Are Yellow Nails a Cause for Concern?
Has your love for dark nail polish and gel manicure left your nails stained and lifeless?
Who doesn’t love the feeling of a fresh French manicure or their charming white nails? However, it barely takes a week to taint your nails.
Whether you decide to go metallic or sparkle all the way, constantly using dark nail polish can take a toll on your nails, turning them yellow and unsightly.
Unfortunately, yellowing nails are the kind of thing that makes us want to immediately cover up our fingertips again. If you’ve got a bad case of yellow nails bothering you, there are two things you should know: It’s important to address the issue and it’s easily fixable.
It’s happened to the best of us. Even the prettiest of shades have a dark side and can sometimes leave your nails yellow or abnormally tinted.
It is recommended to occasionally take off your polish completely. This makes sure your nails are looking healthy and there’s nothing bad going on.
If you paint your nails a lot, your nails will stain. The good news is, it isn’t dangerous or a sign of serious health problem if it has been caused only from nail polish. Having said that, yellow nails aren’t the prettiest, and many people want to maintain their nail obsession and have stain-free nails.
Lets figure out Why Do Nails Turn Yellow?
1. Use of Nail Polish
Most commonly, yellow nails are caused by the nail polish we use. The darker polishes especially take a toll on your nails, leaving them stained with leftover dyes.
Firstly, your nails need to breathe. Secondly, without a base coat, your nails will suffocate. The reason why your nails stain is because you aren’t using a base coat and you’re keeping high-pigment polish on too long.
Most often, yellowing of the nails is caused by staining from colour polishes.
Darker-coloured polishes can stain nails due to a chemical reaction between the colourant and the nail plate. This reaction is hard to predict because it doesn’t happen for everybody and for every dark polish. It can also take a few days to a few weeks to occur.
It’s also possible that formaldehyde (a common polish ingredient) is causing the problem. This chemical can react with the keratin protein in your nails and make it brittle and yellow.
The easiest way to prevent this from happening is by always using a clear base coat to protect the nails before adding layers of bright colour.
Not only does a base coat increase the life of your nail polish, but it also seals and protects the nail plates from staining. This will also help your manicure last longer!
2. Using an acetone nail polish remover
Another known culprit in aggravating the yellow tint is by using an acetone nail polish remover. Using straight acetone on a nail is never recommended. Always reach for a non-acetone nail polish remover when taking off your colour.
3. Tar & Nicotine
The next biggest cause of yellow nails is the tar and nicotine from cigarettes. If you’re a smoker then chances are your nails are yellowed from nicotine staining. Yet another good reason to give up the habit!
4. Fungal infection
This is another common cause of yellow nails. Fungus-infected nails can turn all sorts of colours and may also cause other nail issues such as flaking, peeling, and an unpleasant odour. As the infection worsens, the nail bed could retract, causing nails to thicken and crumble.
Do see your doctor if you think your nails may be yellow due to a fungal infection.
Prescription remedies tend to be more effective than home remedies. A change in the colour of your nails can also be a sign of something more serious. Thyroid, liver and lung diseases, diabetes, psoriasis can all cause yellowing of the nails, as well as nutritional deficiencies like low iron or zinc
If you suspect that your yellow nails may be caused by an underlying medical problem, make an appointment with your physician right away.
5. While eating food
Do you handle food with your fingers? Well, due to the spices, especially turmeric if used in food, nail polish tends to change its colour. Pastel and light shade changes its colour drastically.
And in case you can’t stop using your hands to eat, use acetone free nail wipes or acetone free nail polish remover.
Do you need to worry?
Blame it on the nail polish or an infection, either way, yellow nails are not a permanent condition and can be overcome using simple home remedies.
This is nothing to be ashamed of and this can be a quick fix. We’ve rounded up some of the most quick, easy, and convenient ways to get rid of yellow nails caused by smoking or frequent nail polish use. Check them out below! And remember, after using any stain removal method, moisturize those cuticles using cuticle oil.
- Hydrogen Peroxide and baking soda: Mix 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide with 2-3 tablespoons of baking soda in a small bowl. Using a cotton swab or an old toothbrush, apply the paste solution to the nails, covering your entire fingernail with the paste. Leave this mixture on for 5 minutes, then rinse. If you don’t have baking soda on hand, water can work just as well. Mix one-part hydrogen peroxide to three parts of water in a small bowl you can fit your fingers in and soak your nails for 10 to 15 minutes. Be sure to rinse your nails well afterwards and apply a moisturizer (hand cream or cuticle oil) as peroxide can dry out your nails and skin.
- Denture Tablets: Made to whiten and brighten dentures, these tablets can also be used to remove stains from fingernails. These tablets contain sodium bicarbonate and citric acid that cut through stains on hard surfaces like teeth and nails. Simply follow the package directions or just dissolve your desired number of tablets (usually 2 to 4) in water and soak your fingernails in it for about 10 to 15 minutes. Pat your nails dry and make sure to follow up with some type of hand moisturizer (hand cream or cuticle oil)
- Whitening Toothpaste: Just as it removes stains from your teeth, whitening toothpaste can be used to get rid of immediate nail stains. Simply apply a bit of whitening toothpaste to each nail and rub it in. Let it sit for a few minutes then wash off with water. Remember, this is not for long-term stains.
- Lemon Juice: Soaking your nails in lemon juice will get rid of those yellow stains. Real lemon juice can be used to whiten yellowed nails. You have a couple of options: you can either use an actual lemon, slice it in half, and work each nail into it for 30 to 60 seconds each, or you can go ahead and use lemon juice with a cotton ball and rub each nail thoroughly. Afterwards, let your nails sit for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing them in water. Or, simply slice a lemon and squeeze the juice into a bowl you can fit your fingertips in. Let your nails soak for 10 to 15 minutes, repeating as necessary. Do this each day until you are happy with the results. As with other treatments, moisturize well afterwards.
- Buffing: The top layer of your nails is where the yellow stains are. By buffing your nails, you will get rid of the top layers, removing some of the stains. Although, if you buff too deeply, you may weaken your nails or leave them vulnerable to infection. Buffing too deep removes layers of the nail plate and can lead to splitting and peeling. Similarly, don’t try to scrape off the stained area because it will damage and weaken the nail. If you choose to buff your nails, try using a clear strengthening polish afterwards.
- Avoid using too much dark nail polish: We all love a little black or dark navy polish from time to time. However, constantly using dark colours like this may cause your nails to become discoloured. Avoid using or try to switch your colour choices from something dark to something nice and light. This will give your nails time to recuperate.
Last but not the least
If you scrub your nails with peroxide, baking soda, or toothpaste without noticing results right away, repeat the process until you achieve your desired level of lightness. Ensure you immediately rinse your hands with water and soap after using any products that stain including your makeup.
Look for nail polishes that don’t have formaldehyde on the ingredient list. (There’s no guarantee that this will work but it’s worth a shot especially if you get yellowing from lighter coloured polishes)
Take care of your nails by choosing the proper shade, wearing a protective base coat and removing polish regularly. If the problem persists you may want to check with your doctor.
Conclusion: Don’t cover your nails at the first sign of yellowing, be sure to explore any health problems that might be related, and don’t be afraid to give your nails a week or two to recuperate from constant polish. A little breather now and then will help your nails stay strong!