What do white spots on nails mean?

You may have been told that white spots on your nails mean you’re deficient in calcium or zinc.

However, is this actually true or is it just a myth to get you to eat more foods that are rich in these minerals?

What are white spots on nails?

Leukonychia, otherwise known as white nails or even milk spots, are white spots that appear on the nails.

This can occur on both the toe and finger nails. There are three different types, including:

  • Longitudinal leukonychia: Which appears as a white band down the nail.
  • Punctate leukonychia: The more common type where white spots appear on the nail.
  • Transvers or striate leukonychia:When more than one white horizontal line appears across the nail.

If the skin is white underneath the nail, this can sometimes also be believed to be leukonychia.

Experts at House Call Doctor say leukonychia is a common, yet harmless condition and many people have these white dots appear at some point during their lifetime.

How does it happen?

There are several causes for leukonychia. These can include:

  • Nail injury: These white spots can appear when there is an injury at the base of the nail while it’s growing. It takes a while for the nail to grow, so you may forget the injury, as the white spots don’t normally show up for a few weeks.
  • Mineral deficiency: Yes, it’s true that a deficiency in some minerals can cause leukonychia. Zin and calcium are most commonly linked to this condition.
  • Fungal infection:There is a type of nail fungus called white superficial onychomycosis, which can appear only on the toenails. This infection is known to grow to the nail beds. It appears thick and brittle.
  • Allergic reaction: Some people are allergic to nail products such as polish, remover, hardener and gloss, and white spots will appear as part of a reaction. Also, acrylic nails are widely known to damage your nails and cause white spots.