Nails are the small windows that open up the health condition of the person. The pinkish looking nails are the healthy ones. Any kind of discoloration is an indication of poor health. When this changed color is yellow, there could be several reasons.

The most obvious and easiest conclusion is fungal nail infections. But it is not the case every time. There are other reasons and causes that lead to yellowing of the nails. It also depends on the type of nails that has the discoloration. These reasons can be serious or easily rectified. A few of such reasons are summed up here.

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Aging & Discoloration Of Nails

Aging is the natural process that usually turns the nails yellow. Aging reduces the blood circulation to the nails and they get less nourishment. This leads to the yellowing of the nails. Aged and colored nails would also be thicker and would have a difference in their usual shape. If you are aged, you don’t have to worry too much about this discoloration.

Diabetes & Yellow Nails

Diabetes is another common cause for yellow nails. The nails will have a yellowish hue rather than the obvious color. The blood glucose works with the collagen in the nails leading to the discoloration.

It also adds that a diabetic patient can get the fungal infection faster than anyone else. So the yellow nail in a diabetic patient is not always because of the disease itself. Diabetes-related fungal infections are more likely to happen on the toenails.

Nail polish & Nail Discoloration

Using too much of nail polish, especially the dark colored ones, can leave the nails looking yellowing. When the nail polish is applied continuously for a while without any breathing time between, the nails turn yellow. The continuous layer of the polish prevents the nail from breathing. Moreover, the nail polish contains stains and toxins that also affect the discoloration.

Get some relief time for the nails to breathe. Do not apply back to back colors on the nails. Leave it bare for a while in between before applying the next color. Removing the affected cuticle would also help.


Nicotine has several harmful effects on the body. One of the visible effects is yellow nails. Nicotine turns the nail into yellow colored. Nicotine can turn the fingertips turn yellowish by contact. It can turn the nail bed under the nails to turn yellow as well. Smoking blocks the oxygen supply to every part of the body. Nails being at the extreme ends get less amount of oxygen in the end.

Smoking can also raise the risk of nail infections. The lack of enough oxygen to the nail beds reduces the immunity in this area and the pathogens easily infect nails.

Fungal infections

Fungal infections are the most common cause of yellow nails. It turns the nails thicker and it will have the yellowish color to it. Pain and inward growing nails are other symptoms of nail fungal infection.

The infection happens on the nail bed that makes it difficult to reach. The medicines take time to reach the nail bed and the treatment happens slower. Add in a weaker immune system, it is one of the toughest infections to get rid of.

Trauma or injury

A trauma or injury on the nail bed can cause yellowing of the nails. The injured or bumped nails could stay lifted from the nail bed. This prevents the nourishment from reaching them that causes the discoloration. The trauma could also cause injury to the nail bed and cause infections. In most cases, this injured nail might fall off or get cut off. The nail that grows after this would be healthier.

Skin disorders

Skin disorders like psoriasis can be one of the causes for yellow nails. It is an autoimmune disease. Sometimes it can affect the skin on the nail bed. This leads to discolored nails. This again is a rare case. Yellowing of the nail is the primary symptom of nail psoriasis.

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Underlying diseases

Certain diseases could be reflected on the nails with yellow coloration. Respiratory diseases, thyroid problems could cause yellow nails. Jaundice is another problem that shows the same condition.

Tight shoes

Wearing tight shoes can injure the toenails. It could squeeze the nails and cause injury to the surrounding skin and the nail bed. It can cause discoloration straight away or make way for infections that cause yellow nail. Use loose fitting shoes and of the right size always. Wearing used shoes can lead to fungal infections.

Family history

This is a rarity. If there is a gene running in the family that causes yellow nails, you might also suffer it. It comes up in the middle age. This kind of condition can also have swelling in the legs and some respiratory problems. The nail discoloration in these cases may not have any cure but these symptoms associated with it have and it should be treated.

Remedy for yellow nails

If the yellow nails are because of nail polish usage, tighter shoes, smoking or as part of aging, you can reduce the coloration or remove it depending on the cause.

  • You may soak the yellow nails in lemon juice for 10-15 minutes.
  • Hydrogen peroxide and baking soda in the ratio of 1:2 could also work the same. Mix them with some water to make a paste and apply it over the nails. Wait for 3-5 minutes and rinse.