White spots on toenails might not always be as a result of a severe condition. What do these white spots mean? White spots on nails could be as a result of a wide range of causes including fungal infections, injuries, nutritional deficiency, and allergic reactions. This post covers in length the meaning, causes and how you can get rid of them. We have pictures to give you visual aid.
White spots on toenails- what does it mean?
White spots on toenails are a frequently reported complains that develops around the cuticle of toenails. They affect people regardless of age, sex, and geographic location. White spots on nails could be as a result of a wide range of causes, these include; fungal infections, injuries, nutritional deficiency, and allergic reactions. White spots on toenails may appear as very small semicircular discolorations.
White spots on nails could be treated through medical treatments, or home remedies. If the problem persists you should seek doctor’s advice.
White spots on toenails causes
Do you have white spots on toenails? This is probably a health problem on the toenail. White spots on toenails are common and are caused by different factors. Some of the common causes of white spots on nails include:
Mineral and nutritional deficiency can lead to white spots on toenails. The deficiencies are most commonly linked to zinc, iron, and calcium deficiency.
White spots on toenails could a symptom of zinc deficiency. Zinc helps maintain strong immunity in the body. Lack of this vital mineral makes you vulnerable to infections and could, therefore, cause white spots on toenails.
Calcium mineral is vital for both teeth and bone development. Calcium is also essential for the development of healthy strong nails. Calcium deficiency may lead to weak nails which could be susceptible to injury and infections that lead to white spots on the nails.
Iron deficiency leads to problems in the distribution of nutrients in the body. This could, therefore, lead to brittle toenails with white spots.
Vitamin E deficiency
Vitamin E helps keep the immunes system strong against bacterial, viral and fungal infections. Inadequate vitamin E can lead to infections and diseases which are known to cause white spots on nails.
Fungi are a major cause of white spots on toenails. A common nail fungus called onychomycosis may appear on the toenails. This infection is characterized by small white spots on nails. This infection makes toenails appear flaky, thick and brittle. This infection makes the discoloration larger and may even spread to other toenails. In some cases, your toenails may develop multiple colors besides the white spots.
The main factors that contract fungal infections of nails include:
- Sharing footwear: this happens when you share shoes or socks with an infected person.
- Nail polish: nail polish block circulation of air in the nail, this may encourage the development of fungal infections.
- Walking barefoot: soil contains so many microorganisms that may lead to fungal infections of nails
- Sweaty feet: the moist environment in your shoes as a result of sweating creates a favorable condition for the development of fungal infections.
- Injury on toenail
- An injury at the base of your fingernail can cause white spots on your nails as they grow. These small injuries on cuticle appear as small white mark or chip on the nail surface. Some injuries might take some time for white spots to appear due to slow growth of nails.
White spots on toenails may be as a result of various allergies. The most common causes of allergic reactions are some products used for cosmetic purposes. The products that cause allergic reactions on your toenails include nail polishes, nail polish removers, and nail herders. The spots do not appear immediately but only after the product has been used for a long period of time. This should not be a problem since it can end when the use of the product is discontinued.
There are some diseases whose symptoms include toenails having white spots. These diseases include;
- Liver disease
- Kidney disease
- Heart disease
The above conditions are rare causes of white spots on toenails. If you experience persistent white spots on your nails, it is important if you consult a doctor.
Wearing closed and tight footwear may exert undue pressure and friction on your foot especially toenails. This may, therefore, lead white spots on your nails. Tight shoes could also cause sweating and inadequate air supply on your feet, this could lead to the development of fungi on foot and as stated earlier, fungi causes white spots on your nails.
White spots on toenails after pedicure
A pedicure is a cosmetic treatment of the feet and toenails. Pedicures are done for several reasons, including cosmetic, therapeutic and medicinal purposes. You may think great pedicures are the ones that last for weeks but this could bring along some consequences.
If the nail polish is left for too long on your toenails, it can soak into the top layers of the toenail and dry it out. When this happens, yeast, bacteria, and mold can develop underneath the nail plate. When you finally remove the polish from your toenails, the toenails will look stained or have white spots. If this happens, you can follow some procedure to treat them but it will take some time.
White spots on nails after removing polish
Do you observe white spots on toenails after removing nail polish? White spots on toenails after removing nail polish could be as a result of allergic reactions from the use of harsh nail polish products. White spots on toenails after removing nail polish could also be as a result of the soaking of the polish on the top layers of the nails and dry it out. Once the polish is removed, it leaves white patches on the nails.
If that happens, try to use change the polish product. Not painting nails for a while could also help clear up white spots on nails.
White spots on toenails pictures
The picture below is to provide you a visual aid on how the white spots appear on the toenails. Throughout the post, you will find more pictures.
White spots on toenails fungus pictures
The following are pictures that show a clear indication of toenails infected with fungus:
White spots on toenails treatment
White spots are completely harmless, even when not treated immediately. Treatment of white spots on toenails involves taking care of underlying cause if they appear large and many. The following is an insight on how to treat the white spots on toenails:
Antifungal nail polish
Antifungal nail polish is a common treatment, and many doctors will also prescribe a topical antifungal nail polish like Ciclopirox. These products are not only effective for treating nails but also covering spots. Every layer that you apply creates a protective layer that is necessary to remove these areas using a cotton ball that has been soaked with alcohol for 7 days.
Anti-fungal medication is the most common treatment of fungal infections. Your doctor will administer an oral antifungal medication for fungal infections. Oral antifungals should be highly preferred because it is difficult to apply creams under the nail. When you use topical antifungal, the treatment takes longer than expected.
You can also use antifungal spray that can do the trick of preventing the growth of fungi spores. You can also try an antifungal soap with tea tree oil.
These treatments should consistently go on for about three months to cure the infection completely.
This is the use of lasers to heat nail bed and disrupt fungus growth. Laser treatment is a shorter treatment. The main challenges for laser treatment are that it is expensive, sometimes painful and requires multiple treatments.
Avoid allergic products
If the white spots on your toenails are as a result of an allergic reaction, you should stop using the product and consult your doctor.
White vinegar is a natural home remedy and it is a fast way to get rid of the white spots on the nails. The following is the procedure on how to ensure white vinegar works effectively;
- Mix two parts vinegar and one part water in a tub or basin.
- Soak your toes in the solution for about 20-30 minutes.
- Repeat the process at least twice a day. Continue the remedy until the spots disappear.
- You can reuse the same vinegar solution two to three times
Many white spots on toenails are as a result of poor nutrition. The mineral deficiency can be corrected with a diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and zinc. Considering the nature of white spots on your nails, you can consult your doctor
Avoid Fungus Spreading
It is as important to prevent the spread of fungus as it is to control the fungal growth and this can be achieved by frequent washing of hands and feet with soap and warm water. For better maintenance, keep your toenails short and clean. Until you get clear of fungus fully, make sure to continue your therapies along with home remedies. It is also very important to dry your feet with a clean towel and avoid sharing the use of personal items like towels, pedicure kits, and nail clippers.
How to get rid of white spots on toenails home remedy
There are various approaches used to get rid of white spots on nails. White spots toenail can be easily cleared through the use of home remedies. Home remedies require long-term administration and are slow to exert action, don’t worry if it takes time to show effect. Home remedies are also cheaper and safer than the use of topical anti-fungal creams.
The following is an insight of some of the most common remedies:
Tea tree oil
The most active ingredients of tea tree oil are responsible for its anti-fungal properties and it is effective against toenail fungus. Tea tree oil and its active ingredients are also responsible for managing the growth of other microbial agents without causing damage to nails or the surrounding skin.
You should ensure that you use 100 percent tea tree oil and apply it every day to the surface of your toenails after you soak them.
Apple cider vinegar
Apple cider vinegar is used to treat a wide range of health problems. This is because it contains anti-fungal properties that enable it to be used to treat white spots on toenails.
The following is the procedure to use to ensure that apple cider vinegar is an effective remedy for white spots on toenails:
- Add a little water to apple cider vinegar in a cup to dilute it
- Dip a piece of cotton wool into the dilute solution
- Massage the cotton wool into the affected are for about 15 minutes
- Repeat this procedure twice a day for about 3 weeks or until the infection heals
Ensure that you maintain a balanced diet. For you to have healthy nails, consume optimal amounts of vitamins, minerals, and macronutrients. You should ensure that your diet contains vitamin A, B, C, D and E. you should also include zinc, calcium, and magnesium.
Hydrogen peroxide promotes regeneration of cells and nail tissues. Because of its bleaching properties, hydrogen peroxide is applied using cotton swabs, twice a day on the toenails with white spots to get rid of them
Lemon contains strong antibiotic properties that are vital in curing fungal infections and strengthening the ravished cells. Lemongrass is a powerful anti-fungal herb; it also stimulates growth and regeneration of fresh cells in the nails and is very effective in the treatment of toenail fungal infection. White spots on toenails are removed by soaking the toenails in a mixture of lemon extract and iodine in equal proportion. This treatment is very effective
Garlic contains antifungal and antimicrobial capabilities. Garlic paste can be applied to the infected nails and left over before it is washed and dried with clothes. Decolorized iodine is very effective in treatment of fungus related white spots on nails. The lotion should be applied twice a day, topically on the affected areas, for effective results.
Yoghurt contains lactobacillus acidophilus which is effective in curing toenail fungus, especially those caused by yeast infection. Yoghurt can be topically applied on the toenails and left to dry around 20 minutes before being washed. You should dry nails after thorough cleaning.
Cinnamon oil contains anti-fungal properties that could help in curing fungal infection of nails. Cinnamon can be applied directly to the affected area for it to be effective.
Oregano oil has a strong anti-fungal attributes which is an effective remedy for toenail fungus. This oil is should be applied twice a day to the toenails with white spots.
Thyme is an effective antitoxic herb. It helps eliminate nutritional disparities from the body and also inhibits abnormal development of fungi. This remedy is effective for naturally curing fungal infections of toenails and could therefore remove white spots.
Coconut oil is a perfect home remedy rich in anti-fungal properties. This product is applied locally on the affected areas three times a day to help get rid of white spots on nails. Coconut oil also prevents contact of toenails with moisture thus inhibiting the growth of fungus.
Moisturize your toenails to prevent white spots
This is an effective way to get rid of the white spots on your nails. This could prevent white spots that may occur as a result of injuries or an allergy.
Tips to prevent white spots on toenails
Instead of worrying too much about the treatment of white spots, you could consider some precautionary measures to avoid the occurrence of white spots on the toenails. The following are the tips you should consider:
- Proper cutting of nails: Maintain proper length of your nails to avoid infection or trauma. Cut your toenails horizontally in a straight fashion, about once a week.
- Keep the toenails moisturized: Try to maintain or restore the natural oils in your nails and skin by using creams, lotion or other moisturizers, especially after doing activities that can cause dryness to the skin and nails.
- Maintain a healthy diet: Eat a healthy, balanced diet that includes fruits and vegetables, calcium-rich foods, as well as zinc-containing foods. If your diet is insufficient to correct your nutritional deficiencies, consider taking supplements as advised by the doctor.
- Proper footwear: Be cautious when engaging in activities that may cause trauma to your toenails. Wear protective shoes in case there is a likelihood of an object falling on your toes.
- Prevent Infection: You can prevent infections on your toenails. Avoid walking barefoot in suspicious places and sharing footwear. Also, keep your feet sweat free by use of foot powders.
- Maintain Cleanliness: Keep your feet and toenails clean. This way, you will prevent fungal infections in your toenails and hence prevent the formation of white spots on them
- Use sharp and clean clippersto cut the nails and a cardboard nail file instead of a metal file. File the nails from the outer to the inner side in one direction
- Keep your feet dry: Moist conditions in favor the development of fungal infections. To avoid this, keep your feet dry to avoid the development of this. Remember to always dry your feet properly before wearing shoes. You may also use foot powders to keep your feet dry
Sources and references
- White spots on toenails causes: http://www.newhealthadvisor.com/white-spots-on-toenails.html
- White spots on toenails causes: http://www.healthline.com/health/white-spots-on-nails#overview1
- How to get rid of white spots on toenails home remedies: http://www.newhealthguide.org/White-Spots-On-Toenails.html
- White spots on toenails treatment: http://www.treatcure.com/spots/white-spots-toenails-meaning-pictures-causes-get-rid-treatment-home-remedies/
- White sports on toenails pedicure: http://www.nice-feet.net/what-causes-white-toenails-and-how-do-i-fix-them/
- White spots on toenails after removing polish: https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2015/07/why-you-should-give-your-toenails-a-break-from-polish/
- White spots on toenails- what does it mean? https://www.drweil.com/health-wellness/balanced-living/healthy-living/worried-about-white-spots-on-fingernails/