The Dreaded Yellow Nails

Recently, I’ve come across several blog posts where authors mention that yellowing is caused by staining from nail polishThe yellowing may very well be caused by wearing nail polish, but it’s not specifically staining. I even found one blog that shall not be named that said nail polish is good for your nails because it increases the moisture of your nails. Let’s be real – most nail polish has a lot of sketchy ingredients that are in no way good for you. Even if your polish is 3 free, it still contains some potentially icky ingredients. (Put it this way – would you eat your nail polish?) That said, it’s obviously enjoyable to paint one’s own nails, even if only to increase your perception of beauty to yourself.

But it isn’t necessarily an activity that increases your health. In fact, the increased moisture is probably the culprit of the nail yellowing, and that certainly is indicative of a slight imbalance. Wearing nail polish increases the moisture of nail beds while depriving your nails of oxygen. What does this mean? Well, it means that it throws off the natural balance of your nails, which can lead to fungal and/or bacterial growth. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle: wear nail polish, discover yellowing upon removing said nail polish, cover yellowing with nail polish, yellowing worsens. To avoid yellowing in the first place, it’s so important to give your nails a breather in between manicures, as hard as that may be with all the delightful colors in your stash. You can still groom and shape your nails, but avoid using any sort of treatments or polishes during this week off to avoid develop yellowing in the first place.

If you’ve already developed yellowing, remedies include soaking your finger nails in baking soda and peroxide. While this may lessen yellowing, it’s still important to allow your nails to breathe afterward.

I noticed some slight yellowing on my thumb and index fingers recently so decided to allow my nails to breathe. I also noticed that just after sanitizing food prep equipment in a 1:10 blech to water solution, the yellowing was gone. I’m not sure if the bleach whitened the stain, killed the bacteria, or both, but it did work. It did, however, dry out my hands pretty badly, so I do not recommend taking that approach. It was just a happy accident of reaching into the sink without gloves.

Do you have any easy or useful remedies for nail yellowing? What do you do with your nails during your week off of manicures?


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