A manicure requires painstaking effort, but white spots on your nails may spoil it. What are they and what causes these unsightly white marks to appear? Most importantly, how do you remove them? We have the answers.

What Are These White Spots on Nails and What Types Are There?

If you notice white or ‘milk’ spots on your nails, you may have a condition known as Leukonychia. It stems from the Greek words ‘leuko'(white) and ‘nychia'(nails). There are a few variants of this condition.

Experts subdivide them into True and Pseudo-Leukonychia.

1. True Leukonychia

True Leukonychia occurs when the nails become white because of damage to the matrix. There are a few forms of this condition.

a. Leukonychia Totalis: First of all is the whitening of the entire nail, a condition experts term Leukonychia Totalis. It often happens to all of them, likely because of physical trauma. It is a sign of low albumin. Patients may develop this condition after taking sulphonamide, a type of antibiotic. It may also occur because of low keratin production.

b. Leukonychia Partalis: The Latin term may have led you to guess that a patient who suffers from this condition experiences a partial whitening of his or her nails. There are three types of Leukonychia Partalis, namely transverse, punctate, and longitudinal whitening. Sever versions of it may lead to Leukonychia Totalis.

c. Leukonychia Striata: Also known as Transverse Leukonychia and Mee’s Lines, this condition refers to white bands. These lines run parallel to the base of the nails.

d. Leukonychia Puncata: This form of Leukonychia is the most common. It happens when small white spots appear. They disappear after about six to eight months, which is enough time for them to regrow completely.

e. Longitudinal Leukonychia: This form of the condition is rare. It happens when white, longitudinal lines become visible under the nail plate. Patients with Darier’s disease, a disorder characterized by crusty, dark patches under the skin. They sometimes contain pus.

2. Pseudo Leukonychia

White discoloration may happen because of changes to the nail bed. There are three forms of this condition, namely Terry’s Nails, Muehrcke’s Nails, and Half-and-Half Nails.

a. Terry’s Nails: A person has Terry’s Nails when his or her nails appear white and glassy. They occur because of an increase in connective tissue within the bed of each one. They are a sign of liver cirrhosis.

b. Half and Half Nails: A person has Half-and-half nails when the top part of each one is white and the bottom, brownish. Haemodialysis patients may develop this condition.

c. Muehrcke’s Nails: These nails occur in patients who have hyperammonemia. They may have multiple transverse white bands. Liver problems and malnutrition are usually the cause.

Why Do White Spots Appear on Nails? 5 Possible Explanations

Leukonychia may happen for several reasons. Your fingernails can tell you a lot about your health. These are a few common ones.

1. Allergies

First of all, white spots may arise because of allergic reactions to nail polish. Using a gel or acrylic nails may also damage them. According to this study, nail polish is responsible for cosmetically induced Leukonychia. Some of its effects include mycobacterial infections and keratin degranulation.

2. Trauma

Injury to the nail Matrix, where the nail grows from, can damage it and cause white spots, a form of acquired Leukonychia. Some types of injury include:

  • day-to-day injuries
  • too-small footwear
  • nail-biting

3. Poisoning

Some drugs or poisons in them can cause Leukonychia. Heavy metal poisoning from lead and arsenic can cause white spots, as can chemotherapy treatment.

4. Systemic Illness

Some illnesses can cause white nails, e.g., liver cirrhosis. White spots may also come about on your nails because of iron deficiency. Hyperthyroidism and excessive protein loss may cause it as well.

5. Hereditary Conditions

Finally, a group of genetic conditions may trigger white spots on nails. These include:

  • Bart-Humphreys Syndrome, which involves nail issues and deafness
  • Buswell-Gorlin Syndrome, characterized by nail problems and kidney stones
  • Bauer Syndrome, the signs of which are nail problems and skin cysts
  • Darier Disease. A patient who suffers from this may have nail damage and blemishes on his or her body.

How to remove white spots?

Nails with white spots on them are unsightly, but you don’t have to put up with them. Get rid of them the natural way.

1. Tea Tree Oil: First of all is tea tree oil, a well-known antiseptic. It is also a carrier oil. Mix it with thyme or olive oil. It gets rid of white spots and prevents infections.

2. Coconut oil: Coconut oil is another way to remove white spots on nails. It has anti-fungal properties that prevent nail fungus. Just apply it on the affected area for a few days, and you will witness the results.

3. Lemon Juice: Lemon juice removes nail spots efficiently. Apply it on the affected nails and wash it away after some time. You will see results after a few weeks. Add olive oil to increase its effectiveness.

4. Garlic: Garlic paste helps in eliminating nail infections and white spots because it has antifungal properties. Rub it on the affected nails and wash it away after a while. Wipe the mix off with a dry cloth.

5. Baking soda: Combine half a cup of baking soda and a quarter cup of hydrogen peroxide. Add a half cup of vinegar and another four cups of hot water. Apply the mixture to the nails and tie them up with a cloth.

6. Orange Oil: Orange oil can remove white spots from your nails effectively. Put it on affected nails with droppers and wipe off the solution. You can use other nutrient oils (e.g., thyme oil) with it.

7. Vinegar: Mix one part vinegar with another half part water and soak your affected nails in the mixture for about 15 minutes. Let them dry naturally. Like some of the other oils on this list, vinegar has antifungal properties. Besides removing spots, it also helps nail growth.

8. Apple Cider Vinegar: Mix one part ACV with an equal part of water and rub it on affected nails. This mixture removes spots in a short time. In all, white spots spoil your nails’ look. Some knowledge of their causes and a few natural remedies will get rid of them.

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