White spots on fingernails may be an indication of mild problems such as injury or a fungal infection. However, they may be a sign of more serious conditions such as diabetes, kidney or liver or heart problems. Explore pictures, causes, signs and symptoms of white spots, dots or patches on fingernails. What are the effective treatments and home remedies?
Summary of Page Contents
- Signs and Symptoms of White Spots on Fingernails
- White Spots on Fingernails Pictures
- What Causes White Spots on Fingernails (Meaning)
- White Spots under Fingernail or on Nail Bed
- White Spot on Nail Superstition
- How to Get Rid of White Spots on Fingernails
- Prevention of White Spots on Fingernails
- Sources and References
Signs and Symptoms of White Spots on Fingernails
White spots or patches on fingernail are medically called leukonychia. White marks on fingernails are common problems and you should not be scared about it if you already have it because these might be quite harmless. Rarely, these spots can be a sign of a serious health problem.
Signs and symptoms of white spots on the fingernails include:
- Tiny white dots scattered on nail plate
- A single white mark on nail plate
- Large irregular shaped white make speckled across nail plate
- White smooth lines under nail plate
- Painless white dots on nail plate
- White marks on nail plate that retains whitish appearance even if you press your fingernail
- White dots on nail plate that moves with the growth of fingernail
The signs and symptoms of white marks on the fingernails depend on the causal agent. For instance, pinching of the fingernail can lead to either tiny or large dot basing of the magnitude of pressure that causes an injury.
White Spots on Fingernails Pictures
How do white marks on fingernail look like? If you are eager to know how white spots on fingernail look like, this post contains white spots on nails pictures. These pictures provide a clear visual understanding of how white spots on your fingernails can appear.
It is important to be familiar with how these white spots on fingernail can appear so that it can guide you to decide whether to go for treatment or not. These pictures also help you to avoid confusion that might arise between white marks and white ridges on fingernails. Keep in mind that white marks on fingernails are not the same as ridges on fingernails.
What Causes White Spots on Fingernails (Meaning)
White spots or patches on fingernails can appear due to several reasons or factors. These factors determine the type of white marks that may appear on the nail plate. The meaning of having white spots or patches on fingernails is correlated to the causal agents. Here are possible causes of white spots, dots or marks on fingernails which include:
1. Injury on fingernail
An injury on your fingernail might have a consequence of white dots or patches on the nail plate. Physical damage at nail bed or nail matrix can affect the normal structure and appearance of your fingernails. An injury at the nail root above the cuticle can result to white marks that can show up after some period of time when you might have even already forgotten the incidence of that injury.
The unique feature of injury white spots on nail plate is that these marks move slowly away from lunula of the nail to distal edge simultaneously with the growth of the fingernail. This spots will not fade away until it moves to the distal edge of the nail plate.
Usually, injury spots on nails can also appear together in the red, brown or dark marks on the nail plate. This is because that, the nail plate is suspended on nail matrix that has blood capillaries that can cause internal bleeding during a physical injury hence dark spots or white spots can show up.
The common possible causes of nail injuries include:
- Squeezing your fingers as you shut the door or window
- striking your finger with a heavy object like hammer
- nail biting in children
- manicure procedures
Injuries on nail are a common problem among children. Nail biting is an oral compulsive habit in children and young teenagers.
2. Deficiency of nutrients
White spots on fingernails can appear due to deficiency of macro and micronutrients in the body. Body nutrients like carbohydrates, protein, vitamins and mineral salts play a critical role to maintain a good health of the body.
Deficiency of body nutrients leads to several health problems. For instance, malnourishment of body nutrients due to poor diet or starvation can result in a weakened immune system and also affect the structure of your skin including fingernails.
Protein deficiency in the body is likely to affect the structure and the formation of the nail plate. The nail plate is made up of protein component known as keratin. Severe deficiency of protein in the body can result in conditions such as Marasmus and Kwashiorkor. Infant, toddlers or children who have these conditions can show up signs of white marks on fingernails.
Zinc deficiency in the body can also cause white patches on fingernails. Zinc is a mineral element that is an essential component to keep body immune system strong. It also helps to heal injuries on the body. Inadequate zinc ions in the body can result in beauty problems such as hair loss and white dots on fingernails.
Calcium is another essential mineral that helps to form the structure of bones, teeth and nail plate. Deficiency of these mineral ions in the diet can lead to weakened nail plate that is highly susceptible to develop white marks.
According to Mayo Clinic, deficiency of iron in the body can result to a condition known as anemia. This condition is characterized by pale or white nail bed. Iron also helps in the formation of hemoglobin in the body that helps to transport oxygen.
Vitamins in the body help to maintain the strong immune system. Deficiency of vitamin C or ascorbic acid in the body can result to a condition known as scurvy that is associated with white spots on skin and on the fingernails.
Dehydration of the body can result in drying of nail cuticle that can cause white dot on the nail plate. It is advisable to drink enough clean water to keep your skin and nail cuticles moisturized. Also, apply moisturizing cream to your fingernails to protect the cuticle from drying up.
3. Allergic reaction
Allergic reaction on the nail plate can also cause white dots on the fingernails. Some cosmetic product for manicure suck as nail polish, hardeners, and nail polish removers may contain chemicals substance that can stimulate an allergic reaction that can lead to white spots on fingernails.
Also, soaking your nails in harsh chemicals can also result in allergic reaction. For instance, washing your cloth with a harsh detergent that contains bleaching agent may react with your nail plate can easily result in leukonychia.
4. Fungal infection
Fungal infection is a common problem that affects toenails but it can as well affect your fingernails under rare conditions. Yeast infection is more common in hot and moist climatic conditions. Also, poor nail hygiene can encourage yeast growth hence white spots can develop on nail plates.
5. Intake of poisons into the body
Presence of harmful poison in the body can cause white spots or patches on fingernails. Heavy metals such as Lead and Arsenic are an example of harmful poisons that can cause discoloration of nail plates. Arsenic poisoning in the body is associated with skin damage that develops white lesions that spread to the fingernails.
Harmful poison in the environment can be inhaled or ingested directly into the mouth. Due to environmental pollution, industrialization and agriculture have increased the risk of poison intake into the body systems. White spot on nail plate might be the sign of body poisoning.
6. Strong medication
The use of strong drugs or medication may have a side effect of white spots on fingernails. For instance, cancer chemotherapy treatment and strong antibiotics can affect the nail plate to develop white dots or patches.
7. Genetic factors
According to the study of genetics, it is clear that genes can determine the traits that appear on the human body. Some genes can result to genetic disorders or syndromes that can lead to white dots on figure nails. Examples of syndromes that can result to white dots on fingernails include:
- Bauer syndrome
- Darier syndrome
- Leopard syndrome
8. Underlying conditions
White spots or patches on fingernails can show up because of underlying diseases in the body system. Chronic white marks on ten fingernails may be the sign of a serious underlying health condition that needs medical treatment. It is advisable to seek help from your doctor to determine the main cause of chronic spots on your ten fingernails.
The following are underlying conditions that can result in white marks on ten fingernails which include:
- cardiac problem
- renal disease
- liver disorder
- autoimmune disorder
- skin diseases like eczema
White Spots under Fingernail or on Nail Bed
White marks usually occur typically on the surface of the nail plate. Occasionally, white spots can appear under the fingernail in the nail bed or matrix. White spots that speckled under the nail plate are attributed to appear due to the damaged nail matrix by infections such as fungal attack.
Lunula can easily confuse you with white spots on the nail bed. Similar to white spots under the nail plate, lunula has white or pale color appearance. Unlike white spots that are irregular shaped, lunular are crescent-shaped natural or normal white marks on your ten fingernails.
White Spot on Nail Superstition
According to traditional myth and superstition, white spots on fingernail are interpreted into different meanings. These interpretations can vary from one community or geographical location to another. These superstitions are strongly believed that white spots on fingernails might convey a significant message to you.
For instance, some community believes that when white spots appear on your right-hand fingernail, it symbolizes that you are likely to get something good in your life. In comparison to dots on left-hand fingernails, it is interpreted to symbolize a misfortune in your life.
White spots on nails astrology is another interesting myth about your fingernails. Some people believe that human affairs are influenced by white spots or patches on fingernails. Like celestial bodies in the sky that moves, white dots on fingernails can also move with the growth of nail plate and has a mythical believes to influence human affairs.
An example of a mythical study of the white spots on nails astrology is that some communities believe that having dots on fingernails that change the position or moves on nail plate are interpreted that you are likely to have a journey or travel away. So these are a mythical sign to prepare yourself and pack your things ready to have a trip to another place.
How to Get Rid of White Spots on Fingernails
White spots on fingernails can affect the beauty of your fingers. Some chronic large marks can frustrate you a lot especially if they occur on all your ten fingernails. This spot may look harmless but they cause a beauty problem to you.
White spots or marks on fingernails should not be a problem that keeps you in frustration. You can get rid of these marks from your fingernails by using home remedies or medical treatments. Home remedies are a cheap and suitable method of treatment that you can employ to get rid of mild marks on your fingernails.
Alternatively, when home remedies fail to clear away white dots on your nail plate, you can opt to go for medical treatment by visiting your doctor.
Medical Treatment for White Spots on Fingernails
After presenting your fingernails problem to the doctor, he or she will determine the causal agent that causes leukonychia. Your doctor can take a sample of your fingernail or blood sample to the laboratory to find out the suspected health condition that affects the structure and appearance of your fingernails.
From the doctor’s observation and laboratory results, he/she will decide the appropriate diagnosing plan for you. Here are some of the treatment methods that your doctor might use to get rid of white spots on your fingernails that include:
- nutrients drug and injection can be given to you to help your body recover from mineral and vitamin deficiency that causes white spots on the nail plate
- treating the underlying condition by giving appropriate treatment plan that includes the prescription of medicinal drugs to cure an underlying disease that causes marks on fingernails
- Antifungal drugs that help to treat yeast infection that can cause white dots on nail plate
- prescription of medicinal drugs that can help to heal white spots on the nail bed
Home Remedies for White Spots on Fingernails
You can use the following home remedies to get rid of white spots on your fingernails that include:
- Lemon juice
You can use lemon juice as a home remedy to treat white spots or patches on fingernails. Lemon juice contains citric acid that has a natural antioxidant and antimicrobial properties that can help to remove white dots on nail plates.
How to use:
- extract a lemon juice from fresh lemon fruit into a clean cup
- clean your fingernail with warm water and dry it off with a wash towel
- apply the extracted lemon on the affected nail plates with white marks
- allow the juice to stay on your fingernails for about 20 minutes before rinsing it off with cold water
- Repeat the treatment three times per day until nail discoloration fade away
- Tea tree oil
Tea tree oil is a good home remedy to get rid of white marks on fingernails. This oil has natural antiseptic properties that can help to kill pathogens that cause white spots on fingernails. It also helps to keep your nail cuticle and nail plate moisturized.
How to use:
- get a tea tree oil
- clean your fingernails and dry it off with a washcloth
- apply the tea tree oil on the affected parts of your fingernails with white marks
- Allow it to stay on your finger over the day or night.
- Apply it twice per day for few weeks until white spots on your fingernails clear away
- Baking soda
Baking soda has bicarbonate that can help to remove white spot on your fingernails. The alkaline nature of the reagent also helps to keep away fungus that can affect your nail plate to develop white dots or patches.
How to use:
- And one teaspoon of baking soda into one cup of warm water and mix
- Dip your fingernails into the solution for 20 minutes before removing it
- Repeat the procedure twice per day for few weeks until white marks on your fingernails go away
- Coconut oil
Coconut oil contains natural ingredients that have an antifungal ability that can help to treat white spots and patches on your fingernails caused by fungus. Coconut oil is an effective moisturizer that can help to protect your nail cuticle and nail plate against white marks.
Simply apply the coconut oil on your fingernails twice per day for few weeks until white dots on nail plate clear away.
- Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar has the medicinal property that can help to remove white spots on fingernails. It contains antifungal and antibacterial properties that can help to cure white dots on nail plates
How to use it:
- Measure a half a glass of the apple cider vinegar and add equal amount of warm water to make it more dilute
- Dip your fingernails into the solution
- Alternately use the cotton ball to apply the app cider vinegar on the affected nail plate with marks
- For effective results, repeat the procedure twice per day for few weeks until white dots on fingernails fade away
Other home remedies to remove white spot on your fingernails include the following tips:
- polish your fingernail to hide the white spots
- allow your nails to grow out with the white dots
- keep your fingernails moisturized
- keep your fingernail clean
- apply garlic, lavender, orange oil on your fingernails
- apply aloe Vera juice, cream or gel on nail plates
Prevention of White Spots on Fingernails
You can escape the problems of white dots or patches on fingernails by using the following prevention measures that include:
- avoid nail injuries by being careful when using your hands to perform daily tasks that can cause nail trauma
- Take a balanced diet that is rich in protein, vitamins, and minerals or eat meat, fruits, and vegetables. You can also include in your diet mineral supplements and drink enough water
- Moisturize your fingernails with appropriate skin care creams to avoid drying and cracking of nail plate due to dehydration
- Proper nail hygiene by cleaning and trimming your nail plate regularly
- wear hand gloves when handling harsh chemicals like detergent to protect your nail plate from chemical damage
Sources and References
- white spots or patches on fingernails: https://www.nlda.org/a/white-spots-on-nails/
- white spots on nail plate pictures: http://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/ss/slideshow-nails-and-health
- cause of white spots on nails: http://www.newhealthguide.org/White-Spots-On-Nails.html
- cause of white dots, marks or patches on fingernails: https://www.healthline.com/health/white-spots-on-nails#causes2
- White spots under fingernail or on nail bed: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leukonychia
- White spot on nail superstition: https://thoryshinwa.wordpress.com/2014/04/05/myth-white-dots-on-nail/
- How to get rid of white spots or patches on fingernails: http://www.wikihow.com/Get-Rid-of-White-Spots-on-Your-Nails
- Medical treatment for white spots on your fingernails: https://www.healthline.com/health/white-spots-on-nails#treatment5
- Home remedies for white spots or patches on fingernails: http://www.stylecraze.com/articles/home-remedies-to-treat-white-spots-on-nails/#gref
- How to prevent white spots on nail plate: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317493.php