Green Nails Syndrome: Everything About False Nails

At present, who don’t like to set the trend to their name, one of the most potent ways of doing so is by enhancing the beauty through appearance and accessories. One such fashion statement is the use of fake nails. Have you heard about it? If yes, then you might be aware of the green nail syndrome. So, what is it? how does it work? & most importantly, how to prevent it? Let’s deep dive into this topic and figure it out.

What is Green Nails Syndrome?

In simple terms, green nail syndrome is the secretion of a bacteria that infects the nail; you can call it bacterial poop, yuk, isn’t it? It is easy to identify with its blue-green-colored hallmark pigmentation. However, the color can range from light green to dark shades.


The causal organism is called pseudomonas aeruginosa. There is a misconception about this bacteria that says it is responsible for the growth of green fungus under fake nails, but it’s not true. So, if you want to put on acrylic nails or have been using them for some time now, fear not. You can continue using them, but you must follow a few hygienic factors.

How to Prevent Green Nails After False Nails?

If you are using fake nails for a considerable duration, then it is fairly common to encounter green on nails after fake nails are removed. Even the nail technicians get specific guides/training for treating this bacterial infection; it’s that common. However, nail technicians cannot treat this infection under extreme conditions, as it is considered a medical condition. In that scenario, you have to consult a doctor.

If you get infected by pseudomonas aeruginosa, then the infection will show up as a green spot on nail. In some cases, you will also find greenish-black or bluish discoloration. You may also encounter situations where the entire nail and nearby regions might be affected. These bacterial species require a moist environment for their survival and growth; that’s why it is so common in the case of acrylics.


If you are not following the hygienic factors, then it is quite possible that you accidentally trap bacteria under your fake nails; this is what the bacteria needs, favorable conditions to multiply rapidly. Another reason that stands out is the wrong size of false nails; using too small or extra long nails will lead to such conditions. This traps dirt, water, and bacteria, eventually forming green fungus under acrylic nails.

Here are a few of the prevention tips that you need to follow strictly –

  • Use good quality hand sanitizers and hand wash.
  • Make sure to use a correct fit over your nail bed.
  • Make sure that your nails are dry before using them.
  • Avoid long-term water exposure, and keep your hands dry.
  • Remember to disinfect the tools that you use around your nails.
  • Before applying acrylics, make sure to use rubbing alcohol on your nails.
  • Avoid buffing the nail surface; it will create micro-tears and potentially invite infection.
  • Visit trustworthy salons; the nail technician must be well trained and have experience.
  • After applying false nails, ensure not to come in contact with water for at least 2 hours.


Is green nail syndrome contagious?

The simple answer to this question is ‘NO.’ The bacteria Pseudomonas aeruginosa belongs to the family Pseudomonadaceae; it is a coccobacillus, aerobic, and gram-negative bacteria. These pathogens can abundantly be found in nature, on plants, animals, humans, water, or the soil surface.

To date, scientists have failed to understand the disease cycle of Pseudomonas aeruginosa.

Green nail syndrome causes

Pseudomonas aeruginosa is responsible for the green nail syndrome that leads to developing greenish discoloration of nails. These organisms can generally be found on the skin, particularly in the anogenital and axillary regions. However, if you take proper care of your health and maintain hygiene, you are safe from this bacteria. But, one must not forget that these bacteria are known to be opportunistic; once they get a chance, they will be on it.


There are two potential risk factors involved with green nail syndrome. The first one is the abnormal lifting of the nail bed, also called onycholysis. The second risk factor is a damp environment. If you have dry skin, you are one step further from this bacteria. Meanwhile, if you are prone to a damp/moist environment, chances are you will even get this infection. If your nails are repeatedly immersed in water, then they are susceptible. People who have dishwashers, cooks, or even health care professionals are more likely to have green under press on nails. Fungal nail infections & nail psoriasis are the minor risk factors for green nail syndrome.

How to Treat Green Nails?

As per the current scenario, the treatment for green nail syndrome has not been completely effective, and we lack clinical trials. Certain therapy includes removing a detached portion of the nail, avoiding trauma to the area, and keeping the nails dry, for as long as they can. Some other chemical methods of treatment for green under acrylic nails include –

  • Vinegar
  • Diluted 1:4 with water
  • topical aminoglycoside
  • systemic fluoroquinolones
  • topical chlorhexidine solution
  • Topical octenidinedihydrochloride 0.1%
  • Other suppressing agents include chlorine bleach.
  • Under extreme conditions, the nail may need to be removed.
  • 2% sodium hypochlorite solution to be brushed on the nail bed twice daily.
  • In 2016, people with HIV were treated with green nail syndrome using nadifloxacin.
  • Polymyxin B or bacitracin can also effectively cure the problem of being applied four times a day for one to four months.


First and foremost, maintaining good hygiene is the key to staying safe. Once you remove your press-on nails and clean up, the bacteria will no longer have a hospitable environment to grow. This way, you can naturally get rid of the infection.