Nail discoloration can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as reactions to medications (blue discoloration), bacterial infection (green/black), fungal infection (yellow), or even melanoma (black or brown discoloration).
―Audrey Kunin, M.D.
Discolored nails where the appearance of nails are white, yellow, or slightly green, are signs of infections and/or specific conditions of the skin. In almost 50% of such cases, the reasons are common fungi that are found in air, dust, dirt, and soil.
Many species of fungi affect the nails (fingernails or toenails), however, certain types of nail fungus infect the skin, the nail bed, or cause blood to collect under the nail(s). Each and every discoloration of nails indicate a certain type of issue or disease which should be examined by a certified doctor only.
Although, discoloration of finger or toenails are the first visible sign of fungal infection, various discolorations signal particular diseases or infections. You should visit your doctor immediately, and not wait for the infection to spread. As fungal nails don't cause discomfort, if it isn't diagnosed in time, the situation may get worse.
- Fungus in nails
- Ingrown toenail
- Tobacco use
- Yellow nail syndrome
- Drug hypersensitivity
- Chronic lung diseases
- Liver, heart, or kidney diseases
- Cosmetic products' stains
- Atopic dermatitis (skin disease causing itching and redness)
- Bacterial infection
- Candidiasis (infection caused by fungi)
- Onycholysis (nails separated from its normal attachment)
- Psoriasis (chronic skin disease causing dry red patches covered with scales)
As mentioned earlier, the colors of the nails can alert you about an infection or problem before you can visit the doctor for correct diagnosis. If you have ..
- white nail beds, it can indicate issues with liver or kidneys.
- red lunulae (half-moon shape), it can indicate heart failure.
- brown nails, it can indicate chronic kidney disease.
- blue discoloration of lunulae (white area at base of nail), it can indicate Wilson's disease, which is a genetic disorder (accumulation of copper in the body).
Many times, such nails may be visible due to careless manicure procedure. Give your doctor a chance to examine and rule out any or all symptoms before you make a fuss about it. There are specific treatment, which can follow from the comforts of your home (till the time you visit your doctor).
In a plastic bowl, pour some lemon essential oil and soak your fingertips (till the base of the nails) in them. Keep them submerged for 15 minutes, and wash them with warm water. Whenever you wish to brighten or condition your nails, follow the procedure.
Purchase some denture tablets, and dissolve them in water. Soak your fingertips (till the base of the nails) for about 10―20 minutes. Wash your fingers with warm water, and repeat the method whenever your nails are light in color.
Take a lemon, cut it in half, and squeeze out the juice in a bowl. Soak your fingertips (till the base of the nails) in the juice for about 15 minutes. Once done, wash and rinse your hands in warm water (no soap). Apply some moisturizing lotion on your hands and fingernails.
Apply generous amounts of honey over the infected area. Let the honey sit for at least 10 minutes, and then wash your hands properly with anti-bacterial soap. This remedy will bring balance to the infected area and hinder the growth of fungus.
Apply toothpaste over the nails, and gently scrub them with an old toothbrush. Make sure the bristles are soft, and won't damage the skin around the nails. Follow this method at least 2―3 times a week to get rid of yellow fingernails.
Depending on the source of the issue, only a few home remedies may do the trick. Even if they are harmless and won't advance your causes for such nails in the first place, consult with your health care provider or doctor before following any of these remedies as not all home remedies are clinically proven, and they may not have the same impact on everyone.
Disclaimer: This is for informative purposes only and does not in any way attempt to replace the advice offered by an expert on the subject.