Our toenails are naturally a white or cream color, though they can change for many reasons. If an individual regularly uses nail polish, their nails may become a little more yellow due to staining. Other causes of nail color changes include trauma, infection, and nutritional deficiencies. Multiple things can make a toenail turn black, and while some of these conditions resolve themselves, others may require treatment.
If an individual's toenail doesn't seem to be returning to its normal color within a few days, they should talk to a doctor to rule out potentially serious issues. Treatment for a black toenail depends on the underlying cause. If unsure about what the underlying cause is, patients should talk to a doctor before trying to treat the condition themselves.
Antifungal Ointments and Creams
If a black toenail is caused by a fungal infection, antifungal ointments and creams are often enough to fight it. This is especially true if individuals caught the infection early, though they may need a doctor's help with treatment if the infection has lasted a long time or progressed beyond their toenail. Fungal infections can occur around the hair, nails, or skin.
The most common fungal infection is athlete's foot, which can lead to a black toenail or other foot issues. Topical treatments like creams and ointments can help relieve the uncomfortable symptoms of an infection like burning, itching, and stinging. In most cases, these medications should be used for between two and four weeks. If the infection is more severe, though, longer usage might be required.