First of all, let me extend my condolences. If you’re looking at this, you are probably privy to the wonderful thing they call the green nails syndrome (insert a healthy dose of sarcasm). So let’s dive deeper into what it is, what causes it, and how you can prevent it from happening in the future.
Oh, one more thing, this information is not medical advice. Always seek medical help from a professional. A more detailed disclaimer at the bottom of this post. And now let’s get on with it.
What is Green Nails Syndrome?
The green nail syndrome is easy to spot. Its hallmark characteristic is a nail that is covered in different shades of blue-green pigment. The color can range from super light green to almost black. Nasty stuff, I know. But that’s not all. You might be asking yourself “why is my nail green?” The green color is actually a secretion from a bacteria that has infected the nail. Yeah…it’s their poop.
The specific bacteria is called pseudomonas aeruginosa. Because this condition is caused by bacteria, this is a bacterial infection. Contrary to popular belief, this unsightly nail is not the cause of growing some green fungus under acrylic nails. So if you love press-on nails or acrylic, fear not. You can still enjoy artificial nails if you follow a few simple hygiene rules.
How to Prevent Green Nails After False Nails?
It is actually fairly common to find green nails after fake nails are removed. In fact, it is so common, that nail technicians used to have specific training on how to treat this infection. However, these days nail techs cannot do anything to treat it as it is considered a medical condition. You need to consult a doctor for treatment.
Pseudomonas nail infection can show up as small green spots anywhere on the nail plate. Variations include bluish or greenish-black discoloration. Occasionally you might find that the whole nail and even the skin around the nail may be affected.
This bacteria thrives in moist environments. That’s why it’s fairly common with acrylic nail treatments. If you do not ensure to properly clean and prep the nail, you might accidentally trap bacteria under the acrylic nail. This creates just the right environment for this type of bacteria to thrive. Another reason is improper sizing and application of the nail that does not completely seal it. This allows dirt and water, along with the bacteria, to get under the false nail after application.
But you can prevent this infection by following a few simple rules.
To prevent green nails that result from a bacterial infection, make sure to:
- Always wash your hands with soap and water
- Use rubbing alcohol on your nails before applying an acrylic nail
- Disinfect any tools you use in and around your nail
- Ensure a correct fit over your nail bed (it’s a common mistake to apply a nail that is a little too large for your natural nail)
- Dry your natural nails before applying artificial nails
- Do not expose your nails to water for at least two hours after applying an artificial nail
- Avoid buffing the surface of your nails, as this will create micro-tears that could potentially get infected
- Only visit clean and licensed nail salons (although it is important to understand that even the most experienced and careful techs cannot always prevent an infection)
- Keep your hands dry and avoid any long term water exposure.
How to Treat Green Nails?
It’s important to understand that this infection, although unsightly, is not really cause for any concern. Nevertheless, you have several options to treat the nail:
- Make sure to see a doctor and follow their directions before you do anything else.
- Keep your nail dry and clean.
- Use vinegar soaks (1 part white vinegar at 4%-5% concentration to 4 parts water) twice a day for 10 minutes each. Dry after thoroughly.
- As your nail grows, you will be able to trim back the affected part.
What Else Can You Do?
The good news is that once you remove the false nail and clean your natural nail, the bacteria technically do not have a hospitable environment to grow and the infection should go away on its own.
While the stain will likely remain on your nail until you grow it out, you can safely paint over the green nail. You can even apply a new acrylic nail if you like. Though I would certainly avoid it and let your nail heal first.
Disclaimer: I am not a medical doctor or a licensed esthetician. The information presented is not medical advice. It is purely to share my experiences and opinions based on the linked research. As always, check with a doctor for any medical conditions. The author and blog disclaim liability for any damage, mishap, or injury that may occur from engaging in any activities or ideas from this site.