There is one common myth around the condition where many people believe that white spots on nails are a sign of deficiency of calcium only. Apparently, the fact is white spots are not simply because of calcium or zinc deficiencies, there’s more to it. Scientifically known as Leukonychia, white spots on nails is a common condition. The main causes of this condition include either and injury to the matrix of the nail or an allergic reaction due to substances like nail hardeners, nail polish or sometimes even a mild infection.
Also known as milk spots or white nails, Leukonychia refers to a condition where the complete nail turns white in color. Here’s a run-down the different types and sub types of Leukonychia –
Leukonychia totalis – As the name suggests, it causes white discoloration of the complete nail.
Leukonychia Partialis – This type causes a partial discoloration of the nail and is further divided in three main types.
- Leukonychia Punctata – In this type, small white spots are seen on the nail.
- Leukonychia Transverse – Also known as mees lines, striate or transverse leukonychia condition is responsible of causing horizontal white lines running parallel to the lunula.
- Longitudinal Leukonychia – In this type, a white band surfaces down the nail.
Leukonychia is also divided based on the type of injury into two types.
- True Leukonychia – This is caused when there is an injury or damage to the nail. The white area of this nail is not affected by any pressure and grows as the nail does.
- Apparent Leukonychia – This is caused when the bed beneath the nail is affected. This white area does reduce under pressure and does not grow as the nail does.
Treatment – The treatment is based on the diagnosis and if the doctor finds any uncertainty then you need to undergo a few tests –
- Nail Biopsy – A tissue from the mail is removed and sent for testing
- Mycology – This test involves the examination of nail clippings and fungi
- Blood Test – This test is done to check the presence of a systematic disease
The white spots that are caused without any injury are harmless and grow out over time naturally. While if injury or trauma is the cause, then the doctor decides on the course of treatment.
Yes, white spots can be prevented from resurfacing by taking care of your nails and being cautious. Some of the preventive measures are –
- Avoid excess use of nail paint or polish
- Cut your nails on a regular basis and keep them short
- Use a moisturizer after washing nails to avoid dryness
- Avoid contact with substances that cause irritation
Well, generally white spots or Leukonychia is harmless in nature but only rarely can it be a sign of an underlying serious condition. Hence, if you find one, it is advisable that you see the doctor immediately.