Why Is There a White Spot on My Nail, and Should I Worry?

White spots on fingernails, Leukonychia
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Nails, just like hair or skin, can tell your general health condition. The physical appearance of nails offers clues about what is happening inside your body.

Nails are made of a protein known as alpha-keratin, which works as a protective coat for the skin underneath. 

Taking care of nails is crucial, as it allows us to be more observant about the changes. Alongside white spots, yellow and green discoloration and nail separation can be signs of something going on inside your body.

What Is the Meaning of White Spots on Someone’s Fingernails?

White spots on nails are referred to as leukonychia in medicine. It is a condition where white lines and spots appear on fingernails or toenails. It is defined as keratin deposits on the nail bed. Even though it is a common condition, it is entirely harmless. 

The popular opinion about white spots is that a lack of calcium causes them. In fact, white spots can rarely mean that you lack minerals like zinc and calcium. 

What Causes White Spots on Your Nails?

Nail care manicure process
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The spots are very common, and many different things can cause them. 

Allergic Reaction

It is possible to have an allergic reaction to nail polish, nail remover, hardener, or even gloss. That is when white spots can appear. When you use some nail product for the first time and shortly notice white spots or lines, then you should stop until you determine if it is an allergic reaction.

Nail Bed Damage

An injury in the matrix or a base of a nail plate can cause white spots on the nail as it grows. The problem is, you can’t remember every time you hurt your nail. Some injuries appear after 4 weeks or more. 

Mostly, people hurt their nails while closing the door, striking them with a hammer, or hitting them against a desk or a wall. While doing your manicures, your nail artist may use inappropriate pressure and damage the nail bed.

Nail Fungus

Nail fungus and bacteria can appear if your nails have been exposed to a warm and moist environment. Another common way of getting infected with fungi or bacteria is by trimming or clipping nails, especially if instruments are not sterile. 

The first signs of an infection might be small, white dots on the nail. However, the infection can grow and spread to the nail bed. Nails can become brittle and flaky over time. 

Different Skin Conditions

Inflammatory skin conditions, such as hand eczema or psoriasis, can impact the nail matrix. It leads to white spots that appear on your nails. 

Mineral Deficiency

White spots can appear if you are deficient in certain minerals and vitamins. It is not a common situation. Yet rarely, it could be because of the lack of zinc, calcium, or iron.

Inherited Conditions

Rarely white spots or leukonychia can be inherited. It is caused by a gene mutation passed from both or one parent to a child. This condition is called Total Congenital Hereditary Leukonychia. 

Poisoning and Medicines

Unfortunately, some strong medications, like the ones used in chemotherapy, diabetes, or arthritis pain therapy can cause white spots on nails.

Moreover, heavy metal poisoning from arsenic and lead can cause lines to appear on nails. In such cases, you need to contact the doctor immediately.

Prevention Options

To keep your nail spots clear, take good care of them. You should pay attention to your cuticles, use an oil, and be careful when you do your manicure. When you damage the delicate area around cuticles, you can cause stress, which will show as white spots or ridges.

Avoid biting your nails, as well as other damaging behaviors. You can also take a break from gels, scrapping, and acrylics. 

Treatment Options

Woman doing manicure
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There are different treatment options for white spots. However, they will depend on the final diagnosis that your doctor should determine. Some of them you can perform at home, while others need to be done by a specialist. 

Avoid Potential Allergens and Harsh Chemicals

If you suspect you might be allergic to something, the best option is to stop using it. Anything responsible for your allergic reaction is best to avoid, whether it is nail polish, gloss, or nail remover. The latest can be full of harsh chemicals that might be responsible for allergic reactions. 

Resting and Taking Some Time To Heal

Most nail injuries caused by trauma need time to heal. As the nail grows, the damaged part will slowly disappear. Over time, the white spots will be gone entirely. 

Medications for Fungi

You need to take some medicines if you have white spots on your nails because of a fungal infection. Doctors will prescribe oral antifungal medications, as well as topical antifungal treatment.

Incorporating Healthy Diet

Eating healthier food is always a good idea, especially if you think white spots appear due to a lack of minerals and vitamins. Essential fatty acids are crucial for nail health, so you can incorporate food like salmon, eggs, greens, and lean meats into your diet.

Cosmetic Solutions

If white spots and lines bother you, yet the reason for their appearance is not an allergic reaction, you can use cosmetics to cover them. Use nude nail polish, and try to pick toxic-free polishes.

When Should You Consult a Doctor About White Spots on Your Nails?

Sometimes, you know that the cause of white spots might be due to hitting the nail. In such case, you don’t need to seek medical attention.

However, if the cause is unknown, or the spots are getting worse, you should immediately go to the doctor. 

Interesting: Are White Spots on Nails Lucky?

An interesting fact: according to Hindu astrology, a white spot on a nail is considered to be a bit of good luck. Depending on the location of the mark, it can mean different things. 

A mark on a left-hand thumbnail denotes fulfillment and desire, while it signifies a new connection on the right hand. 

The white mark on the left index nail is considered good luck, while the right-hand index fingernail mark is related to travel. 

If you have a white mark on the left middle fingernail, you can expect some new clothes. The spot on the right-hand middle fingernail is related to buying a new car or vehicle. 

A left-ring fingernail white spot is connected with winning money or the lottery. At the same time, the right-hand ring fingernail mark can mean success, an award, or getting a new job. 

A pinky fingernail might be small, but the white spot on your left hand is related to love and marriage. On the right hand, the white spot is connected with desire fulfillment.

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