What Causes Toenails to Turn Yellow?

What Causes Toenails to Turn Yellow?


Have you ever seen the toenails of your grandfather
and thought he might be a troll? Those yellow, misshapen and brittle nails
tend to make small children cringe, and in response, he wears knee high black socks with
sandals. Known as Onychomycosis, this unshapely blemish
effects about 10% of the total population. 20% of people over 60, and 50% of people over
70 become victims. So what’s happening here? There can be several causes of your imperfect
nails. The most common is a class of fungi known
as Dermatophytes. Certain types of yeasts and nondermatophytic
molds are also a frequent cause. Don’t think your nails are the only body
part that can be affected by dermatophytes. When infecting the skin, they cause “ringworm”
or “tinea”. They can also take up residence in your hair
and follicles and cause what is known as tinea capitis. Dermatophytes, and the disease processes they
cause, are quite unique in the world of living organisms and parasites. First, no living tissue is invaded by the
fungi. Instead they colonize the dead layers of tissue
that have large amounts of a protein called keratin. Hair, skin, and nails all have large amounts
of keratin within them. Secondly, even though no living tissue is
invaded, they can still illicit an allergic and/or inflammatory response. Thirdly, these types of fungi have evolved
to the point that they’re completely dependent on human or animal infection for the survival
and propagation of their species. To better understand how they cause our nails
to become so deformed, let’s first look at how our nails grow and what they’re made
of. toesOur nails consist of many different parts. The part we can see is known as the nail plate. Below the plate is the nail bed. The white, half-moon shaped part, at the base
of the nail, is called the lunula (also known as the distal matrix). The tissue over the top of the matrix is called
the cuticle. The nail itself is grown primarily from the
matrix (around 90%). The matrix consists of epithelial cells that
grow and divide. Epithelial cells are the most common type
of cells within the body, and are what make up your skin and hair. They primarily contain keratin. Once they begin to reach the end of their
respective life cycles, the cells go through a process called keratinization, also known
as cornification. When the cell dies, it loses its nucleus and
other intracellular organelles. What is left over is hardened keratin. An enzyme known as Transglutaminase begins
to enclose the keratin in an insoluble mixture of different proteins and fats. The end result is the hard nails we use to
pick noses and give back scratches. Keratin is the main food source, of sorts,
for dermatophytes. Once the keratin rich cells are infected by
these fungi, they begin releasing sulfite. Studies have shown that growth and proliferation
of dermatophytes is reliant on sulfite. Keratins have a sulfur-containing amino acid
known as cysteine. Cysteine bonds are what stabilizes keratin
and gives it a rigid structure. These fungi use cysteine to produce sulfite. Once the sulfite is produced, it clings to
cysteine bonds and thus the process is repeated. The result is keratin that no longer has cysteine
and it becomes brittle, misshapen and generally unsightly. There are several things that can increase
your risk of having your nails infected by these little demons of destruction, such as
diminished blood circulation, like in the case of peripheral artery disease; slow growing
nails; injury to the nail; a weakened immune system; a family history of fungal infections;
diabetes; and AIDS. Age and gender are also contributing factors-
men tend to be more susceptible than women. Environmental conditions like walking barefoot
in damp public places, humid or moist work environments, and wearing socks and shoes
that prevent ventilation can also increase your risk. If you become one of the unlucky ones and
your nails propagate these petite parasites, your treatment options depend on several factors. As mentioned before, dermatophytes are the
most common cause, but there are other conditions and fungi (like the yeast candida) that can
result in the same nail deformities. Your doctor will most likely need to determine
the exact nature of your nail’s problem before determining the treatment. Once determined, if your infection is more
localized, then topical anti-fungal agents like benzoic acid, Batrafin, or Nystatin can
be tried. If your problem is more widespread, then oral
medications that target specific types of fungi are usually prescribed. In the end, if your nails begin to yellow
and you find yourself buying socks that match your sandals, hopefully the knowledge that
half of people over 70 have the same problem will ease your mind. If it doesn’t, then go see your doctor and
have your nails tested for the exact type of parasite invading them so you can potentially
eradicate them and the unsightly nails they cause

100 Comments

  • Sara Moon says:

    Yes but not all the time . if you injure you nail matrix in any way I.e stub toe smashed ECT. That can also result in yellow deformed nails and it usually permanent

  • Shazzkid says:

    Yellow nail varnish does that too

  • Sam says:

    My boyfriend has toes like that.

  • loxxxton poxxxton says:

    Wow I actually understood the science props to me yay…..

  • Felix Krull says:

    Nicotine.

  • Newt Daily says:

    Holo Simon YELLOW NAILS DONT MATTER… unless it’s caused by underlining medical issues

  • grahamlive says:

    Better Question. What the hell are toenails for anyway?

  • Brandon Hozey says:

    I have these… shared toenail clippers with my dad who had it. Didn’t realize it until all my toes now have it. Shit is the WORST. Every summer activity = hiding my feet.

  • Adam Sanders says:

    Great video as usual… but I don't think that many visual AIDS were necessary.

  • The RealButcher (Peter from Holland) says:

    But when? When do you rip off a nail????

  • William Victor says:

    Disgusting. (subscribed, for now)

  • czdaniel1 says:

    Great video. I learned so match once this video got me to google candida. I think those damn dirty dermatophytes are causing my hair loss!

  • itsahardlifewhenyourreneverwrong says:

    Simon seems like he's a fungi

  • thedatatreader says:

    So, what about severe physical trauma causing a massive hardening (and as a result yellowing) of the nail? I had 200+ pounds fall directly on my toenail in highschool, and ever since then, my big toe grows significantly thicker and at an angle with minor yellowing.

    I've also read elsewhere that something like that can cause nails to yellow with or without fungus.

  • IceKholdStare says:

    I always wondered how people let that happen to themselves, I say as I recover from having my toenail removed for this very thing. The only thing my doctor said, was, "it's not an issue with hygiene," so thanks for the (timely) information.

  • heystarfish100 says:

    Simon, when are you going to do a video on the turbo encabulator?

  • Lil Strange says:

    Often, after watching a TIFO vid, I wish there had been more pictures shown. But, today I found out, that's not always preferable…. ~throws up in my mouth a little~

  • GenericGeorge says:

    Psoriasis can also causes thick yellow nails, so if you suffer from psoriasis, then you may not be suffering from a fungal infection.

    It's always best to check with your doctor if you're unsure.

  • kirby march barcena says:

    Yuck!

  • Justin O'Brien says:

    Those nails… not exactly cute: ick! ill… 🙁
    Fortunately I'm on a minifast today. Nuffin' to frow-up.

  • Annie T says:

    I work at a senior care facility and I work on their nails all the time and I HATE when they have this fungus. I dont want to go into disgusting detail but it's not fun for either party.

  • maverick0698 says:

    I've had Athletes Foot since I was 5… just turned 20 today. I've had my fungus taken off my nails and the beds destroyed (or so they tried to destroy them… twice) but now the nail and in some places the fungus is back…. so oral medication it is.

  • Fermain Jackson says:

    Lamisil is good for treatment.

  • Jim Fortune says:

    Informative, helpful, educational, maybe. Interesting? No.

  • Kate D says:

    I've had this problem for nearly a decade… Never knew what caused it. Nice to know that it's not that uncommon and is treatable. I'll have to ask my doctor. Thanks!

  • sertaki says:

    I enjoyed this podcast.
    There was no video. None.

  • michael lawton says:

    My dad cuts his toenails with wire cutters… They ricochet off the walls and get stuck in the ceiling

  • yunus kartal says:

    Please change that thumbnail not pun intented

  • MCRideout says:

    Barf

  • Roger Smith says:

    Normally I wouldnt care but for you…. ill watch it

  • bjs301 says:

    Thanks for reminding me how old I'm getting…..Damn.

  • memyselfand ifarmer says:

    Sugar feeds this

  • The Late Night Documentary Channel says:

    I've learned a lot watching this video. I learned by watching Simon flail his arms while talking causes his nipples to poke his shirt and they're about midway up his chest. Simon has dog nipples.

  • Redmoon383 says:

    Candida?!? QUICK GET THE JILLY JUICE!!!

  • Herb Tenderson says:

    Simon manages to talk about doctors sticking their tongues in stomach wounds and yellow toenails in one day it must be Christmas

  • truhhhhhhhokIII3 says:

    So seriously none of you guys watch these vids and the screen goes black halfway through? It only happens on like 2 YouTube channels I watch

  • Harley Trader Jr says:

    ew

  • Tom Carey says:

    The videos are wonderful but these thumbnails are awful

  • SixOfOne says:

    Your supposed to soak em incider.. 👉👌

  • Kriti Nayar says:

    You sound a LOT like Tom Hiddleston

  • Suq Madiq says:

    My toe nails are terrible, it's due to the fact I'm an Aussie, I go bare foot everywhere and also I have no immune system due to an auto immune disease. Now according to my G.P. (family doctor) in most cases the fungal nail treatment that you can buy and apply to the nail is ineffectual, he doesn't recommend them. Also the oral medication you can take, he NEVER prescribes, he said the side effects are too risky. I think there's a chance it can damage the kidneys. Trust someone who's ill, don't do anything that could make you more sick, put up with it. Yes you're toe nails maybe a little yellow but it's better than being on Dialysis etc.

  • Nina Wayne says:

    Or maybe your name is Cristine and you just wear a lot of nail polish

  • 1 For The People says:

    @Today I Found Out: Let us also not forget that men don't take baths as much as women do either. I'm a firm believer that at least once a week everyone should sit in a good hot bathtub and scrub all their nails, feet, & hands. You soak & care for your feet, scrubbing, cleaning & manicuring out the toenail gunge. And when you get out you pat them dry & clip your nails if need be. That's always done straight across never cutting off the corners of your toenails. Yikes! Then that can turn into an ingrown toenail if you dont care for it well. Painful! My whole fam damily has always worked on our feet & cared for them properly. You have to 'cuz your need them the rest of your life! Yes I believe that proper foot care would alleviate many toe problems. Thank you for sharing. Really enjoyed your video.

  • JeffFrmJoisey says:

    I'll be looking for an in-network foot dr now.

  • W. McMaster says:

    didn't enjoy, but it was interesting.

  • George Arizaga says:

    shouldn't smoking be on the list for causes.

  • Jesus Alvarez says:

    Do I have AIDS!!! Omg

  • S Rose says:

    Guarantee treatment for this is the tree oil. 100 percent

  • muggs00 says:

    Use APPLE CIDER VINEGAR!!! Not kidding I had a French fry toenail for as long as I can remember and athletes foot. Read about using it, laughed at the person who wrote it, but figured what have I got to lose. Soaked my feet in it for about half an hour a night for a few weeks and it got rid of both my funky nail and athletes foot. Though the athletes foot has come back a little after a number of years, nothing like it had been, my nail remains normal.

  • Carlton B says:

    What? No one wanted to sponsor this video?

  • RaVeNzRiGHTHaND says:

    No bonus facts?!

  • Leonardo Pozzobon says:

    Effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects effects

  • Name2site says:

    So… its not cause old people's nails get brittle and funky like their bones? All those old folks are filled with fungus? Ah man, those nails just got totally grosser!

  • Patricia Rivas says:

    It was suggested using bleach on the nail and do it daily and it will clear up the problem. Working slowly but working.

  • Nonconsensus Medicine says:

    Sun light, iodine and tea tree oil are all powerful antifungals if you dont have money to visit the doctor. When I was a x-ray tech I saw a lot of construction workers who had shot nails through their feet. They always had the worst fungus problems from their feet being sweaty all day in their work boots.

  • Gruzi says:

    I’ll still suck em

  • Kenny Grisham says:

    Do a video on the origin of "morning constitutional"

  • Sir TJ III says:

    You look suspiciously like Micheal from Vsauce.

  • Bernie Poncik says:

    *This is the answer to "How would Simon describe something really unpleasant."

  • Star Field says:

    So, dermatophytes build cysteine chapels for themselves. 😛 lol.

  • wholeNwon says:

    The long term medical cure rate is probably about 50%. The spores are ubiquitous and reinfection is very common. If oral medication us used, the risk of toxicity can be reduced by giving many anti-fungals only on alternate weeks without significantly reducing "cure" rates. Many physicians are unaware of this.

  • Ron Budd says:

    First thought,…STD related.

  • Evil Spyke says:

    I've lost both big toe nails, twice on one foot. They grew back fine, maybe a little thicker. I cleaned the shit out of the nail bed, it felt so weird. I hope this doesn't happen to me…

  • London Taylor says:

    Enlightening

  • Ray Ray says:

    V-Sauce?

  • Imperial Guard #28 says:

    (Watches this while eating hard boiled eggs)

  • Emmeline marie says:

    my wife has these but I love her feet anyway

  • ö. . , says:

    Stop eating lead, and it will stop turning yellow.

  • Marcos Recio says:

    Brie Larson has those

  • Cordle Fhrichter says:

    So my dad's toes are the cysteine chapel?

  • Travis Walter says:

    Thanks. I have that. It's actually pretty common.

  • Ramjet14 says:

    Unfortunately, I am part of the 10% of the population that has this. I have been trying to get rid of it for the past 3 or so years since it started. Lets hope the stuff I read about works better.

  • intuitiv.me says:

    I was just having lunch when I clicked to watch.. 🙂
    But I managed to enjoy my food and learn something new. Thank you for a very informative video.

  • Garwulf74 says:

    I had toenail fungus in my big toes and used Vicks Vapo Rub on the nails and surrounds. cleared it up in a few days.

  • bikeanddogtrips says:

    i only have one toenail left. that's the benefit of running a bit too much. lol

  • Chad Stratton says:

    Not sure I enjoyed it, but it was informative.

  • Flat FlatSpin says:

    🙂
    Ohoooo!

  • Trent Buckingham says:

    Digger is the little monster that does it. Remember him?

  • Amy says:

    I've been reading some books on Native uses of local plants and it turns out that cypress greens, when extracted with alcohol, form a natural anti fungal. My mom is using it on her yellowing toenails right now.

  • redlandz1977 says:

    Wow. Nailed it!

  • No Name says:

    I've had this since primary school. Caused me a lot of social problems in high scjool

  • Martin GODINEZ says:

    I'm sorry but doctos don't give a fuck about toe nails in California at least. They'll send you to a foot specialist where your insurance doesn't cover it.

  • aristideau says:

    I got an infected toenail while holidaying in Europe while staying is some cheap hostels. Tried various cremes and lotions but nothing worked. Had a light bulb moment when I heard of a new laser treatment from the US but not yet available in Australia. I figured a magnifying glass should work just as well so I soaked my feet in warm water (to allow the heat to penetrate) and focused the magnifying glass on my nail until it hurt then zoomed in and out 5x on each section (I could see steam coming off my nail). Did this 2x and it took around 3-4 months for the diseased nail to grow out.

  • Today I Found Out says:

    Speaking of yellow things, ever wonder why vitamins make urine turn bright yellow? Well, wonder no more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFebjPEgZ7g -Daven

  • Gwent Champ says:

    What is that smelly stuff that lives under the toenails? It smells awful !!

  • Alicia Ochoa says:

    My husband has been employing "Tαkαnu Yuzo" (Google it) for pretty much 20 weeks, and he`s putting it on his toenail twice every day. The nail looks great now. I also utilized it to cure the breaking, scratchy skin between my toes.

  • Toenail Fungus Treatment says:

    Thanks for the info. Prevention is the best cure. If you see the smallest sign of toenail fungus, fix it quick. I've experienced the quickest results with natural tea tree oil, because it just takes seconds to apply and I can go on with my day. Easy to be consistent with it

  • Mgtow says:

    Chicks have nasty feet when they remove that polish. I had a good friend that lost half his face to a fungal infection. Do not suck female toes!!!!

  • Shawna Burt says:

    It's not the walking barefoot, it's the putting damp feet into socks and shoes, thus providing the perfect environment for fungal growth — dark, warm, damp.

  • Mike T says:

    Fk I might have AIDS

  • Yost Fulton says:

    Nail fungus needs enough time to mend even with a solution. My partner has been making use of this fungal treatment “Tαkαnu Yuzo” (Google it) two times a day for months. The process is actually effective. With the plan, he was able to heal his big toes and 2 pinkie but he`s yet to remove the fungus on the nail’s edge. .

  • Marley Ryan says:

    My fiancé has suffered from foot difficulties so the Six years we have been together, and also everything else he utilized simply kept everything at bay. The good news is, this fungus infection remedy named “Tαkαnu Yuzo” (Google it) has been an exception. My buddies and loved ones should really try this also. .

  • Marley Ryan says:

    Remedies for nail fungus infection don`t work over night. It`s been several weeks since my partner utilized this fungal treatment solution “Tαkαnu Yuzo” (Google it) two times a day for his nail. The treatment is very effective. Within couple of weeks, his two pinkie and big toes are healed; having said that, persistent fungus infection on the nail’s edge is really hard to eliminate.. .

  • Diana Cooper says:

    It`s been decade since my sister got her big toe nails contaminated with fungus infection. She did not wish to drink any medication for this. I find the potency of this fungus treatment method “Yοmkοzα Yuzo” (Google it) satisfactory! For the first time in numerous years I could wear sandals and I can display my feet!. .

  • chris suberg says:

    My mom lately began using this fungus infection treatment methods “Yοmkοzα Yuzo” (Google it) for his deformed and also blackish toe nails. Her nails have become much better a couple weeks later. The blackish areas on here toe nails are beginning to disappear. .

  • 420BOY EGO69 says:

    What percent is it if your 15?

  • Miho Yama says:

    My mother recently started using this fungus treatment solution CureForNailFungus78.blogspot.com

    for his disfigured and blackish toe nails. After a just-a few weeks she has noticed a great change. Her toes nails are now growing with a different clear color.?

  • Jeannie Hill says:

    My hubby has been utilizing “Yοmkοzα Yuzo” (Google it) for pretty much 20 weeks, and also he`s applying it on his toenail one or two times each day. The nail looks fantastic now. I began employing it between my toes for breaking, tickly skin. . .

  • angela shuela says:

    Nail fungus requires enough time to treat even with a solution. It`s been several weeks as my husband utilized this fungal treatment method “Yοmkοzα Yuzo” (Google it) 2 times a day for his nail. He found the therapy definitely effective. With the plan, he was able to heal his big toes and two pinkie but he`s yet to eliminate the fungus on the nail’s edge. .

  • chris suberg says:

    I`ve been together with my fiancé for 6 years and that is also the time where he suffered from foot issues. He tried just about everything to solve his condition but got no results. This fungus infection treatment solution “Yοmkοzα Yuzo” (Google it) could be the only thing he has utilized stop it. My friends and also family members must use this as well. .

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