Woman smoker smoking a filter tip

Nicotine in Cigarette Smoke Causes Yellow Nail Stains

Individuals that smoke may discover that their fingernails turn yellow after several months. Cigarette smoke is one of the biggest influencing factors in turning nails yellow. The smoke causes yellow nails in two ways. First, tar and nicotine found in cigarettes stain the fingernails as the smoker holds the cigarette. Not only is the nail itself stained, but the smoke also stains the skin surrounding the nail bed. Second, smoking blocks oxygen to the fingernails. The combination of physical staining and oxygen deprivation results in yellow-hued fingernails.

How to Clean Yellow Stains Off Of Fingernails

The most important step in restoring fingernails to their natural, healthy color is to stop smoking. Second, taking vitamin B12 supplements may help the fingernails to regain some of their natural luster. Third, some home cleaning remedies can successfully remove yellow fingernail stains. Yellow nails can be soaked in pure lemon juice, then lightly buffed. Denture tablets designed to whiten dentures can also safely lighten yellow fingernails. Manicures can also help to remove yellow stains caused by smoking. Finally, fingernail stains are not permanent and will fade as the fingernail grows out.

Additional Fingernail Health Risks Related to Smoking

Yellow fingernails is one of the more harmless nail maladies sometimes encountered by smokers. Smoking raises the risk of nail fungus infections by depriving the fingernail area of proper oxygen and nutrients and thus reducing its natural defense against fungi. A nail fungus eats away at the fingernail, causing it to break, thicken or even fall off. If fingernails become infected by a nail fungus, anti-fungal treatment should be promptly applied before the fungus spreads to other nails.