What Causes Yellow Fingernails and What You Can Do About Them
Your fingernails are not only a barometer of your general health state but also reflect your habits and the way you care for your nails on a daily basis. Learn how to get rid of the yellowish ones.
Have you noticed that your fingernails have taken on a yellowish cast lately? Nails that are yellow in color can reflect an internal health disorder or can be a product of your habits or the way you care for your hands. Here are the most common causes of this as well as what you can do to get rid of yellow fingernails:
An Underlying Medical Problem
Fingernails that are yellow can be an indication of a medical disorder in some cases. These include liver disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease, and nutritional deficiencies, most notably iron and zinc. Although most cases of yellow nails are not caused by an internal disorder, underlying medical problems should be ruled out if your nails have suddenly changed in color. Simple blood tests can generally rule out most causes of yellow fingernails.
One of the early signs of a nail fungal infection is a yellow or brown discoloration of the fingernails. Fungus once embedded under the nails can produce a variety of pigments which can color the nail yellow. Eventually, you may see more symptoms if the cause of your yellowing nails is fungal. These include flaking of the nail as well as an unpleasant odor as the fungus breaks down the components of the nail. If your fingernails are yellow due to a fungal infection, you’ll want to see your doctor to get an oral antifungal medication. Over the counter and topical medications don’t work as well as the ones your doctor can prescribe for you.
Smoking can cause yellow fingernails. If you’re a smoker and you’ve ruled out other medical conditions and the possibility of a fungal infection, chances are your smoking habit is the cause of your yellow fingernails. The ideal solution for both your nails and your general health would be to quit smoking.
If this isn’t a possibility, you may want to try a few home remedies for whitening yellow fingernails. These include soaking your nails in fresh lemon juice. Lemon juice has a slight bleaching effect and may remove the discoloration. Some people swear by denture tablets to whiten yellow fingernails. Simply dissolve denture tablets in water and soak your hands in the solution for ten minutes. You can also buy cosmetic pencils at your local drugstore designed to whiten the tips of yellow nails.
Excessive Nail Polish Wear
If you constantly wear nail polish, you may be depriving your nails of the oxygen they need to maintain a natural color. Yellow fingernails can be the result. One solution is to let your nails go natural periodically instead of covering them with polish. Another option is to apply a clear base coat before applying your chosen nail polish. This appears to reduce the incidence of yellow fingernails.
These are some simple steps you can take to get rid of yellow fingernails, although it’s important to understand the underlying cause before using cosmetic methods to reduce their appearance. If there’s any doubt as to the cause of your own fingernails, see your doctor for evaluation and reassurance.