Green Nails Syndrome( 6 Best Ways to Get Rid of Green Nails )

green nails syndrome


Green nails syndrome is a nail condition that is characterized by the discoloration of the nails as well as the presence of onycholysis. Pseudomonas aeruginosa is the bacteria associated with the condition and can thrive in a moist environment thus most patients have been exposed to water for an extended period (Chiriac et al., 2015). Studies show that the bacteria are unable to withstand dry conditions thus the condition is prevalent among people who spend most of their time in the water.

Pseudomonas aeruginosa which is the chief causative organism is a gram-negative bacillus that can present the disease as a mere infection or transform it into a life-threatening condition.

 The bacteria mainly enters body regions that have experienced trauma, macerated areas, or regions with foreign objects such as earrings or piercings. The green or dark color of the nail when one has the condition is normally because of pyocyanin, an antibiotic pigment produced by bacteria.

The color may range from dark green, blue-grey, to blue-green. An individual may not experience pain but the skin around the affected nail or toe is typically swollen or appears to be red (Chiriac et al., 2015).

Causes of green nail syndrome

The main and only known cause of green nails syndrome is the Pseudomonas aeruginosa bacteria which mainly tends to affect people with onycholysis (separation of the nail bed from nail plate), chronic paronychia as well as individuals that spend most of their time in water such as in sinks, jacuzzis or contact lens solutions (Fadia, 2018).

Risk factors

Two risk factors increase the chances of one getting affected by green nails syndrome and they include abnormal lifting of a nail off the nail bed and living in a damp environment. Onycholysis which describes the condition where the nail separates itself from the nail bed is the first risk factor and it is considered so since it means that the condition leads to the loss of the natural waterproof seal in the nail (Reinecke & Hinshaw, 2020).

Loss of the waterproof seal means that a subungual space is created. The space is responsible for the accumulation of moisture, dust, and Pseudomonas aeruginosa. 

This risk factor is associated with janitors and gardeners. The second risk factor is an individual being around a damp place for a long period. This risk factor is associated with health care personnel, housewives, cooks, and dishwashers (Reinecke & Hinshaw, 2020). Nails that are continuously immersed in water are highly susceptible to attack from Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Wearing tight shoes is also associated with the development of green nails syndrome in the feet as is seen in the case of military recruits and footballers. Individuals with psoriasis and fungal infections in their nails are also more likely to also get green anil syndrome (Reinecke & Hinshaw, 2020). 

Treatment of green nails syndrome

The diagnosis of the condition is normally easy for medical personnel due to the unique appearance of the nail. Numerous treatments are available to treat green nails syndrome and first is the application of topical antibiotics for between one and four months after which an individual is expected to get better. Antibiotics such as polymyxin and bacitracin are applied up to four times a day (Geizhals & Lipner, 2019). To suppress the growth of Pseudomonas aeruginosa, most patients dilute chlorine bleach in four units of water and apply on the infected nails. Acetic acid can also be used similarly.

Oral antibiotics are also prescribed when the condition is getting worse (Geizhals & Lipner, 2019). Removal of the nail is also recommended when other conventional means of treatment fail.

Management and Prevention

Nail therapy may be used as a management and prevention strategy of green nails syndrome where the nail is surgically removed to prevent the risk of further infection or making the condition worse. Secondly, keeping the nails dry by wearing gloves and socks is a sure way of preventing the disease (Geizhals & Lipner, 2019). Avoiding long stays in damp areas may also be a prevention measure for most individuals. Avoiding trauma to nails is also a sure way of preventing green nail syndrome. 

Products available for dealing with green nails syndrome

Eveline 8 in 1 intensive nail conditioner

This cosmetic product is unique as it provides total protection against green nail syndrome through the various actions it triggers once it is applied. The product works by strengthening brittle and damaged nails and improving their care. Secondly, the nail conditioner stimulates the fast growth of the nail plate. The conditioner additionally prevents nails from splitting, cracking, and breaking.

The product also transforms weak nails into strong and active ones. Lastly, the conditioners normally restore the smooth surface of a nail. The product is ideal since it’s simple to use and it works within ten days of application.                                                                                     

Paulinrise nail strengthener

This product is aimed at treating dry, discolored, and rough nails which are some of the symptoms of green nails syndrome. The product containing the Alpha Hydroxy Acid is proven to improve nail conditions by hardening nail plates that are cracked, split, or tend to break easily. The strengthener also restores smoothness and makes the nails appear brighter. The product is ideal since it guarantees safety and can also be used in three ways. First, it can be applied as a topcoat to polish nails, a base coat to reinforce the strength of the nails, and thirdly as a hardening treatment applied twice a week. 

Fungi nail

This is a pharmacist recommended product used in the cure and prevention of fundal conditions, stops itching, and the protection of skin around the nails

Premium nail fungal solution

This product offers solutions to a wide array of toe and fingernails problems such as damaged nails, reduced hydration, and poor growth. The product works by hydrating the nail plate, smoothing damaged layers of nails, shedding completely damaged layers, creating a stronger nail surface, and treats green nails syndrome. For great results, the application should be at least a month.

DermaNail Summers 


This product offers solutions to a variety of cosmetic nail problems that include brittleness and nail splitting which often lead to green nails syndrome. The use of this product will always end in healthy nail repair which leads to one developing stronger nails.

Wearable nail soakers pad holders

This product acts as a nail holder which aids in reducing the space between the nails and the nail bed where Pseudomonas aeruginosa penetrates. The product also prevents the accumulation of moisture in the nails. 


Chiriac, A., Brzezinski, P., Foia, L., & Marincu, I. (2015). Chloronychia: green nail syndrome caused by Pseudomonas aeruginosa in elderly persons. Clinical interventions in aging, 10, 265.

Fadia, R. D. (2018). Chloronychia/Green Nail Syndrome. RGUHS Journal of Medical Sciences, 8(3), 132-134.

Geizhals, S., & Lipner, S. R. (2019). Retrospective case series on risk factors, diagnosis, and treatment of Pseudomonas aeruginosa nail infections. American Journal of Clinical Dermatology, 1-6.

Reinecke, J. K., & Hinshaw, M. A. (2020). Nail health in women. International Journal of Women’s Dermatology, 6(2), 73-79.

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