You’ve probably noticed white spots on your nails and wondered what they mean. Don’t worry; you’re not alone.
White spots on fingernails are called “striate or transverse leukonychia” and are caused by several factors. That can include trauma or injury to the nail beds, fungal infections, nail psoriasis, and other skin conditions. It could also be systemic diseases like diabetes or certain medications like aspirin or vitamin B12 shots.
They can interrupt your nail’s natural beauty and make it look dull, so it’s essential to know how to solve them. But don’t worry! There are many ways to eliminate those pesky white spots on your nails!
Healthy nails are smooth and consistent
Healthy nails are smooth and look uniform, without white spots. They’re also smooth, not rough or flaky; they don’t crack easily or split at the sides (known as “splitting”). Healthy nails are strong and flexible. They’re not brittle nails or weak.
What are the causes of these strange white spots on my nails?
The white color on your nails could be because of a fungal infection
Nail abnormalities are a common problem for many people. They can be caused by several factors, including aging, genetics, and lifestyle choices. But these are most commonly caused by fungal infections. Especially toenail fungus (white superficial onychomycosis) can be very uncomfortable and challenging to treat. They will be thickening and white.
It is possible to get rid of the condition with the help of medications, such as antifungals or anti-inflammatory steroids. A doctor will prescribe medicine based on the type of fungal infection and any other underlying medical conditions you have (such as diabetes).
A daily dose of antifungal medication may need to be taken for several months. Yet, if your symptoms improve after a few weeks, it’s likely that they won’t come back again unless you stop taking medicine altogether (which can lead to reinfection).
Injury to the nail can cause white spots
Did you ever strike your boyfriend or husband that you missed and injured yourself instead? Just kidding! Though, have you hurt your fingers or toenails lately?
The most common cause is an injury to the nail that damages the blood vessels inside it. These blood vessels may bleed into the nail plate, which causes the surrounding area to be white color. The spots are most typically found at the tips of your nails, but they can also appear anywhere else on them.
Nail psoriasis can attack the nail matrix and may be involved in the appearance of white lines on your nails. These are called leukonychia striata (“white nails”) and are caused by inflammation or injury to the matrix.
I keep telling my customers one thing. It’s not just the acrylics; the nail technician is also damaging.
If they’re rough with their electric nail drill during gel manicures or push too much with the cuticle pusher, they can damage your nail plate and the cuticle area. Using harsh chemicals during acrylic application can hurt and cause white spots on your nails and even lead to bacterial infections.
Nail pitting is a common condition in which the surface of your nail is pitted, or depressions appear on your nails. It can lead to a more serious health issue if left untreated. Trauma can affect this—often from hitting them pretty hands or toenails of yours with something. It’s also possible to develop it if you have eczema. The pits may look like minor dents in a square or circle shape.
Topical medications such as creams and ointments contain steroidal compounds like hydrocortisone (e.g., Elocon). If you’re dealing with fungal infections like tinea unguium (aka “athlete’s foot”), you might need oral antifungal medications like Griseofulvin.
Picky habits can hurt your nails. For example, if you pick at the edges with your finger, you could wind up damaging them. Or maybe you got a burn or cut on one of your nails that caused some mild scarring.
Something as simple as nail clippings can be the culprit. If you cut too close to the nail bed and it bleeds, it can leave a mark on the nail matrix that will turn into a white spot.
Injuries or wear and tear can cause white marks on the nails. They can be a sign of other health problems if they show up. If you notice any unusual changes, consult a doctor right away!
Nail-biting can cause white spots
These dots can signal nail-biting, which may cause your nails to grow back more slowly and be weaker than usual. It can lead to breaks and tears. Those not ready to stop biting their nails may want to wear gloves or use products that help strengthen the nails and make them more resistant.
If you can’t help yourself, try using a biting guard. Keep your hands as clean as possible when you aren’t biting them. Avoid long periods when your hands are damp because this will increase the likelihood of developing infections.
White spots can be a sign of low calcium levels and zinc deficiency
A lack of moisture causes these spots to appear on the skin. If you see this problem on both hands or feet, it may indicate that your body has an underlying nutritional problem rather than a sign of a fungus or infection. It may show you have mineral deficiencies, like not getting enough zinc and vitamin D and a calcium deficiency.
Your nails should look great when you have a healthy diet and lifestyle. But sometimes, they can show signs of more than appearance problems. For example, abnormal calcium, iron, and zinc levels indicate a nutritional imbalance.
If the white lines are because of a mineral deficiency, taking supplements will help correct this problem. It’s also essential to eat foods that contain vitamins and minerals that contribute to healthy nail growth.
Systemic diseases or medications can cause white spots on fingernails
Some medicines can cause defects in nails. It could mean you suffer from cardiac, kidney, or renal failure. Or it could be a sign of an uncommon disease altogether.
Some people are born with white nails. Others inherit the condition from a parent. It’s called “true leukonychia.” And it’s not the same as an injury to your fingernails.
Suppose you’re taking any cure for diabetes, psoriasis, or arthritis. If you notice your nails are turning white, talk to your certified cosmetic dermatologist or doctor about changing the dose or medication.
Punctate leukonychia (or partial leukonychia) occurs when you go through intense chemotherapy.
If you have diabetes, white nails may occur because of nerve damage. It is called neuropathy and often happens in people with long-term high blood glucose levels (hyperglycemia). There’s no cure for the problem. It doesn’t mean you need to give up on having healthy-looking nails! You just need to learn some nail care techniques.
An underlying medical condition may be responsible for your nails’ white spots. Blood pressure medications or even certain cosmetics can be the cause. If you have diabetes or poor blood circulation, you are more likely to get these spots on your nails than someone without one of these conditions.
Heavy metal poisoning and drug usage
The heavy metals that handle this condition include arsenic, cadmium, mercury, lead, and nickel. Arsenic poisoning can have serious, life-threatening consequences. You may experience severe diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, headaches, and weakness.
Using certain drugs, such as amphetamines or methamphetamines, can also cause these white lines on your nails.
When you have heavy metal poisoning or drug usage, the body absorbs these substances into your bloodstream through your liver and kidneys. As it does so, it will deposit them in other parts of your body, including your nails. White nail syndrome is a harmless condition that causes white marks on your nails and interrupts their normal function, discoloration, or opaque (white).
What treatment do you adopt to eliminate those unsightly white spots on your nails?
Have you ever looked at your nails and noticed a white spot? You’re not alone!
There are ways to deal with them.
- Nails’ white spots may be signs of an allergic reaction to nail polishes or keratin granulations. They’re caused by a buildup of keratin debris under the nail plate and can be treated with oral antifungal medication.
- Traditional nail lacquer has more toxic chemicals. Use nail polishes that don’t contain harmful ingredients.
- Ensure your nail technicians apply a base coat to protect your nail plate from staining.
- Avoid the pain of lousy gel manicures by requesting a gentle nail technician.
- It’s crucial to avoid peeling your polish off on your own as much as possible because it causes keratin granulations—which are just white marks that you don’t want on your nails!
- Take off your polish often so it won’t dry out your nail plate and reduce the chances of developing white spots.
- Wear gloves when using nail polish remover.
- Let your nails breathe by taking breaks between your acrylic application and leaving clear nail polish to protect your natural nails.
- Eat foods that contain vitamins and nutrients (like kale!) will help your nail grows faster and healthier—and that means fewer white nails!
- Let your nails grow! The white dots will sooner or later move up towards the tip of your nails. You can cut that part of the nails off if you don’t like how it looks anymore!
See a doctor for an accurate diagnosis if you see white spots
Last but not least, it is best to consult a board-certified cosmetic dermatologist or doctor if you are concerned about the white spots on your nails. Then you can decide if these white dots are a sign of a fungal infection or another type of disease through a blood test.
If you have noticed that you have white bands but do not know what they mean, seek a professional. Some general guidelines can help you determine what’s happening. While it’s often just a mineral deficiency, it could be a symptom of more significant health issues.
It’s time to give those nails some love, hon.
Do it for yourself, your friends, family, and co-workers—because you’re worth it. You deserve the best, and you should ensure that you give your nails the nourishment they need to grow strong and healthy.
It’s not as hard as you think. Just take care of them! Or call me baby.