Decoding The Mystery Behind White Spots on Your Finger Nails

Sushmita Sengupta  |  Updated: October 09, 2017 17:39 IST

Decoding The Mystery Behind White Spots on Your Finger Nails
  • White spots, also called -leukonychia- in the scientific terminology
  • White spots can be a result of zinc deficiency or even calcium deficiency
  • White spots are temporary in nature
For how many years have you stared at those tiny white spots on your nails, and reflected back on all those glasses of milk you should have downed to avoid them? Turns out that those white spots may not be an offshoot of a ‘calcium deficiency’ you have for so long thought them to be. These spots, also called “leukonychia” in the scientific terminology, are most of the times a sign of some past nail injury to the base of your nails, or an allergic reaction to nail polish, nail hardeners, or sometimes a symptom of a mild infection. Excess pressure on the nail-base, while getting a manicure may also lead to these spots.

In a few cases though, these spots could be a reason to worry about. For instance, in the case of liver diseases such as hepatitis, nails tend to turn completely white, or in the case of anaemia where iron deficiency can turn your nails pale and white. In serious cases, your nails may also lose their pinkish hue due to kidney failure. But in most of the cases these spots are just a sign of some past injury and would grow out as your nail grows.  These injuries usually show up in four to five weeks, by which time you have possibly forgotten about them. Recall if your fingers came in middle of closing a door, or hitting your nails against a hard object and you would have the reason for the white spots.Also Read: 

However, there are some other not so common causes linked to these white spots which are as follows:

1. Allergies: There are chances of you being allergic to the nail polish, nail polish remover or the nail polish hardener  that you have been using. This allergic reaction might tend to give rise to white spots as a warning sign. Tip: Ditch using the nail products you have been using, if the white spot still persists get in touch with your doctor. Also, usage of acrylic nail paint may damage your nail base.
2. Mineral deficiency: Some of the white spots can be a result of zinc deficiency and sometimes even calcium deficiency. Tip: To make up for the zinc deficiency fill your diet with baked beans, yogurt, spinach, nuts and whole grains. Drink ample orange juice and milk to combat calcium deficiency.

Also Read: (What to Eat for Healthier & Stronger Nails)
3. Protein deficiency: In case of a protein deficiency, horizontal white bands known as Muehrcke’s lines appear to show on the nail bed. When your proteins levels are normal, these lines tend to
disappear. Tip: To make up for protein deficiency have protein-rich foods like lean fish, tofu, yogurt, beans, soy milk, pulses and nuts.

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4. Fungal infections: White superficial Onychomycosis is a common nail fungus that appears on the toe nails. This infection makes toenails appear flaky and eventually makes them so thick and hard that even minute pressure on the toe nail evokes a stirring pain. Tip: Consult a doctor in this case, they may prescribe topical anti-fungal treatment for the same.

CommentsIn most cases, white spots are temporary in nature and if there’s nothing serious then they may disappear on their own. It is also important to moisturise your nails, just as your hands. Massaging the nails regularly with nail cream or olive oil also works.

About Sushmita SenguptaSharing a strong penchant for food, Sushmita loves all things good, cheesy and greasy. Her other favourite pastime activities other than discussing food includes, reading, watching movies and binge-watching TV shows.

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Tags:  HealthNails