What Do White Spots On Your Nails ACTUALLY Mean?

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Do you have white spots on your nails? Do you really believe they are because of calcium deficiency in your body? The fact that white spots on nails mean calcium deficiency is a MYTH. World’s another oldest conspiracy. Which, by the way, I spent the better half of my life, blindly, believing. Much like most of us. But the reality is something else!

What causes the white spots on your nails?

Contrary to the popular belief, the white spots are because of an old injury to the nail’s base (matrix). They might as well be as old as from 6-7 weeks ago. They are also known as leukonychia and they fade away in a few weeks’ time. Or they may simply outgrow the nail, eventually. This word is derived from Greek words leuko means white and onyx means nails.

They are harmless and DO NOT REPRESENT ANY VITAMIN OR MINERAL DEFICIENCY. Frequent manicures and pedicures or the use of gel or acrylic nails can also damage nail beds. They could be caused even after you got yourselves a manicure that might have put extra pressure on the base of the nails. Therefore, a sign of white spots is not a bad sign. They could also be a mild form of an infection or a consequence of allergy to any nail polish you might have used.

Sometimes the tight shoes put pressure on your toe nails that causes this condition.

Types of Leukonychia

There are different types of this condition according to the size and position of the white coloration on your nails.

  • Punctate leukonychia appears as small white spots.
  • Longitudinal leukonychia presents as a white band down the nail.
  • Striate or transverse leukonychia, where one or more horizontal lines appear across the nail, parallel to the lunula. These are also sometimes called Mees lines.

There are two other types of Leukonychia, true and apparent leukonychia.

True Leukonychia:

In this case, the nail has the injury and known as true leukonychia, the white areas remain unaffected when pressure is applied on them. These areas will grow out as the nail does.

But sometimes the nail bed has the injury because of that white coloration that appears on the nail. When the pressure is applied to this white color, it disappears or lessens. That’s why this condition is known as apparent leukonychia.

There is no specific risk factor related to this condition. Anyone can have these white spots on their nails irrespective of gender, age, and ethnicity.

But sometimes the underlying disease may also be the cause of change in color of your nails. for example;

  • an excessive loss of proteins in the intestines
  • zinc deficiency
  • hyperthyroidism, an overactive thyroid resulting in abnormal levels of the thyroid hormone in the body
  • psoriasis
  • eczema
  • iron-deficiency anemia, a lack of iron in the body
  • liver cirrhosis, which is scarring of the liver
  • kidney disease
  • heart failure
  • diabetes
  • problems with the digestion of proteins

Treatment Of White Spot on Nails:

Usually, the white spot on your nails outgrows with the growing nails. But if any disease is behind these spots, you need to consult a health specialist for that.

Doctors do physical examinations or sometimes tests like blood tests to diagnose the root cause.

You can prevent the white spots by avoiding injuries to your nails. Try to avoid using nail polish on your nails. Keep your nails cut and short. And keep your nails moisturized with a good hand moisturizer.

In cases where having spotted nails is significant is when they might be darker in appearance. For example, of black, brown, or purple color, because in these cases, they present themselves to be signs of skin cancer. Book an appointment with a dermatologist immediately to get a full-body work-up for the progression of cancer.

So the one thing I learned out of my experience is to never trust any fact (no matter how eloquently stated) without doing my background check on it and to never google my symptoms. It makes me feel sicker than I actually might be, like the sad character of the Man Who Was A Hospital. If  you are having other nail issues like ingrown nails etc. you must consult with a doctor at Marham.


FAQs related to White Spot on Nails:

1. Is the white spot on my nail is because of calcium deficiency? 

No, white spots on nails are not related to calcium deficiency

2. Why do white spots appear on my nail?

White spots appear because of injury to nails.

3. How can I remove white spots from my nail?

White spots outgrow with the growing nails of your hands. So they disappear with time.


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Aiman Usman (Doctor of Pharmacy)
She is a pharmacy graduate and worked as a hospital pharmacist. Her interests are teaching, blogging, and scientific writings. She likes to write about medicines, health issues, health and beauty-related natural remedies, the nutritional value of different foods, and mental health.
Aiman Usman (Doctor of Pharmacy)

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