13 Home Remedies To Get Rid Of Yellow Toenails

Home Remedies to Get Rid of Yellow Toenails

Yellow toenails are a serious issue; one shouldn’t take for granted, and medical attention should be called for as soon as possible. The reasons for yellow toenails are many, and that is what we are going to talk about in detail today. We don’t want you panicking though, but read on and be well-informed. We are here to guide you and help you.

What is Yellow Toenails?

Yellow toenails are an indication of underlying serious health conditions. For example, it could be a form of a fungal infection, which is one of the most common causes, wherein, the nail bed may retract, and nails may thicken and crumble. There are other reasons as well, for example the yellow nail syndrome and diabetes. Yellow toenails aren’t age specific, but mostly seen in women and girls aged twenty to the seventy. It isn’t gender specific as well, since yellow toenails have been noticed in men and women alike, athletes especially. So now let’s take a look at the causes of yellow toenails.

Causes

Expert podiatrists suggest the following when it comes to the causes of yellow toenails. Some of them are-

  1. Jaundice, which is a liver disease
  1. Lack of oxygen to the nails which results in the yellowing of the nails- a lung problem
  1. Diabetes- research is still on to determine and ascertain as to why the nails turn yellow for diabetics
  1. Kidney diseases raise the bilirubin levels in the blood stream, which leads to the occurrence of yellow toenails.
  1. The lack of zinc and iron in the body is a vitamin deficiency causing yellow toenails
  1. Damaged airways say experts can cause yellow toenails
  1. Tuberculosis which is a lung infection can cause yellow toenails
  1. Thyroid issues and diseases
  1. Psoriasis, where scaly patches are formed on the skin and nails
  1. Lack of water intake!

These are some of the many causes for yellow toenails, and if you didn’t know that you had one of these conditions, your nails are asking you to check with a doctor as soon as possible. But before that, to know if you have yellow toenails, we need to check on with the symptoms at first. Here are the symptoms to be wary of.

Symptoms

There are many signs and symptoms that come with yellowing of toenails. Some of them very clearly will tell you the real cause and reason of the discoloration of the nails. Sometimes it could be nail fungal infection, but there are many more symptoms to notice if you are keen and observant. Some of the symptoms of yellow toenails are listed below-

  1. When the nails turn hard and very thick
  1. When the nail plate splits
  1. When the area between the toes and the area around it turn utmost tender
  1. When your toenails emit a very foul smell
  1. When wearing shoes you face a mild to severe prick and pain
  1. When there is a build up of debris under the nail that is infected
  1. When there is discoloration of the toenails
  1. When the nails are malformed
  1. When the nails refuse to be cut normally
  1. When the nails are too tender to touch and feel

These ten possible symptoms could be telling you that your body has an underlying issue which needs to be cared for.

Now that you know the causes and symptoms of yellow toenails, we want you to understand the difference between yellow toenails and yellow nail syndrome. Please read on and be well-informed.

Yellow Toenails vs. Yellow Nail Syndrome

Yellow Toenails isn’t a rare genetic disorder and should NOT be confused with the yellow nail syndrome. The latter happens when the nails thicken and turn yellowish to green.

The symptom of yellow nail syndrome include excess fluid in the space that surrounds the lung area, thus making breathing a nightmare for the individual. The localised fluid retention and the swelling of the tissue is known as lymphedema. It leads to the underdevelopment of nails or dystrophic nails.

Hence, in most cases you could have yellow toenails and not the yellow nail syndrome. The confusion thus needs to be done away with.

Now that we are clear about the difference between yellow toenails and yellow nail syndrome, let’s check on the diet needed for yellow toenails.

1. Lemon

What you need:

  • A large lime cut in half

Directions:

  • Rub the half of the lime on the toenail directly and let it sit for ten minutes.
  • Do this thrice a day for sixty seconds, and wait for ten minutes per sitting.

How it works:

The acids of the lime play the role of bleachers. The acids are what removes the yellowness of the nails and brings back the natural color of the nails

Tip:

Don’t rub too hard or the acids can eat into the nail bed. Don’t do this for more than five days at a stretch.

2. Baking Soda (With lemon/vinegar/hydrogen peroxide)

a. Baking soda with lemon

What you need:

  • Half a lemon
  • Half a teaspoon of baking soda

Directions:

  • Juice up half a lemon
  • Mix with the baking soda to form a paste
  • Apply it on the nail and wait for half an hour
  • Wash off with warm water
  • Repeat after twenty four hours

How it works:

The bleaching effects of lime and the acids in it whitens the nail, while baking soda exfoliates the fungus and grime, dirt and pollutants settled in the nail that makes it yellow.

Tip:

Do this once a day for five days, not more than that

Baking Soda with Lemon

b. Baking soda with vinegar

What you need:

  • 1 tbsp of white vinegar
  • 1 tsp of baking soda

Directions:

  • Make a mixture of both ingredients.
  • Gently rub mixture on the nails with cotton to ensure that the bleaching of nails happens.
  • Do this for sixty seconds and not more per nail.

How it works:

Vinegar by nature is acidic, and helps whiten the nails. Baking soda exfoliates the fungus and grime, dirt and pollutants settled in the nail that makes it yellow.

Tip:

Once a day is more than enough for five days at a stretch

Baking Soda with Vinegar

c. Baking soda with hydrogen peroxide

What you need:

  • 20 volumes of hydrogen peroxide
  • Cotton balls
  • A tsp of baking soda

Directions:

  • Make a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to form a paste.
  • Dip the cotton into concentrated paste
  • Gently rub the nails for sixty seconds
  • Place the cotton around the nail bed
  • Wait for ten minutes
  • Wash off with warm water
  • Repeat after 24 hours

How it works:

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural stain remover and a bleaching agent, which helps whiten the nails and kills bacteria too. Baking soda exfoliates the fungus and grime, dirt and pollutants settled in the nail that makes it yellow.

Tip:

  • To be used just once a day

 

3. Hydrogen Peroxide

What you need:

  • 20 volumes hydrogen peroxide
  • Cotton balls

Directions:

  • Dip cotton balls into the concentrated hydrogen peroxide
  • Wrap the cotton balls around the nails
  • Wait for half an hour
  • Remove and wash off with warm water

How it works:

Hydrogen peroxide is a natural stain remover and it helps bleach and bring back the natural color of the nails.

Tip:

  • To be used once or twice everyday

4. Tea Tree Oil (With Lavender Oil/Olive Oil)

What you need:

  • A few drops of tea tree oil
  • A few drops of olive oil
  • A few drops of lavender oil
  • A few cotton balls

Directions:

  • In a bowl, mix all the oils
  • Dip cotton balls into the solvent
  • Massage gently on the nails
  • Wrap the nails with the cotton balls
  • Wait for half an hour
  • Remove and wash with warm water

How it works:

Each of the essential oils mentioned here has antifungal and antimicrobial properties that help cure the nail of nail fungi that yellows the nails.

Tip:

To be used once a day every day until the yellowish tone on the nails disappear

Tea Tree Oil

5. Apple Cider Vinegar

What you need:

  • Two caps of apple cider vinegar
  • Cotton balls

Directions:

  • Start by adding the apple cider vinegar to a bowl of warm water
  • Dip cotton balls in it and gently massage each nail with the same
  • Wrap the cotton balls around the toes and wait for half an hour
  • Remove and wash with warm water

How it works:

The acidic content in apple cider vinegar is antimicrobial and antifungal, which kills all the germs and fungi causing yellow nails. In addition to that, apple cider vinegar has acids that naturally bleach the nails safely, to bring it back to its original color.

Tip:

This is a method to be done twice a day, for five days.

6. Juniper Berries

What all you need:

  • A cup of juniper berries
  • Cotton balls

Directions:

  • Pulp and paste the berries
  • Dip cotton balls into it
  • Gently massage each nail for sixty seconds
  • Wrap the nails for half an hour with the cotton balls
  • Remove and wash with warm water

How it works:

The juice and pulp of the berries are disinfectants to the nails, which kill the bacteria and the fungi that cause the yellowing of nails

Tip:

  • To be done twice a day, for five days at a stretch

Juniper Berries

7. Orange Peel

What all you need:

  • Orange peels

Directions:

  • Pulp the peels in a blender with a little water
  • The paste of orange peels now should be gently rubbed on the nails
  • Wait for half an hour
  • Wash off with warm water

How it works:

The acids in the peels act as natural bleachers that bring the original color and shine of the nails back, removing the yellowish color of the nails.

Tip:

  • To be done twice a day for the time frame mentioned.

8. Denture Cleaning Tablets

What you need:

  • A couple of denture cleaning tablets

Directions:

  • Dip the tablets in a spoon of water to form a paste
  • Rub gently on the nails
  • Wait for ten minutes
  • Wash off with cold water

How it works:

The active ingredients in denture cleaning tablets – sodium bicarbonate and citric acid – whiten and lighten the nail bed to its original color, and kill the fungi too.

Tip:

  • Follow the instructions on the pack of the denture cleaning tablets

Denture Cleaning Tablets

9. Whitening Toothpaste

What you need:

  • A tube of toothpaste
  • Cotton balls

Directions:

  • On a cotton ball, apply some toothpaste generously
  • Wrap the nail with the cotton
  • Wait for half an hour
  • Wash off with cold water

How it works:

The lightening and brightening effects comes from the active ingredients in the toothpaste. Calcium in most tooth pastes help strengthen the nails and keeps it safe from future fungi attacks too.

Tip:

  • To be used once a day until the yellow nails are solved

10. Listerine

What all you need:

  • A tsp of Listerine
  • A tsp of hydrogen peroxide
  • Cotton balls

Directions:

  • Mix the two ingredients to form a solvent
  • Dip a cotton ball in it
  • Gently rub the nails for sixty seconds
  • Wrap the nails with the cotton
  • Remove and wash off with warm water

How it works:

The active ingredients in Listerine help kill the fungi and the germs that cause the yellowing of nails to happen. Hydrogen peroxide by nature is a natural stain remover.

Tip:

  • Use this method once only everyday

Listerine

11. Coconut Oil

What you need:

  • A tbsp of coconut oil

Directions:

  • Rub each nail for a minute with coconut oil
  • Wash off with warm water

How it works:

The healthy fats, vitamin E and lauric acids in coconut oil kill the fungi and since it is antimicrobial, it protects the nails from further fungal attacks too.

Tip:

  • To be used thrice a day for ten days

12. Glycerine

What you need:

  • A half lime
  • A tbsp of glycerin

Directions:

  • Dip the half lime into the glycerin
  • Gently massage every nail with this mixture
  • Wrap the nails with foil
  • Wait for half an hour
  • Wash off with cold water

How it works:

Glycerin helps kill the fungal infection and removes the dirt and grime from the nails. Lime is a natural bleaching agent with natural acids that bring back the shine and color of the nails.

Tip:

  • Use this remedy just once a day

Glycerine

13. Other Essential Oils

What you need:

  • A few drops of lemon essential oil
  • Cotton balls

Directions:

  • Dip the cotton balls into the essential oil
  • Gently rub each toenail for sixty seconds
  • Wrap the cotton around the nails
  • Remove after half an hour
  • Wipe with a wet wipe
  • Wash off with warm water

How it works:

The natural bleaching effect of lemon essential oil brings back the original nail color. The oil also is an antimicrobial agent which kills the bacteria and fungi that cause yellow nails.

Tip:

  • Use this method thrice a day for three days only

Diet for yellow toenails

For the immune system to be strong, the right diet needs to be in place. This helps the immune system have the best nutrition and the yellow toenail issues can be fought against as well. Some of the main diet components that need to be in place are-

  1. One should drink a lot of water to get the toxins from the body flushed out
  1. Sugars of all kinds should be eliminated. This includes sodas and soft drinks, which feed the fungi attacking our nails.
  1. You need to have foods that are very rich in biotin and sulphur, and silicon too since they help keep nails healthy.
  1. Foods rich in protein should be consumed
  1. Foods rich in vitamin C and folic acid too should help balance the nutritional aspect in the body
  1. Supplements such as vitamin B12 should be consumed when you notice the nails have curved and turned dark. However, speak to a dietician before doing the same.
  1. Probiotics should be consumed- yogurt and curd- they help keep the intestinal flora in healthy stead and are beneficial for the immune system too
  1. Stay away from starches and simple carbs, since the nail fungus feeds on them

Here were some of the diet plans that you should follow to avoid the occurrence of yellow toenails and nail fungus. However, we know it is tough to follow them all to the core, so consulting a dietician would be best for your needs. Now let’s take a look at when to consult a doctor or seek medical attention for yellow toenails.

When To Seek Medical Attention?

Here are the signs that tell you clearly when you should get in touch with your doctor for medical attention with regard to the yellow toenail issues you have.

  1. When the pain has increased
  1. When the swelling hasn’t gone down in a week
  1. When the redness persists
  1. When the area is still hot and tender for long
  1. When the area has red streaks and is still extending
  1. When pus is being discharged from the nail
  1. If you have a fever of 100 degree Fareinheit or more and the cause is unknown
  1. If you notice that the infection caused by the fungus is spreading under the nail and to the skin around
  1. If the discomfort is too much to bear
  1. If the appearance of the nail isn’t normal

With that we have told you how to determine when to check with a podiatrist or a doctor for your yellow toenail problems. Now let’s take a look at the prevention tips for the same.

Prevention Tips

Do not take the nails on your feet for granted; if you notice yellow nails, it could be underlying health issues that could lead to complications later on. It could be much more than nails just falling off. This is why, prevention is better than cure and here are the various pointers to adhere to.

  1. When you wash your feet, your feet should be dried thoroughly. Take your time to get the feet dried and then wear your flip flops or shoes. Twenty seconds isn’t enough to get the feet dry.
  1. Socks should be worn clean and bone dry. They need to be soft too. If this isn’t the case, chances are that the dampness and the dirt in the socks could create nail problems, since viruses and bacteria thrive in moist, dark, damp, dirty conditions. Clean and dry socks help prevent the yellowing of toenails from happening, and if possible, try changing your socks in the middle of the day if your feet sweat a lot.
  1. When you walk around, do so with flip flops worn and avoid walking barefoot. This is especially in public areas or areas that aren’t dry. The types of fungi that thrive in such places are plenty, even in swimming pools and washrooms out in the public. This is where the infection can catch on to your nails.
  1. When you do visit your doctor, heed his or her advise and follow it religiously. The instructions to prevent yellow toenails should be taken seriously, which helps prevent the same from happening. If there are medications given, you need to take them on time and complete the dose too.
  1. Don’t wait for eternity to take action, especially when you see white dots or yellowishness on your nails. These are the first signs and symptoms of yellow toenails and a podiatrist should be summoned for help and diagnosis of the same. It would be much easier to nip it in the bud now, than when it spreads all over the nail plate.
  1. Regular trimming of nails should be done, since the longer they grow, chances are that they could get dirtier because of the various fungal infections. Trimming and filing of nails should be done at least once every twenty days, or as and when they grow longer than the usual growth.
  1. While bathing, it is important to clean the feet and the toenails. This is proper hygiene and care that you can give your nails. It also helps prevent the discoloration too. Soaps that are antifungal should be used to get the nails cleaned.
  1. Try and avoid the sharing of personal items, such as bathmats, towels and clothes which have full chances of spreading the infection from one person to the next.
  1. Shoes should be well-fitting and not ill-fitting. There should be enough toe room so that the air circulation happens.
  1. Don’t be too regular with nail polishing, nail art and nail polish removing. This could discolour the nail plate and cause the nails to turn weak and brittle too.

We hope these ten tips on prevention makes sense. Now let us take a look at the cautions and after care to abide by.

Cautions and After Care Tips

  1. Use tea tree oil which is a natural antiseptic that fights nail fungus to clear the nails of the issue. A few drops of the oil mixed with a few drops of olive oil should be mixed. Apply the same on the nails and wait for half an hour. Wash off and dry the nails with a cloth. Do this everyday to prevent yellow toenails.
  1. If you have Listerine mouthwash at home; soak your toenails in a cap of the same. The mouthwash is a powerful dose of antiseptic which helps kill the yellowness and fungus of the nails, and makes the nails strong and healthy.
  1. In a basin full of warm water, add a cap of apple cider vinegar and soak your toes in it for half an hour. Remove your toes and pat dry the area completely with a dry towel.
  1. To help beat the yellowness of the nails, one can add an equal amount of tea tree oil and lavender oil in a mix and apply the same on the nails thrice a day. This would help fight the infection and would prevent the skin around the nail from being irritated.
  1. Alpha hydroxyl acids or AHAs should be used as a cream on the feet at night before you sleep. This helps remove all the scaly flakes from the toes and doesn’t allow the fungus to set home at such places.

Now the actual cause would have to be determined for the treatment of the nails to happen. If it is the nail polish that is giving you reasons for yellow toenails, the natural color of the nails would be back when the toenails grow out. But this is just a minute case, and not to taken lightly for other discoloration reasons. If there is a discoloration that happens because of fungi infection, here is some expert advise-

  1. Lotions and anti fungal creams should be used for any treatment program to get rid of yellow toenails.
  1. There are certain drugs that only your podiatrist would be able to tell you about when topical treatments are unable to do the job properly.
  1. If need be, you may have to use the last resort which is surgery. Only your doctor would be able to advise the same when all other treatments fail. This is when the infection is not mild to moderate; severe cases need surgery and there is no other way out since it is painful and you are unable to walk. The affected nail needs to be removed so that a new one can grow in its place. It would take a year for the new nail to grow in its place, and the process is slow.
  1. When using topical treatments and application, one shouldn’t expect to have healing done in a week or so. It takes around six to nine months at the best for healing to happen. Full recovery would take a year.

We hope this information on yellow toenails, the causes, symptoms and diet plans along with prevention and tips, after care etc comes in handy. Once again, we would ask you to not ignore the toenails, since they tell us a lot about our health and what can happen if we ignore the same.

Disclaimer: The points and remedies given here are for informational purposes only. Should you wish to have better clarification on the same lines, it would be very wise to get in touch with a podiatrist. His or her words would take precedence over what is written and mentioned here and elsewhere online.

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4 Comments

  1. Sam

    July 3, 2017 at 3:05 pm

    I am using Listerine for 1 week, the infection reduced but not totally removed, how much time it will take?

    • Mansi Kohli

      July 14, 2017 at 12:55 pm

      The Listerine treatment is very effective, but it requires a few months until the toe nails fully begin to grow out. Be patient.

  2. Hannah

    July 20, 2017 at 2:57 pm

    Can artificial nails or acrylic nails cause bacterial or fungal infections on nails?

    • Mansi Kohli

      July 21, 2017 at 3:27 pm

      Yes, this is a possibility if the acrylic/artificial nails are kept on for too long. This retains the moisture under the nail and could lead to bacterial infections.

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