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Why are your nails changing color?

Yellowing fingernails? Black lines on your fingernails? Find the answers to your questions about changing nail color!


Like our hair and skin, the appearance and health of our nails can indicate how well your body is functioning on the inside. However, rest assured that poor nail quality usually doesn’t point to anything majorly serious in terms of illness.

In order to see improvement in your nail health, it typically requires small and simple lifestyle changes and investment in good products. 

So what does a healthy nail look like? A healthy finger or toenail is considered to be smooth, with no discoloration. Yes, your nails can change color!

Think of them as your in-built mood ring (who used to love those in the noughties?). If your digits aren’t naturally smooth and neutrally colored, that probably means something is afoot.

Below you’ll find the discoloration symptoms you need to look out for and how to help combat any nasty looking nails, stat.

Nail Color: White Spots

If you have scattered white spots on your nails, this usually signals that you’re lacking in zinc. Your daily recommended dose of zinc is 11mg for males, 8mg for females, so make sure you’re getting enough zinc into your body via supplement or diet.

Foods that are high in zinc include eggs, whole grains, nuts, seeds, shellfish, and legumes.

Other possible causes of white spots on the nail can be nail injury, an allergic reaction, or a fungal infection.

Nail Color: Black Lines

You may hear others refer to black lines on the nails as “splinter hemorrhages”. Black lines (which can also appear as brown or dark red) do look like splinters hence their alternative name.

The most likely reason here is that your nail has experienced trauma. Perhaps you caught it in a door or a drawer, or it suddenly came into contact with a hard surface.

If this is the case, the resulting line will be blood vessel inflammation under the nail but should disappear as your nail grows. 

Nail Color: No Half Moons

When we talk about your nail’s half moons, we mean the little white curved area at the base of your nail. If you don’t have these, there’s nothing to worry about – they might just be hidden under your skin.

If you used to have them, but noticed they’ve disappeared, this could be a sign of anemia, depression or malnutrition, so make sure to explore other symptoms elsewhere in your body that you may be experiencing to rule these out.

If your half moons are turning (or have turned) red and you also experience dizziness, anxiety, weight changes, lightheadedness, or unusual cravings, make sure to check in with the doctor as they might want to take a look at your heart.

If they turn a pale blue colour, this could be a symptom of diabetes so pay a visit to the doctor if this occurs.

Nail Color: Yellowing

Unfortunately, this type of coloring of the nail is relatively common. This usually means your nail is infected, or a product your using is dying the nail (perhaps a particularly strong polish). A good dose of Vitamin E can help here, so indulge in some nuts, seeds, green leafy vegetables, fruit juice, or fortified breakfast cereals.

Smoking usually has a harsh effect on nails, including yellowing. Nicotine and tar found in cigarettes can stain the nail bed as well as the nail itself. In addition, smoking blocks oxygen from getting to the fingernails, which contributes to the yellow hue that can develop. The fix here? Quit those cigarettes!

Nails Changing Color? How to optimize your Nail Health


When we’re deficient in minerals and vitamins, our nails and hair try to tell us with symptoms like the above. Check-in with your diet and make sure you’re getting a good variety of whole foods.


If you have dietary restrictions and struggle to get your needed nourishment from food, look to supplements as they will help your body stay on top of the nutrients it requires to thrive.

Capsule style supplements are the best as they’re much easier for the body to break down and use. Your body actually struggles with large compressed tablets, and if it’s not managing to process the tablet properly then you’re missing out on the vitamins and minerals pressed inside.


Start using a serum to treat the nails directly. Cel’s 100% cruelty-free and hypoallergenic Nail Formula is perfect for rejuvenating the nails from the outside in.

Enhanced with Gardenia and Prunus Mume Extract, these organic flower extracts have a calming, repairing effect on the nail bed, and promote the formation of collagen which increases nail growth. Prunus Mume also boasts impressive anti-aging and antibacterial properties, healing any fungal infections and protecting the nail against further damage.

Ingredients also include Bisabolol which is extracted from the Chrysanthemum flower. This ingredient has anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial effects that help protect and heal the nail from any infection. It’s scientifically formulated to repair and recuperate the nail from any damage.

Just use the specialized applicator to spread the Nail Formula evenly onto either fingernails or toenails and massage lightly for a few seconds until absorbed.

Final thoughts on why your nails are changing color...

In order to get your nail health and aesthetic back on track, it doesn’t have to be hard work or expensive. Incorporating small acts of self-care toward your digits every day can make your fingertips look and feel fabulous again.

Concerned about the changing texture of your nails? Read up on why your nails are changing texture here


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Sarah Milton

A passionate content writer, with a specific interest in the science behind hair care. Having created content for several years, I’ve grown my knowledge exponentially in the science behind hair growth, quality and texture, and what ingredients our tresses need to thrive. When not in the office, I’m walking my dog along the beach or invested in a brilliant television drama.