Nail paints and nail arts beautify our nails and are a style statement. Choosing radiant colors such as plum, pink, lavender or yellow adds charm to our dressing. But overuse of these nail paints can cause our toenails to turn naturally yellow indicating some underlying infection.
Our nails are actually translucent highlighting the pink flesh underneath them. Humans are created naturally beautiful, but we keep adding layers and layers of artificial colors and make up to highlight our features and showcase our curves! If we start admiring our natural self and inner beauty, we would automatically start using less of these beautification tips and tricks. However, our world has gone far past the ‘nature’ look and almost entered the irreversible stage where everything is artificial starting right from artificially ripened fruits and vegetables to plastic surgeries.
Nails cover fingertips and toes and are made of a tough protective protein called keratin which is also present in our hair and skin. Nourish this special protein by seeking tips from the website www.firsteatright.com. The nails consist of the nail plate (hard outer shell), nail bed below it (skin beneath the nail plate), nail folds (skin surrounding the nail plate), cuticle (skin tissue covering nail base and protecting keratin) and lunula (crescent-shaped base of the nail).
Several factors contribute to yellow toenails:
Ageing: As people grow old their nail color, thickness and shape changes and the nails may become yellowish in color due to the age factor.
Nail polish: Frequent use of nail polish, especially red, orange or yellow color ones, can cause the toenails to turn yellow. These look unpleasant and might give you the feel that your nails looked better before using nail paints. Discontinuing the use of nail colors for a while or taking a break from coloring your nails should solve this problem as the yellow color goes away with time.
Underlying medical conditions: Yellow toenails are not dangerous on their own but can be indications of an underlying dangerous health problem such as psoriasis, thyroid condition, sinusitis, jaundice, tuberculosis and diabetes.
Yellow nail syndrome: This is classified as a rare disease characterized by toenails and fingernails that turn yellow. The nail may appear thickened and often stops growing forever and might also fall off the finger totally. Respiratory problems, swollen lower limbs and shortness of breath are common symptoms. The cause of the condition is unclear, but the syndrome usually strikes people above the age of 50.
Infection: A fungal infection called onychomycosis can cause the nails to turn yellow or have yellow spots. This is predominantly seen in the elderly population and in sports people/individuals who spend ample time in hot or moist conditions.
Unless you know that excess nail polish use is the underlying condition for yellow toe nails, it is better to meet a doctor and get the condition diagnosed. It becomes even more critical to meet a doctor when the individual experiences symptoms such as pain, bleeding, swelling and changes to nail anatomy alongside the yellow coloration of the nail.
Yellow toenails are treatable as they are mainly due to overuse of nail paints or an underlying fungal infection. If the problem is due to nail polish, discontinuing nail polish use for at least a week will solve the problem. Fungal infections can be treated using antifungal medications, but the treatment duration can prolong up to a year or so.
Although home remedies such as using tea tree oil, applying vinegar or using baking soda has been prescribed, none of them are scientifically proved until now to be successful.
While it is always not possible to prevent yellow toenails from occurring, we can take all possible steps from our end to reduce the risk of these symptoms. Wash your toenails regularly using soap or shower gel, dry them properly after washing, wear clean shoes and socks, leave your shoes exposed to fresh air after using them, use clean nail cutters and avoid swimming in contaminated water to safeguard yourself from yellow toe nails.
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Dietitian & Nutritionist Dr. Nafeesa Imteyaz.