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Why Are My Toe Nails Orange?

Are you wondering why your toenails have taken on an orange tinge? Have you noticed that your toenails are looking orange, and you want to know, why are my toe nails orange?

If you’d like to know why your toenails have turned orange, and what you can do to make your nails look less orange? Keep on reading to find out some solutions for your orange toenails.

Why Are My Toe Nails Orange?

What Causes Toenail Discoloration?

Toenail discoloration can be caused by a variety of factors, including medical conditions, trauma to the nail, and fungal infections. Here are some of the most common causes of yellow toenails:

  • Fungal infections: Nail fungus is a common cause of toenail discoloration. It can cause the nail to turn yellow, thicken, and become unsightly. Over-the-counter antifungal creams and at-home treatments like tea tree oil can be effective treatments for mild cases of toenail fungus. If your infection is severe, your healthcare provider may prescribe a topical or oral antifungal medication.
  • Psoriasis: Psoriasis is a health condition that can cause nail changes, including nail discoloration. If you have psoriasis, your toenails may appear yellow or have white streaks. Overuse of nail polish can also worsen the condition.
  • Trauma to the nail: Trauma to the nail, such as stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on your foot, can cause discoloration. If you have a subungual hematoma, which is a collection of blood under the nail, your nail may appear red or purple.
  • Yellow nail syndrome: Yellow nail syndrome is a very rare condition that can cause the nails to turn yellow, thicken, and grow more slowly. It is often associated with other health conditions, such as respiratory problems and lymphedema.
  • Stains: Toenails may become discolored due to exposure to certain substances, such as nail polish or orange nail polishes. If you notice a sudden change in the shade of your toenails, it could be a sign of a more serious underlying health condition.

How to Prevent Nail Discoloration?

To prevent nail discoloration, you need to take good care of your nails. Here are some tips to help you keep your nails healthy and prevent discoloration:

  • Keep your nails clean and dry. Moisture can cause fungal infections that can lead to nail discoloration. Dry your nails thoroughly after washing them.
  • Wear shoes and socks that provide good ventilation and support. Tight shoes and socks can cause your feet to sweat and create a moist environment that promotes fungal growth.
  • Trim your nails regularly and properly. Use sharp nail clippers and cut straight across. Avoid cutting too close to the skin or rounding the corners, as this can cause ingrown nails and lead to infections.
  • Avoid sharing nail clippers, files, and other tools. Fungal infections can spread easily through contaminated tools.
  • Use nail polish and nail polish remover sparingly. Frequent use of nail polish and remover can weaken your nails and cause them to become discolored.
  • Eat a healthy diet. A balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals can help keep your nails healthy and prevent discoloration.
  • Avoid smoking. Smoking can cause yellowing of the nails and other health problems.

How to Prevent Nail Discoloration?

Why Are My Toe Nails Orange?

If you have noticed that your toenails have turned orange, it can be a cause of concern. There are several reasons why your toenails may turn orange, ranging from fungal infections to underlying health conditions. 

Fungal Infection

One of the most common causes of orange toenails is a fungal infection. Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, can cause your toenails to become discolored, thickened, and brittle.

The fungus can grow on the nail bed and cause the nail to turn yellow, brown, or orange. If left untreated, the fungus can spread to other nails and even the skin around the nail.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that can cause high blood sugar levels or hyperglycemia. People with diabetes tend to have hyperglycemia all the time, which can lead to various health complications, including toenail discoloration.

Diabetes can cause your toenails to turn yellowish or orangish. If you have diabetes and notice changes in the color of your toenails, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider.

Nutrient Deficiency

A nutrient deficiency, particularly of vitamin B12, can cause your toenails to turn orange. Vitamin B12 is essential for healthy nail growth, and a deficiency can lead to brittle and discolored nails.

Other symptoms of vitamin B12 deficiency include weakness, fatigue, and tingling sensations in the hands and feet. If you suspect that you have a nutrient deficiency, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider.

Other Causes

Other possible causes of orange toenails include wearing nail polish for an extended period, smoking, and exposure to harsh chemicals.

Wearing nail polish for an extended period can cause the nail to become discolored, and smoking can cause the nails to turn yellow.

Exposure to harsh chemicals, such as cleaning agents, can also cause the nails to become discolored.

Why Do Nail Fungal Infections Cause Yellow Nails?

If you have noticed that your toenails have turned yellow, it could be due to a fungal infection. Nail fungal infections are a common cause of yellow nails.

The fungi responsible for this infection thrive in warm and moist environments, making toenails an ideal place for them to grow.

When a nail fungal infection occurs, the fungi invade the nail bed and start to feed on the keratin present in the nail. As the infection progresses, the nail may become thickened, brittle, and discolored.

The discoloration can range from yellow to brown, and in some cases, even black.

The reason why nail fungal infections cause yellow nails is due to the accumulation of keratin debris under the nail. As the fungi feed on the keratin, they produce waste products that accumulate under the nail, causing it to turn yellow.

Plus, the fungi can cause the nail to become thickened, which can further contribute to the yellowing of the nail.

It is important to note that not all cases of yellow nails are due to nail fungal infections. Other causes of yellow nails include smoking, certain medications, and medical conditions such as psoriasis. 

How To Prevent Your Nail Polish Causing Discolored Nails?

How To Prevent Your Nail Polish Causing Discolored Nails?

If you love painting your nails, you may have noticed that certain nail polishes can cause discoloration of your nails. The good news is that there are some simple steps you can take to prevent your nail polish from causing discolored nails.

Firstly, make sure you are using a base coat before applying your nail polish. A base coat acts as a barrier between your nails and the nail polish, preventing the color from seeping into your nails.

A base coat can help your nail polish last longer and prevent chipping.

When choosing a nail polish, opt for high-quality brands that are free from harmful chemicals. Cheap nail polishes may contain harsh ingredients that can cause discoloration of your nails.

Look for nail polishes that are labeled as “3-free” or “5-free”, meaning they are free from harmful chemicals like formaldehyde, toluene, and DBP.

It’s also important to make sure your nails are clean and dry before applying nail polish. Any dirt or moisture on your nails can cause the nail polish to adhere poorly and potentially cause discoloration.

Lastly, do not leave your nail polish on for too long. Over time, nail polish can cause your nails to become discolored if left on for extended periods.

Be sure to remove your nail polish after a week or two and give your nails a break before applying a new coat.

When Should You See A Doctor For The Causes Of Toenail Discoloration?

If you notice any changes in the color or texture of your toenails, it is essential to understand the underlying cause. While some discoloration may be harmless, some may require medical attention. Here are some signs to look out for:

1. Pain and discomfort

If you experience pain or discomfort in your toes or toenails, it is crucial to seek medical attention. The pain may be a sign of an infection, injury, or other underlying health conditions.

2. Changes in nail shape and texture

If your toenails become thicker, brittle, or crumbly, it may be a sign of an underlying condition. Changes in the shape and texture of your toenails may indicate a fungal infection, psoriasis, or other health conditions.

3. Discoloration

If your toenails change color, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition. Orange toenails may be caused by a fungal infection, but it could also be a sign of other health conditions such as liver disease or diabetes.

4. Spread of discoloration

If the discoloration spreads to other toenails, it may be a sign of a fungal infection. Fungal infections are highly contagious and can spread quickly, so it is essential to seek medical attention as soon as possible.

5. Persistent discoloration

If the fingernail discoloration persists for an extended period, it may be a sign of an underlying health condition. It is essential to seek medical attention to identify the underlying cause and receive appropriate treatment.

Is Yellow Nail Syndrome a Reason for Orange Toenails?

Yellow nail syndrome can potentially lead to orange discoloration of the toenails. This health condition is characterized by yellow to orange discoloration, increased nail thickening, and reduced growth speed.

How Could Nail Fungus Lead to Black Toenails?

How Could Nail Fungus Lead to Black Toenails?

A fungal infection in your toenail, apart from turning your toenails yellow to orange, can sometimes cause them to become black.

The black color develops because of buildup underneath the nail or because of damage to the nail itself. The infected nail plate may partially lift and the discolored area underneath could make the nail appear black.

Are There Any Home Remedies for This Nail Discoloration?

There are some home remedies you can try, like soaking your nails in Listerine mouthwash or a 50/50 mixture of vinegar and warm water for 15–20 minutes each day.

These solutions are believed to exhibit antifungal properties; however, their efficacy hasn’t been verified by the Department of Health and Human Services. For persistent discoloration, it’s best to contact your doctor.

Summary

If you have noticed that your toenails are turning orange, it is important to understand the underlying cause.

Toenail discoloration can be caused by a variety of factors, including fungal infections, psoriasis, trauma to the nail, smoking, yellow nail syndrome and staining due to exposure to certain substances.

It is important to take good care of your nails by keeping them clean and dry, wearing shoes and socks that provide good ventilation and support and avoiding sharing tools.

If you have diabetes or suspect you may have a nutrient deficiency, it is essential to consult with your healthcare provider.

To prevent discoloration of the nails due to nail polish use, opt for high-quality brands that are free from harmful chemicals and avoid leaving polish on for too long.