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What causes nail greenies?

What causes nail greenies?

  • Greenies nails also known as chloronychia, are a nail infection caused by the common bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa. The shade of green varies from blue-green to dark green to bluish-grey. "Greenies" is typically limited to 1 or 2 nails and can affect fingernails or toes
  • The nail is not painful; however, the skin surrounding the nail, including the cuticle, may be swollen, tender, or red. 
  • The green discoloration on your nails is caused by the bacteria's waste. The stain will spread on top or under your nails also as the infection progresses.

  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa is exposed during "wet" activities, such as jacuzzis and contact lens solution. 
  • Pseudomonas thrive in conditions that are warm, damp, and nearly with no oxygen.
  • Greenies can be avoided by washing hands and disinfecting manicure equipment.


  • The nail is kept dry to prevent the spread of bacteria.
  • If the discoloration appears to be spreading, you should see a dermatologist. He can easily diagnose Green nails based on their clinical appearance. In case of any doubts, a nail sample can be taken for culture.

Can you put nail polish on a greenie?

  • While the stain will most likely remain on your nail until it grows out, the green nail can be safely painted over. 

Can I get my nails done if I have a greenie?

  • Greenies are infected nails that should not be worked on
  • To prevent the infection from spreading, the coating must be carefully and safely removed. 
  • It must then be properly diagnosed by a medical professional, treated if necessary, and left until the infection has cleared.

How do you get rid of greenie nails?

  • Treatment for green nail syndrome is effective. 
  • Therapy includes:
    • removing the detached portion of the nail
    • keeping the nails dry
    • avoiding trauma to the area
    • topical antibiotics: 
      • bacitracin or polymyxin
      • two to four times per day 
      • one to four months
    • chlorine bleach diluted 1/4 with water
    • Vinegar (acetic acid) has also been reported to be beneficial in this regard
  • If the nail becomes too infected, it may need to be removed.


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