Toenail Discoloration: Types, Causes, Remedies & Prevention

Toenail Fungus

Toenail Discoloration Types, Causes, Remedies & Prevention

Are your nails getting discolored or turning to black, yellow or white color? You might not be taking it seriously but it’s the matter to get concerned about. As toenail discoloration is sign of many serious health issues.  If you too also noticing your nail sudden color changes then this blog is specifically for you.

So, just go down to this post and get answers for all your queries regarding different types of toenail discoloration and remedies to cure it soon.

What Does It Mean When Your Toenails Are Discolored?

Nail discoloration is not a problem that can be ignored because if it left untreated, it gets spread to other nails and make everyday activities painful and difficult. Well it’s a starting sign of “onychomycosis” also known as toenail fungus. Here are the most common sign and symptoms to identify the toenail fungus.

  • Notice unexplained changes in nail colors.
  • Nails starts appearing thicker than normal.
  • Areas around the nails are painful and tender.
  • Swelling of the skin surrounding the nail.
  • Nails appear separated from the nail bed.

If it’s a case of fungus issue then it’s better to cure it in its early stages. If the discoloration is sign of something more serious then early detection is very much important.

What Are The Different Types Of Toenail Discoloration?

Types Of Toenail Discoloration

There are such species of fungi that affects nails very badly, but the most common of all is called Trichophyton rubrum. This type of nail fungus has the tendency to  infect the skin and thus it is known as dermatophyte.

  • Pseudomonas is one such type of bacteria that infects the nail bed and turns it to greenish color.
  • Red or black nails may result from the attack of hematoma (blood clotting) under the nail because of the trauma (including ingrown toenails).
  • A chronic medical condition also imparts great changes in the discoloration of nails. So a diabetic or liver, kidney, heart, or lung problem patient also faces nail discoloration issue.
  • Yellow toenail discoloration is associated with lymphedemae swelling of the tissues because of retention of fluid or lungs diseases.
  • Nails sometime also appears lightened to a whitish-yellow color if it gets separated from the nail bed. This is termed as onycholysis.

What Are The Causes Behind Nail Discoloration?

Nail discoloration can be caused by variety of conditions, like reactions to bacterial infection (green-black), medications (blue discoloration), melanoma (black or brown discoloration), and fungal infection (yellow).


Medication also cause nail discoloration; this include, chemotherapy drugs, such as bleomycin; antibiotics, such as  silver, from occupational absorption or supplements;  minocycline; arsenic poisoning and the drug AZT for treatment of human immunodeficiency virus. This turns the nails into bluish-black color, white bands, brown tints and gray coloration.


Sometime injury also causes discoloration. This leads to grow white spot on your nail. Sometime white spot may grow without any injury in that case you need to look for medical examination.

Nail Fungus

Fungal infection causes toenail to get discolored. In such cases nail get turned to darker color from dirt and debris that is trapped under the nail. Other symptoms of nail fungus infection includes foul smell, thickened nail, crumbled nail or a dull toenail etc.

Also read:

Toenail Fungus Infection – Its Causes, Symptoms, Treatments, Preventions & More

How To Clean Discolored Toenails Naturally?

After knowing about what makes your toenail to get discolored, here are the few very effective ways to clean down your discolored toenail.

Baking Soda:


Baking soda works as a natural abrasive and whitening agent. This helps in making your nails brighter and soaks up any stains that could be on the surface.

How to use:

 Make a paste of 3 tbsp of baking soda and 1 tbsp of hydrogen peroxide. With the help of a nail brush just apply the solution on the affected nail. Leave it over there for 5 minutes after then rinse it out and dry your nail using towels.

Mix 1tbsp of baking soda, 1 tbsp of olive oil, 1 tbsp of lemon juice to make a thick paste. Rub this mixture on your nail using a soft tooth brush. Leave for 5 minutes and then wash it off with some warm water.

Lemon juice:

Bleach your nails to give them a complete clean look. For this you just need to apply lemon juice directly over the affected nail or fill a small bowl with lemon and dip your fingers in it. Using the brush just scrub on and underneath your nails gently.

Alternatively, you can also make use of lemon essential oil. Pour some lemon essential oil in a shallow bowl filled with water and soak your toenail in it for few minutes. After then scrub your nail with a soft toothbrush. Repeat this process daily for 1 week to whiten and brighten your nails.

Tea Tree Oil

tea tree oil

Your nails are discoloring to yellow due to some kind of fungus-related infection; tea tree oil is best remedy to try. Tea tree oil is natural fungicide with antiseptic as well as antimicrobial properties, which helps in fighting off the infection and restoring off the natural color of your nails.

How to use:

Apply pure tea tree oil on your nail bed using a cotton ball. Leave it there for few minutes and then rinse it off with lukewarm water.

 Alternatively, mix equal quantity of tea tree oil and olive oil. Apply the mixture on the affected nail twice daily for at least 1 months.

Orange peel:

Orange peel

Citrus fruits are high in vitamin ‘c’ which is good for nails health.  Likewise the high amount of vitamin c present in orange peel will remove off the yellow stains from your nails and restoring back your shiny healthy beautiful nails.

How to use:

Rub your nail with fresh orange peel at least 2-3 times a day. Within a week you will notice the effective result.

Mi9x 2tbsp of dried orange peel powder with some water and make a thick consistency. Apply this mixture on the affected area and wash them with lukewarm water.

How To Prevent Toenail Discoloration

Having discolored toenail is not only embarrassing but can leads to painful and serious health issues. So before it get turned to serious issue try to prevent it soon. Here are some selective and most effective prevent tips to avoid toenail discoloration.

  • Cut your nails to the length of your toe:

Long toenail get easily leads to fungus growth as it easily collects dust, debris and bacteria. As this develops under your nail so it creates nail discoloration. So to avoid such trim your nail to the length of your toe as it won’t allow the dirt and bacteria to get collected under your nail.

  • Never wear another person’s shoes:

Don’t borrow someone else shoes as it leads to carry fungal infection or other bacteria growing in their shoes on your foot. Also avoid use dirty or long time unused shoe with washing it off.  Also try to keep your shoes regularly in sunlight for killing of bacteria.

  • Wear shoes that fit properly:

Doesn’t matter you are an athlete or office worker; ill fitting shoes cause problems for anyone. Don’t wear ill fitting shoes otherwise it will leads to other foot problems like arch pain, plantar fasciitis etc.

  • Pay attention to your feet:

One of the primary reasons behind discoloration of nail is because most of the sufferer won’t notice the early sign and symptoms. Over the time discoloration of nail becomes more noticeable. So, try to look at and examine your feet because the sooner you will be able to see a change, the sooner you can try effective treatments.

Wrap up:

Well the best way to treat up your discolored nail is by determining why they have changed colors in the first place. If you are sure that it’s not a matter of nay health problem then just try out the natural remedies listed above for treating nail discoloration.