Why Are My Fingernails Turning Orange? Mystery Solved!

It’s normal to tense up after seeing your fingernails turning orange. But you have to find out the reasons behind this issue. Otherwise, you’ll be too late to treat the fingernails.

So, ask yourself a question – why are my fingernails turning orange? 

For starters, orange fingernails can appear due to fungal infection. Eating too much beta carotene can cause this issue too. Plus this can happen because of applying nail polish without a base coat as well. Lastly, orange fingernails can be an indication of a serious health issue. That’s not all, there could be more.

Now, to be honest, there are some more reasons. And we’ve provided those as well along with the treatment.

Therefore, to help yourself, don’t forget to keep reading! 

Are Your Fingernails Really Turning Orange?

Now, before anything, you should check your nails carefully. Are they actually orange in color or not. 

Because there’s no reason for panicking if they aren’t. So, to identify that-

You need to know what shades of orange your fingernails might get. Firstly, if your nails are tinted orange or slightly orange, you might have a problem. Then bright orange-colored nails are problematic too.

bright orange-colored nails
Source: reddit.com

Next, for a darker tone, there are red-orange fingernails. Lastly, purple and orange nails are a reason to worry about too. 

Now, there’s a catch-

A color-blind person can’t detect if his/her fingernails are turning oranger or not. Let alone which shade of orange they are. In that case, it’s best to take help from a family member or friend.

So, now, if your fingernails aren’t any of these colors, you can relax! Otherwise, you’ll have to know the factors behind the specific orange color of your fingernails. And treat them accordingly. 

What Causes Your Fingernails to Turn Orange? [Natural]

Now, you might have one orange fingernail or more than one. And your natural fingernails can turn orange for different reasons.

So, what are these reasons? 

Well, there are 7 reasons why fingernails can turn orange. To help you out, we tried giving you a heads up before the detailed info-



Different shades of orange stains

Not using a base coat before putting nail polish

Nails thickening, nail bed and nail separating, orange fingernails

Fungal infection

Orange nails along with orange fingers and hands

Consuming too much beta carotene

Orange nail tips, corners, center

Health issues and vitamin


Nails and the skin under them are orange

Peeling oranges

Orange stain on nails and fingers

Fake tanning

Now, let’s go through the detailed info about each reason-

Wearing Bright Nail Polish Without A Good Base Coat

orange fingernails
  Source: naileditnz.com

The first reason why your nails are orange can be related to nail polish. Yup, your nails can be stained by nail polish. You might see discolored nails when you’re wearing the nail polish. Or after removing the nail polish.

But this only takes place-

If you’ve used bright or pigmented nail polish without a good base coat. Now, you might want to know which colors are responsible for this change. 

Well, the nail polish colors can be red, orange, coral, and even purple. Sometimes using cheap gel or vinylux nail polishes with a bad base coat can cause this problem too.

In conclusion, the main problem is not using a good base coat. That’s the reason why the color stains and makes your fingernails orange. 

Furthermore, the shades of orange can vary. For example- you might get bright orange, red-orange, purple and orange nails according to the polish color. 

Related: Guys Paint Their Nails Black

Fungal Infection Can Be A Cause

Now, you might see your nail beds turning orange. Well, this might be because of a nail fungal infection. Yup, if you didn’t know-

There are a few types of fungal nail infections. But in your case, the culprit for this situation is a specific nail fungal infection. Which is known as onychomycosis. 

This infection not only causes the nails to turn orange. But you’ll also see your nails thickening. Plus your nails will separate from your nail beds as well.

So, these are some of the extra symptoms. And they’ll help you identify if the problem is the fungal infection or not. By the way, onychomycosis causes orange toenails too.

Eating Too Much Beta Carotene

Yes, eating foods that contain beta carotene is a good thing. For example, carrots, sweet potatoes, etc. Because it’s not toxic to your health. 

But consuming an excess amount for a long time is never a good thing. Because this will result in carotenemia. Which will cause your skin to turn yellow or yellowish-orange. Therefore, you’ll have both orange hands and nails. 

Maybe You Have Some Health Issues

health issues
Source: mymed.com

Now, if you didn’t know, discoloration of your nails is an indication of a health issue. In most cases, the indications are of severe conditions. 

For example, lack of hemoglobin, liver problem, etc. Sometimes, your nails might turn orange because of diabetes as well. 

To be more specific if it’s related to health issues-

The orange color will take place on the sides, center, and tips of your fingernails.

You Might Be Lacking Vitamins

Lack of specific vitamins can be blamed for the orange fingernails too. 

These specific vitamins can be vitamin D, B12, etc. Plus iron and zinc deficiency can also cause your fingernails to become orange. 

You Have Peeled Oranges Recently

peeling oranges
Source: oola.com

Now, this might sound a bit odd. But we aren’t lying, we swear!

Peeling oranges with your finger is another culprit. How? 

Well, when prepping the orange-

The skin beneath your nails or the nails themselves can absorb the orange juice. And this causes you to have orange fingernails. 

So, if you’re confused about why your fingernails are orange after peeling. This might be the answer. 

Fake Tanning in An Incorrect Way

Fake tanning is quite popular these days. Not applying it properly can cause a messy situation. For example, it may be turning your fingernails orange. 

Now, it’s necessary to apply a clear base coat to your fingernails. Furthermore, you should wear a pair of gloves before spraying the fake tan. 

Not following these will directly lead you to have orange nails after fake tanning. 

Why Are My Acrylic Nails Turning Orange? [What to Do]

After natural nails, let’s focus on fake nails. For example, acrylic nails turning orange. 

Well, the above-mentioned reasons apply for acrylic nails as well. Because it’s mostly the person and not the nail. 

But there’s one different factor behind orange acrylic nails. And that is-

By keeping fingernails in water for a long time. For example, swimming for more than 2 hours. Because of this, the water goes under your acrylic nails. 

This can cause fungus and bacteria to thrive in the moisture. Which results in infection and discoloration (orange). 

To treat the infection, you have to get your acrylic nails off and visit a doctor. 

To prevent this from happening in the future-

Always dry your hands and fingernails after they make contact with water. You can use a hairdryer to dry them quickly and properly. Also, avoid keeping your hands in water for a long period. 

Why Are My Gel Nails Turning Orange? [What to Do]

Gel nails are another type of fake nail. Normally, they’re immune to staining and chipping. 

However, if your gel nails make contact with harsh chemicals, they’ll turn orange. Or sometimes even yellow. These chemicals are cleaning products, hair dye, makeup, and skincare products. 

Furthermore, the chemicals contain dangerous ingredients such as sulfate, parabens, talc, etc. Therefore, they can easily damage your nails and even skin.

The gel on your nails reacts with these chemicals. And this causes the gel nail to chip and turn orange.

Now, to fix the orange stains, you can use two home remedies. For the first one, you’ll need 1 lemon and 1 tablespoon of baking soda. 

So, firstly, squeeze the lemon and get the juice in a bowl. Then add the baking soda and mix them together. 

Next, prepare your nails and dip them into that mixture for at least 5 to 10 minutes. Lastly, rinse and scrub the nails.  

Now, on to the second home remedy- 

For this, get tea tree oil and a bowl of water. Put 2 teaspoons of the oil and stir a little. Then allow your nails to soak in the mixture for 5-10 minutes. Finally, wash your nails with fresh water. 

Now, there’s a chance the orange stains might not go away immediately. So, try the process again till it isn’t there anymore. 

However, if these don’t work you’ll have to get your nails redone. 

How to Treat Orange Nails?

Now, we have talked about the reasons. So, you’re probably waiting to fix the problem. 

Thus, we’ve mentioned the treatment for each problem separately-

Consult a Doctor to Treat Onychomycosis & Other Health Issues

Yes, you can obviously treat this nail fungal infection. And to do that, you have to consult a doctor. 

Follow the medications properly. And your nails will heal gradually. 

Now, for vitamin deficiency and health issues, you have to call a doctor too. This way you can figure out what is the problem or what vitamins you’re lacking. 

Then just follow the medications and stay strong! However, for severe health conditions, the orange nails might stay the same. 

Remove Nail Polish Stain & Fake Tan

Now, if the problem is these two, you can try out some home remedies. The lemon and baking soda method we mentioned before works effectively to remove the orange color. Also, you can apply the tea tree oil one too. 

Other than these two there a few more remedies- 

Baking Soda and Peroxide

Now, for this, you need to get- 

  • 1 tablespoon of hydrogen peroxide
  • 2 and ½ tablespoon of baking soda

Mix the two together to form a paste-like formula. Then cover your nail with it by using cotton swabs. Let it sit for 3 minutes. And wash your nails with fresh water. 

Repeat this treatment every 6-8 weeks. And your fingernails will return to their normally white color.  

Buffing Your Nails

Another way to get rid of the orange stains is by lightly buffing your nails. This will help remove the top layers of your nail polish. 

However, this method might not be appropriate for people who don’t like nail files. Because the sensation and sound might feel similar to them.

Moreover, buffing nails can make them weak. So, it’s better to go with home remedies. 

By the way, you can use lemon juice and baking soda separately on your nails too. 

If the home remedies don’t work, consult a doctor.

Stop Eating Beta Carotene

Firstly, you should stop eating food items containing beta carotene. Cut them out of your diet for at least 2 months. 

This way the orange color will gradually go away. But you try soaking your fingers in warm water for 5 minutes every week to get a quicker result. 

Avoid Peeling Oranges Yourself 

For this problem, you don’t have to do much. Keeping yourself away from peeling oranges will do the work. 

But you can soak your fingers in warm water afterward as well.

Tips That’ll Keep Your Fingernails Healthy & White

Now, you probably want to keep your fingernails healthy and white after the treatment. So, to help you, here are some of our suggestions to keep your fingernails healthy-

  • Firstly, always keep your nails dry and clean. 
  • Don’t bite your nails or remove your cuticles. 
  • Cut your nails straight across. 
  • Don’t apply nail polish regularly. 
  • Remove your nail polish properly. 
  • Always eat healthily and drink enough water. 

Now, these will keep your fingernails healthy. Healthy nails mean white nails. By the way, cut your nails straight across using either nail scissors or nail clippers. To help you out, here are some of our most favorite nail clippers and scissors-

happy healthy smart toenail scissors for seniors

Happy Healthy Smart Toenail Scissors for Seniors

hts 182s5 straight oversized stainless steel nail scissors

HTS 182S5 Straight Oversized Stainless Steel Nail Scissors

So, cut your nails properly and keep them healthy!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Why are nails turning orange during pregnancy? 

Well, it can be due to many reasons. For example, using dark-colored nail polish without a proper base coat is one. Then vitamin deficiency can be another. Lastly, eating an excessive amount of carrots or sweet potatoes causes orange fingernails too.

Why are my fingernails turning yellow?

Yellow nails can appear due to fungal infections. The nails will also turn weak and brittle. They might give off a bad smell as well.

Are orange nails an indication of a health problem?

Yes, discolored nails can be a symptom of a specific health problem. For example, people with diabetes get orange fingernails before identifying the disease. Then this might tell that you have lung problems and hemoglobin deficiency as well.


Now, that’s it for today! We’ve tried covering everything on why are my fingernails turning orange. Hopefully, you have understood what the problem is for you.

By the way, smoking can cause your nails to have yellow and orange stains too. You can treat it by quitting smoking. Also, try the home remedies we have mentioned. 

Anyway, stay safe and look after your fingernails!

Katharyn Riedel

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