Nina Anniston

Nina Anniston

White Spots on Nails: Causes and Remedies

  Jan 17, 2024
Reviewed by Dr Saket Srivastava


White spots on fingernails are a common occurrence and are usually harmless.

Known as leukonychia, these spots are caused by minor trauma or injury to the nail matrix.

So, these usually are no cause for concern!


It’s worth noting that these white marks on nails could be an early indicator of an underlying health issue such as:

  1. A fungal infection. 
  1. A nutritional deficiency, or;
  1. An allergic reaction. 

But fret not!

Today, we’ll understand what factors cause these pesky white spots on nails and explore some effective remedies to help you get rid of them.

Whether you’re curious about what makes these pop up or desperately seeking a solution, our ultimate guide is ready to assist you every step of the way. 

So, stick around!

What Do White Spots on Nails Mean?

First things first:

Even if you’re in good health, it’s still possible that you’ll experience the issue of white spots on your nails.

In many cases, these spots appear and disappear intermittently and may not indicate a serious medical condition.

But, if you experience them for a long stretch of time, it’s essential to delve deeper and consider other possibilities. 


What Are White Spots on Nails? Explore the Phenomenon of Leukonychia

Leukonychia is a medical term coined to refer to the condition of white spots on nails. These spots can appear in different forms, such as minor spots, visible lines, or even larger patterns.

Leukonychia can affect a nail, two, or many at a given time, and it can appear even on toenails. 

Age and gender are no influential factors. These white spots can affect people of all ages and do not discriminate based on gender. 

Leukonychia Causes: Reasons Why You May Have White Spots on Nails

White spots on nails may occur if you’ve:

  • A nail-biting habit. 
  • Had an aggressive manicure. 
  • Experienced accidental injuries to the nail bed.

Having said that:

There are a couple of medical conditions that may trigger these white spots on nails. We’re about to understand them, one by one.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections, such as Onychomycosis, can be the reason why there are white spots on your nails.

Various types of fungi invade and thrive in the nail bed, causing discoloration, thickening, brittleness, and sometimes even pain and discomfort.

When a fungal infection affects your nails, seek medical intervention because these infections can be quite stubborn and challenging to treat.

Allergic Reactions

White marks on your nails can also be an aftereffect of your body’s exposure to certain chemicals or allergens. 

You may suffer from leukonychia if your body’s immune response is triggered by these substances. 


Systemic Diseases

In rare cases, leukonychia can be indicative of an underlying systemic condition such as liver disease, kidney disorders, or hyperthyroidism.

Notably, if leukonychia is persistent or accompanied by other symptoms, don’t wait and consult your healthcare professional right away for a thorough evaluation.

Can You Experience White Marks on Nails Due to Vitamin Deficiency? 

White marks on fingernails can be associated with a vitamin deficiency; however, it’s not the only cause.

For instance

Zinc, calcium, and iron deficiencies are known to cause leukonychia. If you notice white scars on your nails or toes, it’s recommended that you consult a doctor and get the right supplements for you.

Leukonychia, when caused by vitamin deficiencies or signs of anemia, can be treated promptly. 

But if it doesn’t disappear with time, go for a more accurate, deeper diagnosis to determine its cause and seek appropriate management of your symptoms.

Leukonychia Diagnosis

To determine the underlying cause of leukonychia, a healthcare professional will conduct a physical examination and discuss your medical history. 

In some cases, additional tests such as blood work or nail cultures may be recommended to rule out systemic diseases or confirm the presence of a fungal infection. 

When to Seek Medical Intervention?

White Spots on Nails

While leukonychia is often harmless, there are instances where it may be associated with underlying health problems.

It’s essential to be aware of the following developments and seek medical attention:

Severe or Worsening Symptoms

If you notice an increase in the number or size of white spots, significant changes in nail texture, or the appearance of dark spots, it is advisable to consult a healthcare professional for a proper evaluation. 

Pain, Swelling, or Infection

If you experience pain, swelling, or any signs of infection (pus or drainage) around the nail area, it’s crucial to seek medical intervention.

Recurring or Persistent White Spots

While leukonychia can be a temporary condition, frequent recurrences or persistent white spots on the nails should be evaluated by a healthcare professional.

Nail Changes Alongside Other Symptoms

If you notice leukonychia, along with other concerning symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, changes in appetite, unexplained weight loss, or skin abnormalities, it’s important to consult a healthcare provider.

These symptoms, when combined with leukonychia, could potentially indicate an underlying systemic condition that needs to be addressed.

How Can You Treat White Spots on Nails?

Observation and Patience

In most cases, leukonychia does not require treatment as the white spots gradually grow out with the nails. Practicing patience and maintaining good nail hygiene can help alleviate concerns.

Nutritional Supplements

If nutritional deficiencies are identified as the cause of leukonychia, a healthcare professional may recommend dietary changes or supplements to address the deficiencies and promote healthy nail growth.

Avoidance of Trauma

Preventing trauma to the nails is essential for minimizing the occurrence of white spots. This can be achieved by avoiding nail biting, using gentle nail care techniques, and protecting the nails during physical activities. 

Next Steps to Prevent White Spots on Fingernails

Maintain a Balanced Diet

Consuming a well-rounded diet that includes essential nutrients like zinc, protein, and vitamins can help promote healthy nail growth and reduce the likelihood of developing leukonychia.

Incorporate foods such as lean meats, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, and leafy green vegetables into your meals.

Protect Your Nails

To prevent trauma to your nails, consider wearing gloves while engaging in activities that may expose your nails to potential damage.

This includes household chores, gardening, or any tasks that involve prolonged exposure to water or chemicals.

Practice Gentle Nail Care

Avoid excessive filing, buffing, or aggressive manicures that can weaken the nails and lead to nail bed trauma.

Opt for a gentle approach when shaping and grooming your nails to minimize the risk of leukonychia.

Avoid Harsh Chemicals

Limit your exposure to harsh chemicals found in cleaning products, nail polish removers, and other substances that may damage or weaken your nails.

When handling such chemicals, wear protective gloves to minimize contact.

Maintain Good Hygiene

Keep your nails clean and dry to prevent the growth of fungi or bacteria that can cause infections and nail discoloration.

Regularly wash your hands and feet, and ensure your nail care tools are clean and properly sanitized.

Seek Professional Advice

If you experience persistent or recurrent leukonychia, it’s advisable to consult a dermatologist or healthcare professional.

They can conduct a thorough evaluation, provide an accurate diagnosis, and offer specific recommendations tailored to your problem.


Everyone’s experience with leukonychia varies. The underlying causes can differ from person to person.

By following these next steps and adopting good nail care habits, you can significantly reduce the likelihood of white spots recurring on your nails.

Prioritize your nail health, and if you’ve concerns, don’t hesitate to seek professional advice. With proper care, you can take control of leukonychia and maintain a healthy state of your nails.

The Bottom Line

White spots on nails, known as leukonychia, are a common occurrence that can be attributed to various causes.

While leukonychia is generally harmless, understanding the underlying factors and potential treatment options can help address any concerns.

By adopting preventive measures, maintaining a balanced diet, and practicing good nail hygiene, you can minimize the reoccurrence of white spots and promote overall nail health. If you’ve persistent or worrisome symptoms, it’s always recommended to seek professional advice for proper diagnosis and guidance.

Remember, healthy nails are a reflection of overall well-being, so take care of your nails to maintain their natural beauty.


Leukonychia: What Can White Nails Tell Us?– By

Also Read:

Tips to Treat Fungal Infections