How to Get Rid of Yellow Toenails

It is important to practice good nail hygiene to avoid complications in the future.

In this day and age, we want every inch of our body to be healthy—including our toenails. Others find time to pamper themselves with a manicure and a pedicure, while some may find nail health as a luxury. Still, it is important to keep our toenails clean.

What are the factors that cause yellow toenails?

Toenails are made of alpha-keratin which is a tough, fibrous protein found in the hooves, hair, claws, and horns of vertebrates.

Healthy toenails are transparent or clear in color. You can also see the pinkish flesh underneath the nails. The nails should not have any cracks, ridges, or abnormal shapes when it grows. If the color of your nails starts to turn yellow, you need to know what are the factors that may be causing it. 


One of the natural causes of why your toenails turn yellow is aging. For elderly people, the color of the nails is the first to change along with the thickness and the shape. There is nothing wrong with your toenails that should raise concerns for your nail health. Just make sure you wash your feet with mild soap to remove any bacteria that can affect the growth of your toenails.


If you frequently get pedicures and apply nail polish on your toenails, it will cause discoloration in the long run. The chemicals that are coming from the nail polish is not healthy for your nails. Even when you keep your toenails clean, it will turn yellow.

Therefore, it is advisable to let your nails rest. You should remove your nail polish within two to three weeks from when it was applied.


Yellow toenails are not dangerous, but there are instances when it could be a sign of an underlying medical condition. This is why it’s important to know what caused the discoloration.


Lastly, the most common cause of yellow toenails is nail fungus infection. This is also caused by nail polish and other cosmetics. Women are at high risk of having nail fungus, so it is best that you don’t apply anything on your nails to avoid such infection.

What are the treatments?

Yellow toenails can be treated in most cases. There are medications and home remedies to treat it depending on what caused the discoloration.

For yellow toenails due to aging, it is a natural cause so there is no way to treat it. All of us are bound to get yellow toenails as we grow old. Just make sure you wash your feet with mild soap to remove any bacteria that can affect the growth of your toenails.

If your yellow toenails are caused by nail polish and other cosmetics, it’s best you avoid such for the time being. Make sure to remove the nail polish after two or three weeks, but don’t apply another nail polish right away; give your nails at least a month or so to rest.

Also avoid getting a pedicure too frequently. If you have nail fungus, you can take oral antifungal drugs, medicated nail polish or cream.

In serious cases such as a medical condition, your doctor will advise you the best course of medication to take since it’s more than just yellow toenails. 

How can you prevent yellow toenails?

As the saying goes, “Prevention is better than cure.” So always observe proper hygiene. Wash your feet thoroughly including your nails.

It’s best to avoid pedicure because you never know if the tools are sterilized. If it was used to someone who had an infection, it can be transferred to you especially if you were wounded in the process.

Home remedies that work

There are several home remedies that may help with treating yellow toenails. You can:

  • mix tea tree oil with a carrier oil and apply onto the infected nail
  • soak the infected nail in hot water with baking soda
  • apply vinegar to the infected nail
  • soak the infected nail in hot water with hydrogen peroxide

When to see your doctor?

A severe case of nail fungus can be too painful to handle. If you have medical conditions such as diabetes, it can lead to a more serious complication.You should visit your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:

  • discoloration (dark or white streaks, or other changes in nail color) unless if it’s due to aging
  • changes in toenail shape (curling, clubbing, or spooning) unless if it’s due to aging
  • changes in toenail thickness (thickening or thinning) unless if it’s due to aging
  • toenails become brittle
  • toenails are pitted
  • bleeding around toenails
  • swelling or redness around toenails
  • pain around toenails
  • a toenail separating from the skin

Don’t take any chance and see your doctor immediately.


Having yellow toenails can be less serious if it is caused by aging or chemicals from cosmetics such as nail polish. On the other side of the coin, it could also be more serious if it’s due to an infection. Therefore, it is important to practice good nail hygiene to avoid such complications in the future.

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