What Are The White Spots On My Nails?

white spots on nails

white spots on nails

The chances are high that at one point in your life, you will notice small white spots on your nails. Thankfully, in the majority of cases, the development of these spots does not indicate a serious medical condition.

A simple nail injury is one of the most common reasons for white spots on nails. However, they might also appear due to mineral deficiency or the development of an allergy, or as a side effect of medical treatment.

How to treat the white spots and is there a way to prevent them from appearing? Here is everything that you need to know. That’s why we’ve gathered this information and tons of foot care information in this your Havidol website.

What Are the White Spots on My Nails?

The scientific name of the condition is ‘leukonychia’. This common issue is entirely harmless, but, in some cases, the white spots or lines can be caused by certain health conditions, and that’s when you would have to take care of the root cause of the problem, instead of trying to get rid of the white dots.

There is true leukonychia and apparent leukonychia. The former originates in the nail’s matrix (the growth center), while the latter affects the nail bed, not the actual nail.

The two types of true leukonychia include total and partial leukonychia. Just as the name suggests, total leukonychia typically affects all of the nails and they may end up becoming completely white. Partial leukonychia is a lot more common and affects only a portion of the nail.

Symptoms of Leukonychia

white spots on nails

The white spots might be either speckled across the nails or stretched across the whole nail plate. The condition can affect only one nail or all 20 (both fingernails and toenails can develop these spots).

What the dots look like might be different from one nail to the other. Furthermore, the shape and size of the white spots would depend on the cause of the problem. For example, an injured nail usually develops a big white dot, while an allergic reaction might cause dozens of tiny specs to appear on the nails.

The most widespread form is punctuate leukonychia which looks like tiny dots. Do bear in mind that people with leukonychia can develop not only dots and spots but also large white lines and horizontal bands. 

Why Do I Have White Spots on My Nails?

A wide range of different things can cause white spots on your nails. Fortunately, the majority of them are completely harmless, but paying extra attention to the development of the condition is always recommended, just in case. 

White Spots on Nails Vitamin Deficiency

white spots on nails

White spots or bands on your fingernails or toenails might mean that you are deficient in some vitamins or minerals. The condition is generally linked to calcium and zinc deficiencies. As the nail plate is made up of a wide range of different nutrients, not having enough of one of these elements in your body would cause a change in the appearance of the nails.

If you have low calcium levels, you would, most likely, also have dry skin, brittle nails, coarse hair, and muscle cramps. A severe deficiency might even lead to memory loss. Low zinc levels often cause hair loss, diarrhea, irritability, decreased appetite, more frequent infections, and slower wound healing. 

Milk and dairy foods can help you meet your calcium and zinc needs. But always make sure to talk to a doctor beforehand as the specialist might choose to not only alter your diet but also prescribe some supplements. 

Another thing that you can do is use grapeseed oil or vitamin E hand cream and nail strengtheners that would help keep your nails healthy and strong. 

Allergic Reaction

If you are allergic to something that has come in contact with your nails, then you might end up developing white spots. 

In the majority of cases, the allergy would be caused by various nail products (such as polishes, strengtheners, nail polish removers, and acrylic or gel nails), but the dots can also appear if you haven’t been wearing gloves when handling chemicals. Even cleaning and gardening products might become the root cause of such a condition. 

Hereditary Causes of White Spots

white spots on nails

True leukonychia can be caused by a gene mutation that gets passed on to the child from one or both of the parents, but such a condition is extremely rare. If that’s the case, the child would have completely white nails from the very beginning or they will appear in early infancy.

Some other hereditary conditions that can cause leukonychia include Bart-Pumphrey syndrome, Bauer syndrome, Buschkell-Gorlin syndrome, and Darier disease. 


Superficial onychomycosis usually appears on the toenails, and the first sign of the infection can be small white dots. If the fungal infection is left untreated it will grow and spread and might affect the nail bed.

Other signs of a fungal infection include nail thickening, nail cracking, and discoloration.

Nail Injury

In the absolute majority of cases, you will notice white spots on your nails after you have accidentally damaged them. This can happen when you hit your fingers against a desk or shut them in a door, for example.

Don’t be surprised if you are not able to recall the injury as sometimes it might take up to 4 weeks for the white spots to show up. If the nail matrix got injured, the white spots will develop as the nail grows.

Do bear in mind that your nails can easily get damaged in a nail salon. If the nail tech is too aggressive with the file or is not gentle enough when pushing back the cuticles, the nail bed can get injured. 

Side Effects of Medications


White spots on nails can be caused by several medications. For example, chemotherapy medications, sulfonamides that are used to treat various bacterial infections, retinoids, and some blood pressure medications. 

You might also notice that your nails have become thinner, started growing slower, and are more brittle.

Skin Conditions

Various inflammatory skin diseases, like hand eczema and nail psoriasis, can affect the nail’s growth center. 

Apart from white dots or lines, nail psoriasis and eczema can cause nail pitting, thickening, discoloration, and ridges.

How to Treat White Spots on Nails

How the white spots need to be treated will fully depend on the root cause of the problem.

If the spots have appeared after an injury, then usually all you would have to do is wait for your nails to grow out. Whether you have damaged your fingernails or toenails, you have to make sure to keep the nails as short as possible as this will decrease the chances of repeat injury. When it comes to toenails, the best way to keep them short would be by using high-quality and the best nail clippers.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals & Allergens

If you think a certain nail product might be responsible for the white spots, stop using it. The allergy symptoms should go away in the shortest timeframe.

You should also try to always wear rubber gloves when washing dishes or working out in the garden as your hands and nails might be sensitive to the chemicals used in the process. 

Cover Them Up

If the white spots are caused by an injury, hereditary conditions, or the medications that you are taking, then covering your nails with nail polish might help you feel more confident. Just make sure that the spots haven’t been caused by fungi as covering them with polish in such a case would only mask the problem, not solve it. 

Take Antifungal Medication

If the white spots have appeared on your nails because of a fungal infection, the doctor might prescribe an oral antifungal medication and topical antifungal treatment.

You may have to use the treatment for a few months, but it will be worth it in the end as you’ll be able to fully get rid of the infection. 

How Long Should Toenails Be?

By keeping your toenails nice and short, you will reduce the chances of a fungal infection or an injury taking place.

Try to maintain your toenails at a length of about 0.04-0.08 inches. If you have the right clippers for the job, the whole procedure will take you literally a minute or two. You might want to have a look at the Tweezerman Nail Clipper reviews if you still haven’t found the perfect toenail trimmers. 

How long does it take for nails to grow? Toenails don’t grow as fast as fingernails, so you might have to trim them only every 6 weeks or so. Do bear in mind that if your nail has been severely damaged it might take about 1.5 years for it to fully grow out.

Final Thoughts

Now you know that the white spots on your nails can be caused by a wide range of issues. But the good news is that in most cases, there is nothing to worry about.

If your nail got injured, the white spots will go away on their own as the nail grows. And if you want to cover the dots while they’re there, you can certainly do that. Just make sure that you’re not allergic to the nail product and that it’s not a fungal infection. 

What Are The White Spots On My Nails?
What Are The White Spots On My Nails?

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply

2219 Rimland Dr #301, Bellingham, WA 98226, USA
Best Nail Clippers, Foot Care and Personal Care Products
Compare items
  • Total (0)