Have you ever noticed white spots on your nails and wondered what they are? If so, you are not alone. Many people have experienced these white marks at some point in their lives.
They are usually harmless and disappear as the nails grow out. However, sometimes they can indicate a more serious problem, such as a fungal infection or an underlying health condition.
In this blog post, we will explain what white spots on nails are, what causes them, how to treat them, and how to prevent them from happening again.
We will also answer some frequently asked questions about white spots on nails and provide some tips for keeping your nails healthy and beautiful.
What Are White Spots on Nails?
White spots on nails are also known as leukonychia. They are areas of opaque white color that appear on the nail plate or under the nail.
They can vary in size, shape, number, and location. They can affect one or more nails, and they can appear on the fingernails or toenails.
There are different types of leukonychia, depending on the cause and appearance of the white spots. They include:
#1 Leukonychia punctate
Leukonychia punctate is the most common type of white spots on nails. It is characterized by small white dots that are usually caused by minor injuries to the nail matrix, the part of the nail that produces new cells.
These dots tend to move along the nail as it grows and eventually disappear.
#2 Leukonychia striata
This type of white spots on nails consists of horizontal white lines that run parallel to the nail bed. They are often caused by repeated trauma or pressure to the nail matrix, such as from biting, picking, or manicuring the nails.
They can also be caused by allergic reactions to nail products or chemicals.
#3 Leukonychia totalis
This is a rare type of white spots on nails that affects the entire nail plate. It is usually a sign of a serious medical condition, such as liver disease, kidney disease, or malnutrition.
It can also be inherited or congenital.
What Causes White Spots on Nails?
There are many possible causes of white spots on nails. Some of them are minor and temporary, while others are more serious and require medical attention.
Here are some of the most common causes of white spots on nails:
This is the most common cause of white spots on nails. Any trauma or damage to the nail matrix can disrupt the normal production of keratin, the protein that makes up the nail plate.
This can result in air bubbles or cracks between the layers of keratin, which appear as white spots.
Some examples of injuries that can cause white spots on nails are biting, picking, jamming, cutting, or hitting the nails or fingertips.
#2 Fungal infection
This is another common cause of white spots on nails, especially on toenails. A fungal infection can occur when a type of fungus called dermatophyte invades the nail plate or the nail bed.
The fungus can feed on the keratin and cause discoloration, thickening, brittleness, and crumbling of the nail.
The fungus can also produce white patches or streaks on the nail surface or under the nail.
Some people may develop an allergic reaction to certain nail products or chemicals that they use on their nails.
These include nail polish, nail polish remover, acrylic or gel nails, glue, or artificial nails.
The allergy can cause inflammation and irritation of the nail matrix or the nail bed, which can lead to white spots on nails.
In some cases, white spots on nails can be a symptom of an underlying health condition that affects the production or metabolism of keratin.
Some examples of these conditions are diabetes, liver disease, kidney disease, thyroid disease, anemia, zinc deficiency, arsenic poisoning, or chemotherapy treatment.
These conditions can cause leukonychia totalis or leukonychia striata.
Some people may inherit a tendency to develop white spots on nails from their parents.
This is usually due to a genetic mutation that affects the formation or structure of keratin.
How to Treat White Spots on Nails?
The treatment for white spots on nails depends on the cause and severity of the condition.
In most cases, no specific treatment is needed for white spots on nails. They will usually disappear as the nail grows out and replaces the affected area.
However, if the white spots on nails are caused by a fungal infection or an underlying health condition, it is important to seek medical advice and treatment.
A doctor may prescribe antifungal medication for a fungal infection or appropriate medication for other health conditions.
Some home remedies that may help with the white spots on nails are:
#1 Applying tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic and antifungal agent that can help fight fungal infections and reduce inflammation.
You can apply a few drops of tea tree oil to the affected nails twice a day, or mix it with olive oil or coconut oil for a moisturizing effect.
#2 Soaking in apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is another natural remedy that can help balance the pH level of the nails and prevent fungal growth.
You can soak your nails in a solution of apple cider vinegar and water for 15 to 20 minutes a day, or apply it directly to the nails with a cotton ball.
#3 Eating a balanced diet
A balanced diet that includes foods rich in protein, iron, zinc, calcium, and vitamin B can help improve the health and appearance of your nails.
These nutrients are essential for the production and maintenance of keratin and can prevent deficiencies that can cause white spots on nails.
#4 Avoiding nail trauma
To prevent white spots on nails caused by injury, you should avoid biting, picking, or cutting your nails too short.
You should also wear gloves when doing household chores or gardening, and use gentle nail tools and products.
If you have a habit of biting or picking your nails, you may want to try using bitter-tasting nail polish or a stress ball to distract yourself.
#5 Keeping your nails clean and dry
To prevent white spots on nails caused by fungal infection, you should keep your nails clean and dry.
You should wash your hands and feet regularly with soap and water, and dry them thoroughly.
You should also avoid sharing nail tools or products with others, and wear breathable shoes and socks.
How to Prevent White Spots on Nails?
The best way to prevent white spots on nails is to address the underlying cause and follow the above-mentioned tips for treating them.
However, some additional steps that you can take to prevent white spots on nails are:
#1 Moisturizing your nails
Moisturizing your nails can help prevent them from becoming dry, brittle, or cracked.
You can use natural oil, such as olive oil or coconut oil, or a commercial nail cream or lotion.
You should apply the moisturizer to your nails and cuticles at least once a day, especially after washing your hands or feet.
#2 Trimming your nails regularly
Trimming your nails regularly can help prevent them from becoming too long or uneven, which can cause them to break or snag.
You should use a clean and sharp nail clipper or scissors, and cut your nails straight across.
You should also file your nails gently in one direction to smooth out any rough edges.
#3 Protecting your nails from sun damage
Sun damage can cause discoloration, thinning, or splitting of your nails. You should protect your nails from sun exposure by wearing sunscreen or nail polish with SPF.
You should also avoid using tanning beds or lamps, which can emit harmful UV rays.
#4 Visiting a doctor if needed
If you notice any changes in the color, shape, texture, or thickness of your nails that do not go away after a few weeks, you should visit a doctor for diagnosis and treatment.
Are White Spots on Nails a Sign of Calcium Deficiency?
No, white spots on nails are not a sign of calcium deficiency.
Calcium deficiency can cause other symptoms such as muscle cramps, numbness, tingling, or bone loss.
Are White Spots on Nails Contagious?
No, white spots on nails are not contagious.
They are not caused by bacteria or viruses that can spread from person to person.
However, if the white spots on nails are caused by a fungal infection, the fungus can be transmitted through direct contact with infected nails or objects.
Therefore, you should avoid sharing nail tools or products with others if you have a fungal infection.
Can I paint Over White Spots on the Nails?
Yes, you can paint over white spots on nails if they are not caused by a fungal infection or an underlying health condition.
Painting over white spots on nails can help conceal them and make them less noticeable.
However, you should use a base coat before applying nail polish to protect your nails from staining or damage.
You should also remove the nail polish regularly and let your nails breathe.
White Spots on Nails After Removing Nail Polish
The most likely cause of white spots on nails after removing nail polish is keratin granulations.
These are areas of dry and damaged nail cells that are left behind when the nail polish is removed. Nail polish can contain harsh chemicals, such as acetone, that can dry out and dehydrate the nails, leading to this appearance.
Keratin granulations are different from leukonychia, which are white spots caused by injury, infection, or illness. Keratin granulations can be removed by gently buffing or filing the nails with a fine or extra fine ceramic bit. You can also use a nail brightener or a clear coat to restore the shine and smoothness of your nails.
To prevent keratin granulations from happening again, you should avoid wearing nail polish for too long or using nail polish remover that contains acetone.
You should also moisturize your nails regularly with natural oil or a commercial nail cream.
If the white spots on your nails do not go away after removing the nail polish or applying moisturizer, you may have a fungal infection or another type of leukonychia. In that case, you should consult a doctor or a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment.
White Spots on Nails During Pregnancy
White spots on nails during pregnancy can be a sign of a nutritional deficiency or an underlying health condition.
Some of the possible causes of white spots on nails during pregnancy are:
White Spots on Kid’s Nails
White spots on nails are not always a sign of a serious medical condition, but they can sometimes indicate a deficiency of zinc, calcium, iron, or other vitamins and minerals.
They can also be caused by fungal infections, allergic reactions, kidney diseases, cardiac problems, or poisoning by lead or arsenic.
If your child has white spots on their nails, you may want to check their diet and make sure they are getting enough water and nutrients. You may also want to avoid using harsh nail products or polish removers that can damage the nails.
Most white spots will disappear on their own as the nail grows out, which can take up to nine months.
However, if the white spots are persistent, recurrent, or accompanied by other symptoms such as pain, swelling, redness, or changes in nail shape or texture, you should consult a pediatrician to rule out any underlying health issues.
A pediatrician can examine your child’s nails and perform tests to determine the cause and treatment of the white spots.
White spots on nails are common and usually harmless. They are often caused by minor injuries to the nail matrix that disrupt the normal production of keratin.
They usually disappear as the nail grows out and replaces the affected area.
However, sometimes white spots on nails can be a sign of a fungal infection or an underlying health condition that affects the production or metabolism of keratin.
In these cases, it is important to seek medical advice and treatment to prevent complications and improve nail health.
The Bottom Line
We hope this blog post has helped you understand what white spots on nails are, what causes them, how to treat them, and how to prevent them.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. We would love to hear from you!
Thank you for reading!
Frequently Asked Questions
White spots on nails are usually caused by minor trauma to the nail beds, such as when typing on a keyboard or tapping on a hard surface. The trauma causes a separation of the nail plate from its bed, which leads to white spots. Other causes of white spots on nails can include a zinc deficiency, fungal infection, or eczema.
To get rid of white spots on your nails, you should start by identifying the cause of the white spots. Common causes of white spots on nails include fungal infections, zinc deficiency, and calcium deficiency. If the cause is a fungal infection, antifungal medications can be prescribed by a doctor. If the cause is zinc or calcium deficiency, you should take supplements of these minerals
Yes, white spots on nails can go away. If the spots are due to an injury or trauma to the nail, they may fade on their own over time. If the spots are a sign of a medical condition, such as a fungal infection, then they may require treatment. A doctor can provide advice on how to best treat the condition, if necessary.
There are several natural remedies that can help get rid of white spots on your nails. One of the most popular remedies is to rub a crushed garlic clove or two on your nails for 10 minutes each day. Another remedy is to rub lemon juice on your nails. You can also apply a paste of turmeric, lemon juice, and olive oil over your nails for 20-30 minutes before washing them off.
Yes, white spots on nails are normal and typically harmless. They are usually caused by minor trauma to the nail, such as hitting it against something, or by a mineral deficiency.
Yes, dehydration can cause white spots on nails. When the body is dehydrated, the nails become brittle and can develop white spots.