Reader Question: Why does wearing nail polish turn my nails yellow?


Hey Jamie,

This is kind of a weird question, but I’ve noticed that sometimes after I take off my nail polish there’s a weird yellow tint on my nail beds. What causes this and how can I make it stop? GROSS.



Hi D,

Been there.  There are actually a few things that can cause yellow nail beds but the two most common causes are:

Color reaction: Dark colors can sometimes cause staining so you should always use a base coat to protect your nails!

Formaldehyde in the polish: Yep, a lot of polishes have this and it’s not good.  This chemical, in particular, can react with the protein in your nails and make them yellow and brittle.

Infection: It’s not super likely, but it IS possible that you might have an infection if you’re nails are off-color. See your doctor if you think this may be the issue.

So, that said, the EASIEST thing to do is to use a base coat and try to use polishes that are formaldehyde-free.  Here are a few products I use and love:



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