Yellowing of the toenails

Fact Checked

The color as well as the overall health of the nails serves as a reflection of your overall health. When an individual has healthy fingernails and toenails, they are free from ridges, dents and unusual color or shape. The toenails turn yellow in color due to various reasons. On the other hand, if you notice noticeable or abrupt change in the nail shape and color, a doctor should be consulted as soon as possible.

The toenails continue to grow since there are living cells beneath the cuticle that continue to replicate. Once they do, the dead cells are further pushed forward to form the hard shell that protects the tips of the toes and fingers. The toenails grow at a slow rate than the fingernails. As an individual starts to age, the rate in which the nails grow slows down.

The nails also change in color and texture which become more yellow and the toenails become thicker and harder as well as difficult to trim. On the other hand, the aging process is not the only factor responsible for the changes in the nails. Yellowing can also be triggered by other causes such as medical conditions as well as infections.

Yellow toenails
Yellowing of the toenails is characteristic of a common fungal nail infection known as onychomycosis.

Toenail fungal infections

Yellowing of the toenails is characteristic of a common fungal nail infection known as onychomycosis. Yeasts and dermatophytes are responsible for the fungal nail infections. The toenails face a higher risk to fungal infections since they are housed in constricted shoes which provide a moist, warm and dark environment. The toenails start to darken and become brittle and thick. In some cases, the toenails might actually separate from the nail bed. Always bear in mind that fungal nail infections can be persistent and difficult to eliminate even with medical treatment. If you want to learn more about fungal infections, click here.

Yellow nail syndrome

Yellow nail syndrome is characterized by the yellowing and thickening of the nails as well as the separation from the nail bed. Even though the exact cause of this syndrome is still unknown, it is seen among those with certain medical conditions such as bronchiectasis, chronic sinusitis, rheumatoid arthritis, cancer as well as conditions that affect the immune system. Many individuals suffer from yellow nail syndrome during once middle age is reached. Take note that even if the underlying health conditions are treated, the nails usually stay affected.

Other possible causes

In some cases, the yellowing of the toenails and fingernails can be due to the use of dark nail polish such as shades of red. The yellowish traces is only a stain that can be remedied by applying 1-2 coats of base coat before painting on polish or simply take a break from using the nail polish. When removing the yellow stain from a dark nail polish, you have to start by buffing the top of the nail and soak in a 3% hydrogen peroxide solution for a few minutes.

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