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Nail Discoloration - What to Do & When to Worry

Feb 22, 2017
Doctor consults with patient

Causes of Nail Discoloration

If you’ve noticed that your fingernails aren’t looking quite the way they used to, don’t panic yet. There are a few fairly harmless reasons why nails can change color:

  • using dark nail polish can leave nails stained close to the color of the polish or may leave them an orange-yellow shade;
  • smoking can turn nails a brownish color; or
  • reactions to certain medications could give nails a blue-ish tinge.
Hand with fingers curled to show healthy nails

You Should Visit a Doctor when:

  • you notice unexplained changes in the color of your nail;
  • your nails appear to be abnormally thick;
  • you have a nail that appears to have separated from the nail bed;
  • you can't link your nail discoloration to nail polish, smoking; or
  • if you nail discoloration is linked to other symptoms.