change to yellow. Those who are aging will notice that there is more yellow to their toenails.

If nails are painted often with red or orange polish, they may also discolor. Consider taking a break from nail polish. This should make the yellow go away after a time.

3Fungus Nail Infections

Another common cause of yellow toenails is a fungus infection that attacks the nails. It's called onychomycosis and it's more common in adults than in children. It can turn the toenail yellow and there may also be white patches and yellow spots or the nail may even turn black. many people are prone to getting yellow toenails from an infection and fungus. If you have poor circulation in the legs due to diabetes, autoimmune disorders or foot disorders or even peripheral vascular disease it may be the cause of yellow toenails.

Fungus infections are caused typically by dermatophytes, these eat the keratin in order to grow. Keratin is found in your nails and skin. Per the American Family Physician, onychomycosis happens in approximately 10 percent of adults and as they age the risk increases. Approximately half of the people over 70 years old have a nail infection from fungus. Athletes and those who spend time in hot and moist conditions also get foot infections easier.

4Prevention And Home Remedies For Yellow Toenails

There are two non-prescriptions that work well to treat yellow toenails. Vicks VapoRub which is a topical menthol based ointment and tea tree oil. According to studies, tea tree oil isn't very effective to fight fungus, however, the Vicks VapoRub worked well in about a quarter of those who tried it to cure the infection.

While it may not be possible to completely prevent yellow toenails from happening again, proper nail care and regular inspections of the nails for any signs of problems will go far to help prevent yellow toenails.


Typically, yellow toenails are very treatable. There are many medications that doctors can prescribe and there are home remedies to help alleviate them or reduce the yellowing. Your doctor will recommend a treatment depending on the cause of yellow toenails. Example, if you have a fungus infection, you'll be prescribed an antifungal medication. One of these is ciclopirox 8 percent solution that you apply just like nail polish, it's quick and easy to apply and works very well to treat yellow toenails.

Others that will help include using Vitamin E, a topical corticosteroid, Zinc and a Vitamin D3. One study discovered that antibiotics like 400 milligrams of clarithromycin would clear up the yellowing of the toenails as well. Antibiotics are very helpful for infections such as pneumonia as well as curing yellowing toenails.

6Follow Proper Foot Care

Wear proper fitting shoes. Have a professional check your shoe size if you're unsure of your proper shoe size. Feet often change as we gain and lose weight due to pregnancy or simple weight gain or loss. Air out your shoes after you've worn them to make sure that they aren't wet when you wear them, this can help to prevent toenail fungus as well as yellowing toenails.

Cut your toenails straight across using clean toenail clippers. If your nails stay clean and dry it's better for your feet. When choosing a salon for your pedicure, ensure that they change water and sanitize between customers ask or observe to find out if they change the water and sanitize.

7Monitor Nails

Basically, yellow toenails are a signal that something isn't right. In many cases, they may be yellow due to nail polish or aging. However, to be safe, always ensure that you're monitoring your nails for changes, be aware of how they look and note any changes, if they are yellowing or changing a lot see your doctor.

Most of the time they are due to a fungus that infects your toenails. It's treatable and if you notice yellowing nails, always see your doctor. Especially if you notice changes in the shape, thickness or even bleeding or pain in your toenails as well as swelling or any other disturbances in your toenails. With this guide, it won't be such a daunting task to fix yellow toenails after all.