How to get rid of yellow nails

Written by caryn kelly
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Long polished nails are important to your beauty regimen, but when nails turn yellow they can be embarrassing and make you want to hide your hands. Not only do yellow nails look hideous, but they're unhealthy too. Yellow nails are caused by dark nail polish, smoking or a nail fungus, and you must do something to bring back their healthy shine. Many home remedies are available to get rid of yellow nails, so get ready to show off those pretty hands again.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Nail polish remover
  • Base coat
  • Cigarette filter
  • Do-it-yourself manicure kit
  • Do-it-yourself pedicure kit
  • Lime
  • Sugar
  • Lemon
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Q-tip
  • Denture tablet
  • Baking soda
  • Water
  • Toothpaste
  • Moisturising cream

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  1. 1

    Take dark nail polish off with quality nail polish remover, and let your nails breathe for a few days. Carefully buff your nails to bring that healthy natural shine back. If you must apply nail polish, use a base coat and a lighter colour, and remove old nail polish before applying a new coat.

  2. 2

    Give up smoking. Not only is nicotine from cigarettes unhealthy for you, but it causes your nails to become stained and yellowed. If you can't quit smoking, buy a commercial filter to attach to your cigarette to keep your fingers from touching it directly.

  3. 3

    Treat your nails to regular manicures and pedicures at a salon to remove dead layers. If you can't afford the time or the cost of a professional salon treatment, buy a do-it-yourself kit.

  4. 4

    Mix lime juice and sugar together to make a scrub, and rub it on your yellow nails. You can also soak yellow nails in lemon and water for about 15 minutes, or apply 3 per cent hydrogen peroxide over and under your nails with a Q-tip.

  5. 5

    Dissolve a denture tablet in water, and soak yellow nails in this solution for a few minutes. You can also make a paste with baking soda and water or use toothpaste with a whitener, and apply it to yellow nails with a toothbrush to help remove yellow stains.

  6. 6

    Rinse hands or feet in water and apply moisturising cream after treating yellow nails with any one of the above home remedies to keep them soft and healthy-looking.

Tips and warnings

  • Use a more expensive nail polish remover instead of a cheap brand. Cheap brands may have more acetone in them and damage nails more.
  • Lime and sugar scrub is the cheapest and easiest remedy.
  • Lemon juice contains acid that eliminates yellow stains.
  • Some home remedies may take several attempts to get rid of yellow nails, so repeat as necessary and be patient.
  • Visit a podiatrist if you can't get rid of yellow nails using home remedies.
  • Commercial nail fungus treatments aren't very effective.

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