Yellow Toenails: Causes, Treatment, and Prevention


Last updated on May 15th, 2023 at 05:22 pm

Yellow toenails can be unsightly and may cause embarrassment. However, they are not uncommon and can be treated. In this blog post, we will discuss the causes of yellow toenails, home remedies, and medical treatments for this condition. We will also provide tips on how to prevent yellow toenails from occurring in the future.

Yellow toenails can be caused by a number of different factors, including fungal infections, bacterial infections, diabetes, and nail polish. Below, we will discuss each of these causes in more detail.

Fungal infections: Fungal infections are one of the most common causes of yellow toenails. This type of infection is caused by a fungus that grows in and under the nail. The nail may become thick and discolored, and it may also be brittle and crumbly.

Bacterial infections: Bacterial infections can also cause yellow toenails. These infections can occur when bacteria enter the nail bed through a small cut or break in the skin. The nail may become thick and discolored, and it may also be painful and swollen.


Diabetes: People with diabetes are more likely to develop yellow toenails. This is because high blood sugar levels can damage the blood vessels in the feet and toes, which can lead to poor circulation and a weakened immune system. This can make it more difficult for the body to fight off infections.

Nail polish: Wearing nail polish for extended periods of time can cause the nails to turn yellow. This is because the pigments in the nail polish can stain the nail bed.

Home remedies for yellow toenails:

  • Soak your feet in warm water and epsom salt for 20-30 minutes each day.
  • Apply tea tree oil to the affected nail to help fight fungal infections.
  • Apply Vicks VapoRub to the affected nail and cover with a bandage overnight to help kill bacteria.
  • Apply a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide to the affected nail to help whiten it.
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Medical treatments for yellow toenails:

  • Over-the-counter antifungal medications can be used to treat fungal infections.
  • Prescription medications, such as oral antifungal drugs, may be necessary for severe fungal infections.
  • In some cases, a doctor may need to remove the affected nail to treat a severe infection.
  • Antibiotics may be necessary to treat bacterial infections.
  • If diabetes is the cause of yellow toenails, it is important to maintain good blood sugar control and to see a doctor regularly.

Preventing yellow toenails:

  • Keep your feet clean and dry, especially if you are prone to sweating.
  • Wear shoes that fit properly and are made from breathable materials.
  • Avoid walking barefoot in public areas, such as locker rooms and showers.
  • Do not share nail clippers or other personal items with others.
  • Avoid wearing nail polish for extended periods of time.

In conclusion, yellow toenails can be caused by a number of different factors and can be treated with home remedies and medical treatments. It is important to maintain good foot hygiene and to see a doctor if the condition persists or worsens. With proper care and treatment, you can have healthy, yellow-free toenails.


What causes yellow toenails?

Answer: Yellow toenails are usually caused by a fungal infection, injury, poor hygiene, or an underlying medical condition such as diabetes.

Can yellow toenails be treated with home remedies?

Answer: Yes, some home remedies such as tea tree oil, apple cider vinegar, and Vicks VapoRub can be effective in treating yellow toenails.

What is the best treatment for yellow toenails?

Answer: The best treatment for yellow toenails depends on the underlying cause. Antifungal medications, topical treatments, and laser therapy are some common treatments.

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Can yellow toenails be a sign of diabetes?

Answer: Yes, yellow toenails can be a sign of diabetes. High blood sugar levels can cause damage to the blood vessels, leading to discoloration and other nail abnormalities.

Can nail polish cause yellow toenails?

Answer: Yes, nail polish can cause yellow toenails. The chemicals in some nail polishes can react with the nail, causing discoloration.

Can yellow toenails be a sign of cancer?

Answer: No, yellow toenails are not usually a sign of cancer. However, it is always important to get any changes in your nails or skin checked by a doctor.

How long does it take to treat yellow toenails?

Answer: The time it takes to treat yellow toenails depends on the severity of the infection or underlying condition. Treatment can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months.

How can I prevent yellow toenails?

Answer: You can prevent yellow toenails by maintaining good foot hygiene, wearing clean socks and shoes, avoiding going barefoot in public areas, and treating any foot infections promptly.

Can yellow toenails spread to other nails?

Answer: Yes, yellow toenails can spread to other nails and even to other people. It is important to treat any nail infections promptly to prevent them from spreading.

Are there any complications associated with yellow toenails?

Answer: Yes, untreated yellow toenails can lead to complications such as cellulitis, a bacterial skin infection, and permanent nail damage. It is important to seek treatment if you have yellow toenails.