Purple Nail Beds – Main Causes & Treatment

Beautiful hands and beautiful fingers accentuate the beauty naturally. However, discolorations and colorations can be indicative of the underlying issues which are usually not detected by the normal human eye. Fingers and nail beds are a great way to identify the diseases that you might be suffering from in general. It could be related to your respiratory issues, cardiac issues, or even the general neurological disorders.

Nail beds getting a color on them is usually not a good sign. It is applicable to both tor and fingernails. Fingernails have a good deal of keratin which is a protein component which is also present in the hair follicles. Healthy fingers and nail beds which are usually pink in colour display good and sound health. However, change in the colour can be indicative of the fact that there are a few health issues that need medical attention. It could be with or without symptoms which can also determine the nature of illnesses.

When do you get purple fingernails?

Purple fingernails can be because of multiple reasons. If only a single nail is purple, then it is possible that you have had an injury of an impactful nature which caused it to go a blue or in a purplish shade. In case you have been a manicure enthusiast, it is possible that tools might have caused the nails to turn a bluish shade which is equally concerning. Fungal infections are also one of the reasons why the nails tend to get coloured. However, the colour tends to be yellow or brown or black in such cases.

Other than these, there are several causes which can lead to turning the nails a shade of purple. Let’s explore a few causes.

  • Lower oxygen content: when oxygen levels are normalised in the body, it tends to give a red or pink colour to the nails. However, if oxygen content is lower in the blood, it gives a bluish tinge which is pretty evident in the nail beds.
  • Cold Weather: there are cases in colder countries where temperatures tend to fall below the zero degrees. Lower heat and extremes of these can cause the nail beds to turn blue. This is due to constricted blood vessels. However, this can be fixed once you have warmed up in general.
  • Smoking: If you have been smoking on and off, there is a possibility that the oxygen levels might go down. This can cause the nail beds to turn blue. Stopping smoking can be effective in reversing the effects.
  • Anaemia: Iron deficiency can be one of the reasons. This causes oxygen supply to be interrupted as it doesn’t flow through the blood properly. This leads to bluish colouration on the nail beds. Getting a blood work done can help you analyse the condition effectively.
  • Severe Anxiety: anxiety attacks or panic attacks can lead to breathlessness. This can cause the regular circulation to get affected in general. Higher stress situations tend to put your body on higher adrenaline rush which can lead to dropping of oxygen levels. This can cause purple nail beds too.


Other than above obvious causes there are different heart and lung related problems which can cause purple nail beds. Overdosing on alcohol, drugs and pseudo-psychotic drugs have also been known to impact the health of the nails.

How do you treat them?

Temporary causes such as cold or lower oxygen content can be dealt with easily. However, diagnosis is always recommended. You can go to a physician who can prescribe a couple of bloodwork that needs to be taken care of in general. Go for a complete blood count which gives you a clear picture of the total blood cells, haemoglobin, so on and so forth. This is instrumental in guiding the doctor to assist you with proper medications.

If cold weather is the cause, you can keep yourself warm with appropriate clothing such that temperatures do not affect you.

Avoid infections and injuries by staying aware of your surroundings. Do not share nail clippers and nail devices which are usually carriers of allergens and infection causing germs. Steer clear of accidents which tend to cause coloration.

Blood getting accumulated at the fingertips can cause coloration. There might be a temptation to puncture the same and release the whole thing. However, it might lead to other infections which is best when avoided. Nail growth can get painful if you do that. Therefore it is best left alone.

Improving circulation of blood, working out, keeping the weight in check can be effective in keeping those blue nails at bay. Changing your diet to incorporate iron-rich food can help you build that hemoglobin such that the blood circulation is fine and ample oxygen reaches your nails and other body parts. Moving away from a sedentary lifestyle also helps in all aspects.


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