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Nail Discoloration - What to Do & When to Worry

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.