A 7-Part Overview To Help You Fix Yellow Toenails

why are my toenails yellow
Erica Kim By Erica Kim | Author

yellow thick toenails

Yellow Toenails: Treatable

The yellowing of 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 severe infection that is easily treatable as well. Find out the causes of yellow toenails and how to fix them with the help of this overview.

yellow nail syndrome

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.

yellow thick toenails

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 some time.

how to cure yellow nails

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, yellow spots, or the nail may even turn black. Many people are prone to getting yellow toenails from infection and fungus. If you have poor circulation in the legs due to diabetes, autoimmune disorders, 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 to grow. Keratin is found in your nails and skin. Per the American Family Physician, onychomycosis happens in approximately ten percent of adults, and as they age, the risk increases. Nearly half of the people over 70 years old have a nail infection from a fungus. Athletes and those who spend time in hot and moist conditions can easily get foot infections, too.

why are my toenails yellow

4Prevention And Home Remedies For Yellow Toenails

Two non-prescriptions work well to treat yellow toenails. These are Vicks VapoRub, which is a topical menthol-based ointment, and tea tree oil. According to studies, tea tree oil isn't very efficient in fighting fungus.

However, Vicks VapoRub worked well in about a quarter of those who tried it to cure the infection. It may not be possible to prevent yellow toenails from happening again completely. However, proper nail care and regular inspection of the nails for any signs of problems will go far to help prevent yellow toenails.

yellow nail syndrome


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 yellowing. Your doctor will recommend a treatment, depending on the cause of yellow toenails. For example, if you have a fungus infection, you'll be prescribed an antifungal medication. One of these is a ciclopirox (8% solution) that you apply just like nail polish; it's quick and easy to apply and works very well to treat yellow toenails.

Other medications that will help include using vitamin E, a topical corticosteroid, zinc, and vitamin D3. One study discovered that antibiotics, like 400 milligrams of clarithromycin, would clear up the yellowing of the toenails as well. Antibiotics are beneficial for infections, such as pneumonia, as well as curing yellowing toenails.

yellow toenail fungus

6Follow Proper Foot Care

Wear proper-fitting shoes. Have a professional check your shoe size if you're unsure of your correct shoe size. Our 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. It's better for your feet if your nails stay clean and dry. When choosing a salon for your pedicure, ensure that they change the water and sanitize between customers; ask or observe to find out if they change the water and sanitize.

yellow thick toenails

7Monitor Your 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.

why are my toenails yellow

Most of the time, they are due to a fungus that infects your toenails. This is treatable. See your doctor if you notice yellowing nails.

Do this, especially if you observe changes in the shape, thickness, even bleeding, or pain in your toenails, swelling, or any other disturbances as well. Follow the tips in this guide. It won't be such a daunting task to fix yellow toenails after all.

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