What Causes White Spots On Toenails And Simple Home Remedies


What Causes White Spots On Toenails

What Are White Spots on Toenails?

Have you ever noticed any white or slightly yellowish spots on your toenails? If the answer is yes, there's no need to worry.

Many adults encounter this condition at some point in their lives, and it is completely harmless. Still, it's important to know how to prevent and remove white spots on your toenails.

The most common cause of white spots or lines on the toenails is physical trauma, which may be a result of banging your toe, dropping something on your toe, or kicking something.

Other common causes include allergic reactions, fungal infections, and mineral deficiencies.

People get these spots quite frequently and very easily. Fortunately, treating the problem with home remedies is not difficult at all.

What Causes White Spots on Toenails?

What Causes White Spots On Toenails

The medical term for white spots on the finger or toenails is leukonychia. The appearance of these spots can vary from person to person and may appear as tiny white spots speckled across the nail, or as larger spots that stretch across the entire nail.

They may be round or have a semi-circular shape, and can appear on one or several nails. These white spots usually appear first on the cuticle, the outermost layer of skin located at the base of the toenail.

They then slowly move outwards as the nails grow longer. You can always cut your nails to remove the spots, but if there's an underlying cause, they will eventually reappear at the bottom of the nail.

To effectively treat and remove white spots on your toenails, it is therefore important to first identify the underlying causes. White spots may appear as a result of damage to the nail bed, fungal infection, deficiency of certain vitamins and minerals.

  • White spots on the toenails are frequently caused by fungal infections, such as white superficial onychomycosis. This infection begins as a few small white dots on the nails, which then spread to the nail bed, and may cause your toenails to become thick and brittle.

    You are most at risk of developing white superficial onychomycosis if you frequently walk barefoot, or wear footwear that causes your feet to sweat a lot.
  • Injury to the nails or damage to the nail matrix is a common cause of white spots on your toenails. This may be caused by an accident, such as stubbing your toe or dropping something heavy on your foot.

    Other causes of trauma to the nails and nail matrix include nail biting, manicures, or wearing footwear that is too small. White spots that occur as a result of trauma will disappear eventually as the nail grows out.
  • Deficiency in certain vitamins and minerals, particularly calcium and zinc, can also cause white spots to appear on your toenails.

    Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables can help to solve this problem. In some cases, dietary supplements may be necessary to make the white spots disappear. Talk to your doctor to determine the best options for you.

White Spots on Toenails Treatments

White spots on toenails are completely harmless, even when not treated immediately.

However, they may indicate an underlying health issue, and you'll have to take proactive measures. Fortunately, there are several effective, simple, and inexpensive remedies you can try to address the cause of your white spots.

1. White Vinegar

white spots on toenails


photo by: Mike Mozart

White vinegar is a natural home remedy, and is one of the easiest and fastest ways to get rid of those ugly-looking dots. To treat your white spots using white vinegar, take the following steps:

  • 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 treatment until the spots disappear.
  • You can reuse the same vinegar solution two to three times.

2. Tea Tree Oil

white patches on toenail

Tea tree oil is the next most effective solution to combat white spots due to its strong antifungal and antiseptic properties.

  • Soak a cotton ball with tea tree oil. There's no need to dilute it with water or any other oil, but it's important to use 100 percent pure tea tree oil manufactured by a reputable brand.
  • Secure the cotton ball against your affected toes with a bandage, and wait about 45 minutes to let the tea tree oil seep into the nail.
  • Remove the cotton ball and gently massage the affected area for a few minutes.
  • Wash and clean the toes well and dry them thoroughly with a clean towel.
  • Repeat this process for 8-10 days to see results.

3. Ointment

what are the white spots on my toenails

Medical treatments, such as ointments, are often an effective way to remove white spots, as these eliminate the fungus that causes the infection.

This method may be advisable for people with persistent white spots that can’t be removed using home remedies. Many over-the-counter ointments are easily available for purchase at an affordable price. If you're not sure which one to use, ask your doctor for a prescription.

4. Proper Diet

what do white spots on toenails mean

For many people, white spots on the toenails appear due to poor nutrition. Deficiencies can be corrected with a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals, especially calcium and zinc.

If you have severe deficiencies, please consult your doctor, as you may need to take dietary supplements to boost your vitamin and mineral intake

5. Antifungal Spray

If your white spots keep coming back, then it is likely that you have a fungal infection such as white superficial onychomycosis.

If your infection is persistent and home remedies aren’t helping, a good antifungal spray can do the trick in eliminating the fungus once and for all. You can also try Antifungal Soap with Tea Tree Oil, or ask your doctor for other recommendations.

6. Apple Cider Vinegar or Baking Soda

Apple cider vinegar and baking soda, which can be found in almost every kitchen, can also be highly effective in preventing and treating white spots on toenails.

Simply apply either of them to the affected toenails with a clean cotton ball twice a day for 8-10 days, or until your white spots disappear.

Remember, apple cider vinegar and baking soda are to be applied separately. There is no need to mix them; you will not get double the effect.

Preventing White Spots on Toenails

Getting rid of white spots on your toenails can take a while, particularly if you have to wait for them to grow out naturally after treating the underlying causes, or if they appear as a result of trauma to the nail bed.

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, and there are several ways to avoid getting unsightly spots on your nails:

  • Change your socks daily, avoid walking barefoot, and keep your feet clean and dry to reduce your risk of developing a fungal infection.
  • Minimize your risk of injuring your feet by wearing shoes that fit properly and provide adequate protection to your toes.
  • Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits, vegetables, and foods that are rich in calcium and zinc. Take multivitamins if necessary.

Your Turn

White spots on toenails are common, and affect people regardless of age, sex, or geographic location.

Women should not try to cover these spots with nail polish, as doing so will not solve the underlying problem. Instead, focus on eradicating the cause.

While white spots on toenails can be easily treated at home, they may be an indication of other health issues such as a fungal infection or nutrient deficiency.

If your white spots are persistent and do not arise as a result of trauma to the nail bed, it may be best to consult your doctor; remember, a physician is the best person to diagnose and treat any underlying problems.

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