Why Are My Fingernails Yellow? Causes, Treatment, & Prevention

Your nails can tell a lot about your overall health, which is why it is important to keep an eye out for any changes in your fingernails, especially a change in their color.

Healthy nails are generally pink and white, with the nail plate being pink while the nail that grows off the nail plate being white in color.

However, nails can be discolored and turn pale or yellow for many reasons.

If you are wondering why are my fingernails yellow?” scroll down to take a look at some of the most common causes of discoloration in fingernails.

1. Excessive Use Of Nail Polish

why are my fingernails yellow

If you are a fan of nail arts and loves wearing dark polish, don’t be surprised if your nails turn yellow.

Wearing nail polish regularly can stain your nails, making them look a little yellower than usual.

The discoloration is often the result of nail dye interacting with the natural keratin of the nail.

Nail polish removers, especially the ones with acetone, can also damage your nail and lead to discoloration.

The stains usually appear on the upper part of the nail.

So, the best way to deal with yellow nails, in this case, is to take a breather from nail paint and wait for the yellow part to grow out.

Don’t worry; you don’t have to give up nail polish for good.

Once your nails return to the healthy pink and white appearance, you can prevent them from turning yellow again by applying a clear base coat before nail polish.

Using more neutral colors and investing in a non-acetone nail polish remover will also help in preventing discoloration in fingernails.

2. Vitamin Deficiency

why are my fingernails yellow

Your nails are a reflection of your inner health, which means that discolored nails may be your body’s way of telling you that it is not getting all the right nutrients that it needs to function properly.

In other words, malnourishment can lead to yellow nails and can also affect their growth.

It is advisable to consult with a physician if you think your nails are turning yellow due to a vitamin deficiency.

Your doctor will run a blood test to get to the core of the problem. If you have a vitamin deficiency, your doctor will recommend suitable supplements.

Also, pay attention to what you eat to make sure you are getting a balanced diet.

3. Regular Smoking

why are my fingernails yellow

Yellow nails can be a telltale sign of smoking. Regular exposure to tar that is present in tobacco can cause your nails, and even fingers, to turn yellow.

In long term smokers, the shape of the nail may also be affected.

Your nails may appear rounded due to COPD or chronic lung disease, both of which occur due to long-term smoking.

Harlequin Nails is another nail condition that occurs due to smoking.

In this condition, half of the nail appears to be yellow while the other half appears healthy. It usually occurs when a regular smoker quits smoking.

The part of the nail that grows once you stop smoking is healthy, while the other half may still appear dark or yellow.

As the nails continue to grow, the entire yellow part will eventually be trimmed.

4. Using Self-Tanning Products  

why are my fingernails yellow

While tanning products can give you the perfect golden tan of your dreams, they may also give you yellow nails.

Most tanning products contain DHA, a chemical compound that interacts with the skin to give it a tan.

If it gets on your fingers, it can accumulate around the cuticles, leaving a yellow tint around the nails.

An easy way to make sure your tanning products don’t dye your nails yellow is to wear gloves while using them.

If that’s not an option, make sure you wash your hands thoroughly, especially around the cuticles, after using tanning products.

5. Injury Or Trauma

why are my fingernails yellow

Did you recently bump your hand on a table or hurt it some other way? If yes, it may be the reason behind yellow nails.

Injury or trauma to the nail can cause discoloration. Sometimes, the nail can detach itself from the nail bed due to external trauma.

Using nail tools too often or pressing your nails too hard as you remove acrylic nail polish can also result in injury that can lead to brown or yellow nails.

6. Fungal Or Bacterial Infection

why are my fingernails yellow

Infections are one of the leading causes of nail discoloration. An infection can be bacterial or fungal.

In any case, your nails will discolor and you may even notice a change in texture.

However, keep in mind that fungal infections are more common in toenails as compared to fingernails.

Your doctor can help you determine the kind of infection and recommend a suitable treatment for it.

7. Underlying Health Conditions

why are my fingernails yellow

Underlying health conditions can also cause your fingernails to appear yellow. For instance, diabetes can lead to yellow nails.

While it is still unclear how diabetes causes nail discoloration, it is speculated that it may have something to do with high blood sugar levels.

Thyroid disease can also cause varying nail issues, including thick, brittle, or yellow nails.

It is advisable to see a doctor to determine if you have an underlying health condition that may be causing your nails to turn yellow.

8. Yellow Nail Syndrome

see a doctor

Yellow Nail Syndrome is a rare medical condition that can cause your nails to turn yellow.

While it is hereditary in nature and often runs in families, it can also happen randomly to anyone.

It is mostly accompanied by other symptoms, including respiratory problems, swollen legs, chronic sinusitis, etc. It generally develops in middle age.

Make sure you steer clear of self-diagnosis.

Your doctor will diagnose the condition through nail clippings after ruling out other potential reasons and recommend suitable treatment based on your condition.

Remember, a little care goes a long way. So, always look after your nails to make sure they enjoy optimal health.

Now that you know some of the top reasons behind nail discoloration, you can take the right measures to keep your nails healthy and beautiful.

In case you are still wondering why are my fingernails yellow,” take the time to get to the bottom of it and take proper measures to restore you’re the health of your nails!