A manicure requires painstaking effort, but white spots on nails may spoil it.
What are white spots on nails? What causes these unsightly white marks to appear? Most importantly, how do you remove them? We have the answers.
What are white spots on nails? Types
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.
What Causes White Spots 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.
First of all, white spots on nails may arise because of allergic reactions to nail polish. Using 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.
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
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
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 on nails
White spots on nails 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 which 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.
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 removes white spots on 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.
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 on nails spoil their look. Some knowledge of their causes and a few natural remedies will get rid of them.
By Michelle L.
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