Polishes & Pedicures

How to Clear Up Yellow Toenails from Using Nail Polish

Nobody wants unsightly yellow toenails from using nail polish. Yellowing nails don’t look pretty, and it makes the wearing of sandals impossible. Millions of women still paint their toenails every day, leading to a variety of aesthetic and medical problems.

The side effects of toxic nail polish applications can leave your nails looking less than attractive. Don’t worry, though, because we have some suggestions that will help to remove discoloration. There are also some good antifungal nail polishes that you should consider applying as an alternative if you do decide to add a bit of color to your toenails.

Darker nail polish colorations – like black, red, and dark crimson colors – tend to leave more stains on the nails compared to lighter colors (pink and white, for example). But, all toenail polishes have the potential to trap moisture and cause a fungal infection.

Do I Have Yellow Toenails from Using Nail Polish?

Be aware that you may have a fungal infection underneath under the nail bed, which is resulting in the discoloration. It may not be nail polish that is causing yellow toenails. We also need to look at any underlying health issues.

The nail bed offers clues about our health, but it’s something that we rarely consider. If your nails have deep ridges, there’s a nasty smell, and there’s a brownish discoloration then the yellowing could have a deeper meaning for your long-term health.

Medical Conditions Contributing to Yellow Nails

Fungal Infections

The yellowing of toenails can often be attributed to a fungal infection of the nail bed.

A tinea unguium infection can be treated with over-the-counter fungal medications. Dermatophytes are a pathogenic fungus that lives on the hair, nails, and skin. It blossoms in warm and moist conditions. It is hard to clear up if it’s not treated quickly.

If the condition persists after treatment with OTC medications, such as terbinafine hydrochloride, a prescription-strength solution is required.

Athletes can get yellow nails because their feet are constrained by hot and sweaty shoes. This can cause a fluid build-up on the feet/nails. Wearing antifungal socks can help to prevent the problem, as does a device to kill fungal spores in shoes.

Diabetes & Lymphedema

If you suffer from diabetes or lymphedema (chronic leg swelling), you may have noticed the nail area looking yellow with a flaky appearance. Any concerns should be discussed with a medical professional.

Yellow Nail Syndrome

There is also a genetic disorder called yellow nail syndrome. Your nails will be excessively curved and appear to have stopped growing. It’s a rare disease that normally affects older people and tends to run in families. Again, seek advice from a doctor.

Natural Ways to Remove Toenail Discoloration

There are natural treatments that only take a few minutes to apply each day. We have put together a list of options that help with discoloration:

  • Baking soda. Mix two or three tablespoons of baking soda with one tablespoon of 3% hydrogen peroxide to produce a smooth paste. Using a soft nail brush, apply the baking soda to your nails and leave in place for 3 to 4 minutes. Repeat this process once a week.
  • Lemon juice. This is a natural bleaching agent that people can use on yellowing toenails. Half fill a small bowl with lemon juice and gently scrub your toenails for 10 to 12 minutes with a medium toenail brush.
  • Orange peel. The vitamin c helps to remove stains when rubbed on the nail 2 to 3 times per day.
  • Teeth-whitening products. Apply the whitening product to the nail and lightly scrub with a nail brush for about 5 to 10 minutes. Wash with warm water and repeat this process three times a week. You can also use teeth-whitening strips by cutting them to the shape of your nails.
  • Tablets for cleaning dentures. Drop two denture tablets in a small bowl of warm water and soak the nail bed for 10 minutes. You don’t need to wash off the denture solution. You can dry your feet as normal. It should be applied three times a week for up to two months.

Natural Ways to Remove a Fungal Infection

If you have a fungal infection, these substances can help:

  • Tea tree oil. This comes from the Melaleuca tree in Australia, and it’s well-known for its antibacterial properties. Using an eyedropper apply one drop of tea tree oil to the affected nail and rub into the nail and cuticle area. You can apply this treatment once or twice a day until the fungal infection has completely gone. It’s also a good preventative treatment.
  • Listerine. A Listerine foot soak is rich in menthol, methyl salicylate, eucalyptol, and thymol. These all have potent antifungal properties, and there’s anecdotal evidence that it works. Simply soak your feet or nails in Listerine once a day until the problem goes away.

How to Get Rid of Yellow Toenails from Using Nail Polish

How to Get the Best Possible Results

There are a variety of different approaches to removing yellowing from the toenails.

Much depends on whether it’s a discoloration due to polish, fungal infection, or a medical condition. Identifying whether it’s a cosmetic or medical problem is fundamental to getting results.

  • Consider applying a base coat before using polish. This will help to protect the nails, prevent staining, and help to maintain healthy toenails.
  • If your yellow nails were caused by polish, switch to toenail polishes that prevent fungus. If you also use one of the lighter shades, this will help to minimize some of the more obvious cosmetic concerns.
  • Consider using natural solutions, such as lemon juice, to remove basic discoloration from your nails.
  • Don’t wear nail polish every day. Allow your nails to breathe, especially when you’re not at work or mixing socially.

Put the health of your feet and nails first. If you don’t take proper care of your nails, they will start to look worse over time. And always be aware that your toenails may be telling you something important about your health and immune system.

Perhaps you want to get pretty nails without applying polish? Find out more about the bare nail trend in this post. There are ways to get great-looking toenails without the need to wear any polish.