If you notice small white spots have developed on your fingernails or toenails, don’t ignore them. Those white spots, called leukonychia, could be symptoms of a nutrient deficiency or a serious health issue.
Many doctors, nutritionists and other healthcare professionals make it a practice to check a patient’s fingernails as part of diagnosing health issues.
In her book The Skin, Tongue and Nails Speak: Observational Signs of Nutritional Deficiencies, nutrition consultant Donna Burka Wild explains that many capillaries bring nutrients to the nail bed. This, plus how quickly our nails grow, make the state of our nail beds a good indicator of what’s going on with our overall health.
10. Nail Bed Injury
White spots on the nail bed could be there simply because you injured your finger. These signs of trauma, whether slight or severe, can usually be trimmed away as the nail bed grows. But don’t expect them to grow out quickly. Nail beds grow faster in colder seasons, but still take months to grow enough for leukonychia from injuries to reach the top of the nail.
Even if you think the white spots in your nails are from an injury, it’s a good idea to consider other reasons they might be there too.
9. Nail Treatment Damage
Manicures and artificial nails can also cause injury to nail beds, creating white spots on the nail plates. As with other types of fingernail injuries, these spots will move up as your nails grow and allow you to eventually trim them away.
Products used for manicures and applying nail tips can easily cause nail bed injury. Nail lacquers are common culprits. It’s also possible you could have an allergic reaction to certain nail treatment products, causing white spots to form.