By Gary M. White, MD

Yellow Nail Discoloration This woman's fingernails turned a yellow orange from an unknown contactant.

Many contactants may turn nails a variety of colors.

Nail Discoloration by Color (from Fischer's Contact Dermatitis)

Color Contactant
Orange-Brown Anthralin, Arning's tincture, burnt sugar, chromium salts, chrysarobin, dinitrotoluene, dithranol, formalehyde, glutaraldehyde, Henna, hydroquinone, iodohydroxyquinolene, iron, mepacrine, nicotine, paraquats, pecans, picric acid, potassium permanganate, pyrogallol, resorcin combined with nail lacquer, rivalol, roasted coffee, thermal injury, vioform, and walnuts.
Yellow Amphotericin, dinitro-orthocresol, dinubuton, fluorescein, Hatter's chemicals, gold therapy and hydrofluoric acid
Purple Gentian violet
Dark Blue Oxalic acid or silver and cyanide
Gray Blue Ammoniated mercury or mercuric chloride plus sunshine
Black Photographic developers, red wine and silver nitrite
Red Carbol-fuchsin paint
Green Chlorophyll and copper salts


Avoiding the contactant will allow the nails to grown out normally over 6 (fingernails) to 12 (toenails) months.


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