Nail Discolorations: Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

A Guide on Nail Discoloration Symptoms, Causes, and Prevention

Nails are an essential asset for your body, yet we give very little thought to them, even if we treat ourselves to regular manicures. After all, nails are just kind of there, so why worry about them at all?

Fingernails and toenails can show signs of serious diseases, infections, or reactions to how you’re eating. Many people might experience nail discolorations, which is your body’s way of hinting that an illness or medical condition is prevalent. If you are concerned about your nails turning different shades, here is what you need to know to help determine the problem.


A healthy nail plate is pink and slightly translucent in color. If it begins to appear white, green, yellow, purple, black, or brown, then it is a sure sign of nail discoloration. Individuals may experience bruises, under-the-nail bleeding, and fungal infections. Nails might begin to crack, peel, or change color and texture. Usually, nail discolorations are not the first sign of illness. For instance, you may exhibit breathing problems from smoking before your nails turn yellow.


There are many different causes of discolored nails. These include:

  • Bacterial infections
  • Infections with common fungi such as trichophyton rubrum found in air, dust, and soil
  • Nicotine from cigarette smoking
  • Chronic lung disease
  • Malnutrition
  • Staining from nail varnish, hair-coloring agents, or cosmetic products
  • Trauma to the nail bed


Specific color changes to the nail bed could also indicate a chronic medical condition such as pale white for diabetes or heart, kidney, lung, or liver conditions. Other rare causes of nail discoloration result from yellow nail syndrome, which is a condition resulting from swelling of tissues due to an over-accumulation of fluid and lung diseases.


Taking preventive measures to reduce the risk of nail discolorations will benefit your health. Such measures include:

  • Washing your nails to maintain cleanliness
  • Keeping your feet cool
  • Avoiding biting your nails
  • Moisturizing your hands and feet frequently, particularly after washing them
  • Wearing shoes that are well-fitting and have plenty of room for air movement
  • Watching out for certain nail products


However, if you have taken these preventive steps and still see your nail discoloration worsen, it will need to be medically investigated by a doctor. And remember, an illness may cause nail changes in some people but not others. Always have regular checkup visits with your doctor to ensure your health is in tip-top shape.

UZURI is a medical-grade facility focused on providing a safe and luxurious hand and foot spa experience. Our nail technicians have undergone extensive training with a podiatrist and dermatologist to become Medical Nail Technicians. Reach out to UZURI to schedule your next hand and foot treatment. Rest assured, your nails will be in safe hands.

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