What is Yellow Nail Syndrome?

While Yellow Nail Syndrome (YNS) is a very rare condition, being aware of what the condition is and knowing what to look out for when a customer comes into your salon, is important. As nail techs, you see clients with yellow nails all the time. They may wear dark nail polish a lot or they may be smokers. But, Yellow Nail Syndrome isn’t that simple.

Learn the signs of YNS because in order to protect you, your salon and your customer, you may want to consider if giving your client with YNS a manicure is the best idea.

What is Yellow Nail Syndrome?

Yellow Nail Syndrome is more than just a client with yellow nails. It is caused by swelling of parts of the body due to lymphatic drainage problems because of blockage or damage to the lymphatic system. It is not known exactly what causes this condition but doctors have various different ideas. It could also be caused by respiratory conditions.

Signs of the condition would be:

  • Swelling in the arms, hands and legs.
  • Sharp pain or difficulty when breathing.

YNS can be cleared up if the preexisting medical condition is treated first. This condition mostly is found in older adults. The reason for the yellowing nails, is not known. It has been suggested that genetics plays a role in YNS. The nails are usually visibly curved.

What Should You Do If You Suspect Your Client Has YNS?

  • If you believe your client may have YNS, suggest they see a doctor. We aren’t suggesting you diagnose them but if you do notice the condition is more severe than just having yellowing nails from smoking, let them know your concerns and suggest they visit their doctor.
  • People who have YNS will probably be self-conscious of their condition and may want a manicure to cover up their nails. This is fine to do. Although, avoid using extensions or other artificial nail treatments as their nails are already weak.
  • Do not provide any cuticle treatment as many people with Yellow Nail Syndrome do not even have a cuticle present.
  • Be sure whatever tools you use are completely sanitized when providing a manicure or pedicure to someone with Yellow Nail Syndrome. Because of their weak, thick nails and lack of cuticle, they are more prone to infections.
  • Be gentle when providing manicures or pedicures to your client’s with YNS.

The Nail Superstore carries a variety of treatments for yellow nails such as nail whitening pastes and non-yellowing base and topcoats for clients with yellowing nails due to dark polish use or smoking but this won’t help a client with Yellow Nail Syndrome. But since this condition is so rare, you probably won’t have to worry about it but it is always better to be aware. Client’s will always appreciate your interest and concerns regarding their health!