Why are my toenails yellow

Why Are My Toenails Yellow?

Healthy nails should be clear, translucent and without cracks or ridges. Sometimes, your nails can become discoloured for various reasons and yellow nails might not be anything to worry about. However, it can also be a sign of underlying health conditions.


If you’re wondering “why are my toenails yellow?” you’ve come to the right place. In this guide, we’ll answer your questions and give reasons why your toenails might be yellowing as well as how to treat yellow toenails. 

What causes yellow toenails?

There are many reasons why your nails may become yellow over time, from aging to nailpolish use to medical conditions. Browse our range of nail care tools to help keep your nails looking and feeling their best.  

1. Yellow toenails with age

As we age, our toenails naturally become more thick and brittle. This aging of our nails can include some yellowing. Seniors are more likely to have yellow-hued nails thanks to the thickening of the keratin that makes up your nails. 

2. Yellow toenails from nail polish

If you’re someone who frequently paints their nails, this could be the reason for yellowed nails. The yellow dyes from yellow, orange, and green nail polishes can stain your nails. Taking a break from painting your nails can help remove this.

3. Yellow toenails from nail fungus & infections

Toenail fungus is a common condition that affects many people. If your nails have become yellowed suddenly, it could be due to toenail fungus. 

4. Yellow toenails from medical conditions

Some medical conditions like diabetes, psoriasis, jaundice, and a rare condition called Yellow Nail Syndrome can all cause your nails to become yellow. Control or treatment of the underlying conditions can help get rid of your yellow nails. 

How to get rid of yellow toenails

how to get rid of yellow toenails

Thankfully, yellow nails are likely to be temporary if not caused by a medical condition. For most people, the cause of yellow nails will be the overuse of nail polish or a fungal infection, both of which have simple solutions. 

From nail polish

Stains from overuse of nail polish will fade over time by taking a break from painting your nails.

From nail fungus

Nail fungus will need to be treated with an anti-fungal nail solution to kill off the fungus and allow healthy nail to grow in its place. 

When to see a medical professional

Visit doctor toenails

If your nails are yellow and have ridges, are clubbed or you’re noticing them changing rapidly, you will want to seek professional help to ensure there isn’t a more serious underlying medical condition causing the issues. 

Additionally, if you notice any of the following symptoms in your nails, see your doctor as they could be symptoms of a more serious underlying cause:

  • change in shape or thickness
  • any bleeding
  • discharge
  • pain
  • swelling

How to prevent yellow nails

It’s not always possible to prevent your nails from becoming yellow, especially if it’s related to age. However, you can reduce your risk by taking some simple precautions. 

  • Wash your feet and toenails regularly by applying soap or shower gel directly to the feet when showering.
  • Keep your toenails dry and make sure you dry your feet thoroughly after washing.
  • Using clean heavy duty toenail clippers when trimming.
  • Wear clean shoes that fit you properly and don’t put pressure on your toes.
  • Avoid wearing closed-toe shoes all day, particularly in hotter climates – opt for sandals or barefoot when at home.
  • Avoid swimming in dirty or contaminated water.
  • Always wear clean socks.
  • After exercise, air out your shoes well.
  • Exercise regularly to help stimulate blood circulation to your feet and toes.

If your nails are yellow, it’s most likely not serious as it can be caused by easy-to-treat things such as nail polish for toenail fungus. But, if you’ve taken a break from painting your nails and used Swissklip’s anti-fungal nail solution to treat any potential nail fugus, the yellowing could be due to something more serious and should be looked at by a professional.