What Are White Spots on Nails and How to Get Rid of Them?


What Are White Spots on Nails and How to Get Rid of Them?

White spots on nails, medically known as leukonychia, are a common occurrence and can be caused by various factors. While they are usually harmless, understanding their causes and treatments can help in maintaining healthy nails. This article will explore the potential causes of white spots on nails and provide practical tips for prevention and treatment.


Understanding White Spots on Nails

White spots on nails can appear as small dots or larger patches. They can affect a single nail or multiple nails and may vary in number and size. These spots are often classified into three types:

  1. Punctate Leukonychia: Small white dots.
  2. Longitudinal Leukonychia: White streaks running the length of the nail.
  3. Total Leukonychia: The entire nail turns white.


Common Causes of White Spots on Nails

1. Trauma

One of the most common causes of white spots on nails is trauma. This can occur from:

  • Physical Injury: Bumping or hitting the nail can cause damage to the nail bed, leading to white spots.
  • Manicures: Aggressive nail care, such as excessive filing or cuticle trimming, can also cause trauma.


2. Nutritional Deficiencies

Deficiencies in certain nutrients can lead to white spots on nails. Key nutrients include:

  • Zinc: Essential for cell growth and repair.
  • Calcium: Important for nail strength.
  • Vitamin B6: Plays a role in protein metabolism, crucial for nail health.


3. Allergic Reactions

Allergic reactions to nail products, such as polish, hardeners, or removers, can result in white spots. Ingredients like formaldehyde and toluene are common culprits.


4. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can affect the nails, causing discoloration, including white spots. These infections are more common in toenails but can also affect fingernails.


5. Systemic Illnesses

Certain systemic illnesses can manifest symptoms in the nails. Conditions such as eczema, psoriasis, and some kidney or liver diseases can lead to white spots.


How to Get Rid of White Spots on Nails

1. Wait for Natural Growth

In many cases, white spots caused by trauma will grow out naturally as the nail grows. This process can take several months.


2. Improve Nutrition

Ensuring a balanced diet rich in essential nutrients can help prevent and reduce white spots. Focus on foods high in:

  • Zinc: Meat, shellfish, legumes, seeds, and nuts.
  • Calcium: Dairy products, leafy greens, almonds, and fortified foods.
  • Vitamin B6: Fish, poultry, potatoes, and non-citrus fruits.


3. Gentle Nail Care

Avoid aggressive manicures and opt for gentle nail care practices. Use a soft nail file and avoid cutting cuticles too deeply. Hydrate nails with oils or creams to keep them healthy.


4. Avoid Allergenic Products

Identify and avoid nail products that may cause allergic reactions. Opt for hypoallergenic and natural nail care products free from harsh chemicals.


5. Treat Underlying Conditions

If white spots are due to a fungal infection or systemic illness, seek appropriate medical treatment. Antifungal treatments or medication for underlying health issues can address the root cause.


6. Consult a Professional

If white spots persist or are accompanied by other symptoms, consult a healthcare professional or dermatologist for a thorough evaluation and treatment plan.


Preventive Measures

To prevent white spots on nails, consider the following tips:

  • Protect Nails from Trauma: Wear gloves during activities that may cause nail injury.
  • Maintain a Balanced Diet: Ensure adequate intake of vitamins and minerals essential for nail health.
  • Use Quality Nail Products: Choose high-quality, hypoallergenic nail products.
  • Regular Nail Care: Practice regular and gentle nail care, including moisturizing nails and cuticles.



White spots on nails are usually benign and often resolve on their own. Understanding the underlying causes can help in effectively managing and preventing them. By adopting proper nail care practices, maintaining a balanced diet, and seeking professional advice when necessary, you can keep your nails healthy and free from white spots.

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