How to Get Rid of Yellow Toenails

an example of how to get rid of Yellow Toenails

Yellow toenails are commonly caused by fungus and dark nail polishes. Even getting older can gradually turn your nails yellow. However, yellow toenails can also signify that something more serious is going on in your body. 

Knowing what causes yellow toenails is crucial to treating the problem successfully. 

Why Are Your Toenails Yellow?

The most common causes of yellow toenails include:

  • Nail polish
  • Nicotine
  • Fungal infections
  • Yellow Nail Syndrome
  • Underlying conditions such as tuberculosis, diabetes, jaundice, psoriasis, thyroid conditions, and sinusitis

Yellow Toenails Treatment

Treating yellow toenails caused by nail polish will differ significantly from treating severe underlying conditions like diabetes. Now that you have narrowed down the cause, what can you treat at home, and how can a professional help you? 

Nail Polish 

If you suspect your nail polish is the culprit of your yellow toenails, make sure you have removed all polish with acetone cleaner. You may need to buff the nail lightly to work out the coloring. 

Soaking your nails in a mixture of water and hydrogen peroxide can add to the whitening process.

Use a clear base coat between your nail and your colored nail polish to prevent further discoloration. 


Using methods similar to those used to remove nail polish stains, you can whiten your nails. Nicotine can block oxygen from reaching your nails and leave them yellow.

The best solution is to quit smoking and support new nail growth with vitamin B12. The stains will grow out along with the nail. 


Most of the time, you will need to go to your doctor for prescription anti-fungal medication that contains a ciclopirox 8 percent solution. You then apply the solution to your nails the same way you would polish. 

Your doctor may also suggest using a topical corticosteroid with vitamin D3 or applying vitamin E or zinc to the nails. 

Sometimes home remedies used as a yellow toenails treatment can also encourage healing. Tea tree oil, for example, is antibacterial and has been proven to stop common strains of toenail fungus from growing. 

Oregano oil is also beneficial as it has antimicrobial properties. Both oils should be used with a carrier oil before being applied to the nail. 

Fungus thrives in acidic pH levels, so a baking soda and water foot soak create high alkaline levels, preventing the fungus from growing and spreading. 

Yellow Nail Syndrome

Yellow nail syndrome is caused by underlying factors such as poor circulation and lymph drainage. It is also a common symptom of some autoimmune diseases and cancers. 

Therefore, the treatment depends on the specific cause and may include topical or oil vitamin E, corticosteroids, oral zinc, antifungal medication, antibiotics, diuretics, or tube thoracostomy. 

Other Underlying Conditions

Our toenails can say a lot about our health. If you have been diagnosed with tuberculosis, diabetes, jaundice, psoriasis, thyroid conditions, or sinusitis, you may experience yellow toenails. While you can always take steps to support nail health, proper diagnosis and treatment of these more serious conditions are most important.

Bottom Line

Getting rid of yellow toenails is entirely dependent on understanding their cause. The quickest way to treat them is to see a foot doctor. 

The Canyon Oaks Podiatry professionals in Fresno can help you get to the bottom of what’s causing your yellow toenails and recommend the most effective treatments. 

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