5 Reasons Why Your Nails Show White Lines or Spots?

The tiny white lines or white spots commonly found in nails has nothing to do with Calcium deficiency but something beyond that.
The tiny white lines or white spots commonly found in nails has nothing to do with Calcium deficiency but something beyond that. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
The tiny white lines or white spots commonly found in nails has nothing to do with Calcium deficiency but something beyond that. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

When the white lines or white spot appear on the fingernail & toenail, it is also called Leukonychia. The white spots may appear as tiny speckled dots across the nail or may be larger and present across the entire nail. The spots may affect one nail or many.

The tiny white lines or white spots has nothing to do with Calcium deficiency but something beyond that.

A Doctor explained in her Instagram Reel, about the significance of these tiny white lines present on nails.

According to various sources, Leukonychia is divided into:

  • True leukonychia: This type of white lines originates in the matrix of the nail, the part responsible for its production.

  • Apparent leukonychia: The white lines originate in the nail bed and not the nail itself.

True leukonychia is further divided into two main categories based on the appearance of the nails.

  • Total leukonychia: This is a complete whitening of the nail plate. It usually affects all 20 nails.

  • Partial leukonychia: This occurs when a portion of the nail plate is becomes white.

White spots or dots are very common, and a variety of factors can cause them. Some of them are listed below:

1. Injury to the nail

White spots or lines on the nail can be caused by any injury at the base of the fingernail.

Common sources of injuries include:

  • hitting your fingers in a door

  • hitting your finger with a hammer

  • hitting your finger against a desk

White spots or lines on the nail can be caused by any injury at the base of the fingernail. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
White spots or lines on the nail can be caused by any injury at the base of the fingernail. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

2. Allergic reaction

Any nail polish, gloss, hardener, or nail polish remover can cause allergic reaction causing white spots.

Additionally, Gel nails can also badly damage them and cause these white spots.

Any nail polish, nail gloss, hardener, or nail polish remover can cause allergic reaction causing white spots on the nails. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Any nail polish, nail gloss, hardener, or nail polish remover can cause allergic reaction causing white spots on the nails. (Representational image: Unsplash)

3. Fungi

Toenails can be affected by a common fungus called "Onychomycosis" . A few small white dots on the nails can be the first sign of this infection. Also, it may appear flaky and become thick and brittle.

The infection can spread to the nail bed.

Toenails can be affected by a common nail fungus called white superficial "Onychomycosis" . (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
Toenails can be affected by a common nail fungus called white superficial "Onychomycosis" . (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)

4. Hereditary causes

Very rarely, Leukonychia is inherited. The main cause behind this is gene mutation that can be passed by one or both parents to the child. In people born with true leukonychia, the nails show white lines at birth or in infancy itself.

Very rarely, Leukonychia is inherited. The main cause behind this is gene mutation that can be passed by one or both parents to the child. In people born with true leukonychia, the nails show white lines at birth or in infancy itself. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Very rarely, Leukonychia is inherited. The main cause behind this is gene mutation that can be passed by one or both parents to the child. In people born with true leukonychia, the nails show white lines at birth or in infancy itself. (Representational image: Unsplash)

5. Manicures

Manicures at frequent intervals may also cause damage to the nails that causes white spots or lines. This is because manicurist applied pressure while working which can result into damage.

Manicures at frequent intervals may also cause damage to the nails that causes white spots or lines. This is because manicurist applied pressure while working which can result into damage of the nail beds or matrix. (Representational image: Unsplash)
Manicures at frequent intervals may also cause damage to the nails that causes white spots or lines. This is because manicurist applied pressure while working which can result into damage of the nail beds or matrix. (Representational image: Unsplash)

How to get rid of these white spots on the nails?

The treatment depends upon the cause behind it. Several diagnostic tests can be performed to understand the reason for these white spots.

These diagnostic tests include:

1. Nail Biopsy: A small piece of nail is removed and send for lab testing.

2. Mycology: It is performed when the fungi is the suspected cause behind these white spots.

3. Blood Tests: This is performed to avoid any systemic illness.

Prevention

The treatment is completely symptomatic and depend upon the cause of this condition. However, it can be prevented in several ways:

  • Avoiding overuse of nail care products

  • Cutting nails short

  • Avoid contact with irritating substances

  • Use of moisturizer to avoid dryness.

Doctors refer the white spots on the nails as “Leukonychia”. The main reason being injury to the nail. In few cases, the cause can be different than injury.

White spots on nails because of injury often grow out on their own without any specific treatment. If these white spots have formed due to an underlying disease, a doctor's treatment may vary accordingly.

Resources:

1. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317493#Summary

2. https://www.healthline.com/health/white-spots-on-nails#:~:text=A%20nail%20injury%20may%20cause,cause%20of%20the%20white%20spots.

3. https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/symptoms/25243-white-spots-on-nails

(By Dr Pragati Priya)

SB

The tiny white lines or white spots commonly found in nails has nothing to do with Calcium deficiency but something beyond that. (Representational image: Wikimedia commons)
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