Most of use will experience yellowing of toenails at some point in our lives. Finger nails and toe nails reflect our over all health status, no wonder doctors will peer at our finger nails during a check up. Think of it as a health recorder – our nails will show if we have had some sort of disease in the past few months, have weak immune systems, or a deficiency in vitamins and minerals. Yellow toe nails say the same thing – when you see a yellow toenail, it’s the body’s way of telling you that something’s up.
What Are Toenails Made Of?
Toenails, as well as fingernails, are composed of keratin, the same protein which makes our hair look the way it is. If hair is a string of dead keratin cells, toenails and fingernails are made of beds or planes of dead keratin. A healthy toenail is clear from botches, splits and stains. They are neither brittle nor cracking. Toenails grow slower than fingernails, and may grow even more slowly as we age. Remember though, that brittle, cracked or yellow toe nails are not signs of aging.
What Causes Yellow Toe Nails?
Yellow toenails can be caused mainly by three things – an infection, a chemical factor, or a physical factor.
Chemical factors may include nail polishes or any chemical agent applied to the toenail. When nailpolish is removed, they leave behind a pigment, a yellowish or reddish tinge on the toenail. This can easily be prevented by applying a base coat on the toenail before applying dark colored nailpolish. Or simply let the toenail grow out.
Physical factors include stubbing your toe on a furniture, or having something quite heavy drop on top of it. Usually blood will clot under the toenail, making it look black and swollen. Other times it may make it look bruised and the result is a yellow toenail.
An infection of the toenail which makes it yellow is caused by a condition known as onychomycosis, wherein fungi has taken residency on the nailbed. This condition typically affects toenails more than fingernails since toenails are more subjected to dark, moist environments such as shoes or sneakers. These environments make perfect living conditions for fungus to grow and thrive.
What Are the Treatment For Yellow Toenails Caused By Fungi?
If you find yourself thinking of what to do for yellow toenails, you have to first figure out if it was indeed caused by fungi. Other symptoms you have to watch out for are itching and toenails with foul odor. Misshapen, distorted, brittle and yellow toenails which extend all the way to the lunula (or the white, crescent shape area at the base of the toenail) are signs that the fungi is at its advanced stage and may be difficult to respond to treatment.
Topical medication is an effective yellow toenail treatment. These creams are applied directly on the toenails, as well as the surrounding areas. Mycocide NS, Tineacide, Formula 3, and Fungoid Tincture are just some of the over-the-counter creams which you may find useful in battling these fungal infections. You can look for fluconazole and itraconazole on the creams’ labels if you are unsure if the ointment you bought will be useful in treating yellow toenails caused by fungi.
Another yellow toenails treatment involves the use of oral medication. Though this can be effective it may also result in the imbalance of your body’s natural, helpful bacteria. It may be able to treat the fungi on your toenail but may cause ailments in other parts of the body, such as yeast infection in women.
How To Get Rid Of Yellow Toenails The Natural Way
It is always a good idea to resort to natural remedies for yellow toenails. These cures for yellow toenails are reliable, effective and cheap. The first thing you should do is to clip the yellowed toenails as far back as you can, then clean the area with antibacterial soap and water. Scrape the underside of the nail clean and try to remove as much yellow stuff as possible. Then file the yellowed toenail to make it thin and smooth. At this point, you can try a number of home remedies for yellow toenails you can soak your feet into, such as vinegar, peroxide, or diluted antifungal cream. Toenails yellow and discolored will eventually grow out, and pink, healthy nails will start growing.
A number of yellow toenails home remedies involve the soaking of feet in mouthwashes. Just remember to purchase clear colored ones as green colored mouthwash can discolor your toenails even further. More yellow toenails home remedies also involve the use of diluted bleach or chlorine but one must practice caution before resorting to such chemicals.