When something is wrong with your health, one visible clue is nail discoloration. Healthy nails have a pinkish hue and are evenly colored. Abnormal coloring varies depending on the cause, which may be a problem affecting the nails or a condition somewhere else in the body. Here are some examples of what can lead to nail discoloration:
Nails can become yellowed due to lymphedema (a buildup of lymphatic fluid in tissues), lung disease or psoriasis.
What is known as “green nail syndrome” is often caused by a type of fungal infection called pseudomonas.
Nails may become stained brown from nicotine use, nail polish or even chemotherapy.
Bruising due to injury can turn part of a nail purple. Red or purple streaks can also result from a splinter hemorrhage (a little bit of bleeding that occurs from under the nail).
Nails can turn blue as a result of taking minocycline (antibiotics) and from several other oral medications.
A severe pseudomonas infection or bruising are common causes, but melanoma is also a possibility. A black nail should be seen by a dermatologist.
White nails can be hereditary or a sign of low albumin (protein deficiency). White streaks may develop from trauma to the nail. Nails can also fade and turn white from vitiligo, a skin condition caused by a loss of pigmentation.
Information provided by the Canadian Dermatology Association.