Fungus 411

Green Nail Syndrome: What Is It And How To Cure It

Nancy Peters
November 3, 2022

Green nail syndrome (GNS) is a nail infection that causes a greenish discoloration of the nails, also known as chloronychia. The shade of green varies from blue-green to dark green to bluish-grey. Because the discoloration is beneath the nail, washing or scrubbing will not remove it. The condition usually affects one or two nails and can affect fingernails or toenails. The nail is usually not painful, but the skin around it, including the cuticle, can become swollen, tender, or red.

What Causes Green Nail Syndrome?

A bacteria called pseudomonas aeruginosa causes Green Nail Syndrome. This bacteria thrives in moist environments like jacuzzis, contact lens solutions, sinks, and bath sponges. When this bacteria grows, it produces a distinctive green pigment. 

Green nail syndrome is often misdiagnosed as toenail or fingernail fungus, especially when the green pigment appearance isn't particularly strong. Green Nail Syndrome, however, is not caused by a fungal infection. Therefore, fungus treatments will be ineffective in the treatment of Green Nail Syndrome. You can, however, have BOTH types of infection at the same time.

Who Is at Risk of Contracting This Disease?

Anyone who has had their nails in contact with water for an extended period is more likely to develop green nail syndrome. Those who work as bartenders, dishwashers, wait staff, or in other jobs requiring a lot of water are often at risk for fingernail infection. Although no good studies have proven the link, those with artificial nails may be at a higher risk of developing this bacterial infection. Onychomycosis is also a risk factor, as the two infections are frequently seen together. Individuals with toenail infections are frequently those who work in hot, humid environments that necessitate the use of footwear. Sweat and maceration produce moisture, which allows bacteria to thrive.

Lastly, green nail syndrome can be exacerbated by nail trauma (biting, chewing, or tearing) and nail deformities, or onycholysis. 

How to Prevent Green Nail Syndrome

Those who are most at risk of contracting Green Nail Syndrome due to a genetic predisposition or lifestyle and workplace choices should take preventative measures, such as:

  • Wearing waterproof gloves or gum boots to help prevent prolonged water exposure of the nails. 
  • avoiding trauma that could destroy the epidermis seal on the nails.
  • keeping your tools, table, and hands clean and disinfected. 
  • Discard old nail files and disinfecting tools. 

Treatment for Green Nail Syndrome

Soaking can help. Use 1-part white vinegar and 4-parts. Soak for 10 minutes, twice daily, then thoroughly dry. However, often the most effective treatment for green nail syndrome includes prescription treatment. While hard to find, the proper treatment for green nail syndrome can be very effective. One of the effective treatments for green nail syndrome is offered by Caratin Rx. Sign up today at to get your nails assessed by a clinician and determine if our Green Nail Treatment is right for you!

Take the assessment