Nail discoloration can be caused by a variety of conditions, such as reactions to medications (blue discoloration), bacterial infection (green-black), fungal infection (yellow), or even melanoma (black/brown discoloration). Smoking can stain nails a very unattractive brown, while wrong nail polish can leave them tinged an unnatural orange-yellow.
According to Coyle S. Connolly, DO, the most common cause of discolored nails is a condition called onychomycosis. This nail fungus occurs when organisms known as dermatophytes move in under your nails. This is a common condition because toenails, fingernails and surrounding skin are prone to everyday wear and tear. This invites dirt, germs, and infection-causing fungi to take up residence there. The first sign of a fungal infection is a change in color. Age can also cause the nails to become yellow.
How to Treat/Prevent Discolored Nails
- Keep Clean
By following proper hygiene and regularly inspecting your feet and toes, you can reduce the chances of them getting discolored or getting infected. Clean, dry feet resist disease. Wash your feet thoroughly with antibacterial soap and water every night and dry with a clean towel.
2. Keep your Toe Nails Short
I know long nails are attractive and it makes the hands and feet look so much better (especially when you’re wearing open-toed shoes). However, long nails can get caught on things or rub against tight shoes, which can cause the nail to lift from it’s bed. That opening invites fungus and can lead to an infection.
3. Use Vinegar
This product has a lot of uses and benefits, one of which is in curing discoloration. Sometimes nails can develop a greenish hue caused by bacterial infection. Pour some white vinegar in a bowl and soak your nails in it a few times a day.
4. Lemon Juice
The high concentration of acid in lemon juice is beneficial for reversing discoloration. To remove discoloration and get your nails to go back to looking gorgeous, soak your fingernails in lemon juice for a period of 5-10 minutes and rinse well afterwards.