White Toenails from Nail Polish


White chalky appearance is one of the major symptoms of a condition called as Leukonychia. Excessive use of nail paint could lead to white chalky nails. During this condition white dots and lines appear on the toenails. The condition first begins with white spots sparsely present followed by the full coverage over the entire toenail. Even though here can be a lot of other reasons behind this condition, experts say that one must restrain them from using it. So guys here we are with some ways with which you can prevent white toenails from nail polish and how you can prevent it.

Discoloration of toenails is usually observed after we remove our nail polish and so this festive season, dump the white chalky nails and groom your nails to flaunt them.

What are White Toenails?

Spots on nails and discoloration of nails are an indication of fungal infection, and if you forget to remove the polish especially dark colors fungus attacks become prominent. Nails, made up of keratin are the hardest structure of our body but it is not that impermeable, as it seems so. It soaks up the nail polish even more than your skin, thus inviting fungus.

What Causes White Toenails?

A simple cause behind white chalky appearance of toenails is the excessive dehydration of the keratin molecules, the main components of the nails leading to the formation of keratin granulations.  Generally the application of nail polish for too long, along with the use of a dehydrating nail polish remover and constant exposure of the nails to the harsh and drying chemical agents leads to a condition like this. As all these products are dehydrating agents, they dry out your nails, leading to the clumping of the keratin molecules to give a chalky appearance.

Appearance of white spots or dots is becoming common nowadays. Several issues can lead to its formation. Some of the possible causes include:

  • fungal infection
  • allergic reaction
  • nail injury
  • mineral deficiency

Allergic reaction

Sensitivity to certain chemicals causes an allergy, which is one of the common causes behind white spots. It is possible that the constituents of nail polish, hardener, gloss, or nail polish remover will result into white spots on your toenails. Acrylic or gel nails application can also damage your nails badly and lead to the formation of white spots.


White superficial onychomycosis is a type of infection that can make the nails appear white. The infection begins with small dots on the surface of the toenails, which further grows and spreads till the nail bed. They further become flaky and brittle.

Injury to the nail

Even an injury at the nail bed or the base of your toenail can create white spots on your nail. Injuries caused to the fingernails or toenails are usually not observable for about three to four weeks. And so as your nails grow, you forget about it.

Common sources of injuries to nails include:

  • accidentally striking your finger with some heavy object
  • shutting your fingers in a door
  • hitting your nails against a counter or desk

White toenails after pedicure also damages the nails and lead to the formation of white spots. The pressure applied on the nails by the manicurist may affect the nail bed.

Mineral deficiency

Deficiency of certain minerals and vitamins causes white dots, spots and further coverage of white and chalky appearance. The most common deficiencies which is linked to this condition are calcium deficiency and zinc deficiency.

Additional causes

There are some other reasons also that causes white spots on toenails, but they are less common. These causes include:

  • bad health
  • heart disease
  • renal (kidney) failure
  • pneumonia
  • psoriasis or eczema
  • arsenic poisoning

Symptoms of White Toenails

White spots are very common to occur and can appear in a variety of ways. They may look like-

  • tiny pen-point–sized dots
  • larger “lines” across the nail
  • larger individual dots

Also the cause for the white spots on your nail depends or dictates in the manner the spots appear. A nail injury is also a cause of a large white dot in the middle of the nail. An allergic reaction results into the several dots all over the nail. Therefore the appearance of the white dots or lines is different on each nail.


White spots on nails are quite infrequent and if you think they are in your case most likely related to injury, then it is fine if you do not see see your doctor about the issue. All you have to do is be little more careful to avoid injury or stop such activity you feel or suspect is responsible for the damage. On the other hand if you notice the spots are persistent or are becoming worse than it is recommended that you might see your doctor. Most issues that could cause the white spots can be easily treated once they are diagnosed.

Your doctor in your case will inspect your nails and your hands or feet. Based on its observations, it will diagnose and offer a prescription. The doctor may also ask you to go through several tests to eliminate possible causes. This is especially true if your doctor suspects that the white spots on your nails is due to vitamin or mineral deficiency.


There are quite a few treatment that usually vary depending upon the cause due to which the white spots appear.

Allergic reaction

Stop using the nail polish, gloss, or any such kind of nail product that you think may be responsible for your allergic reaction. In case you continue to have these symptoms of an allergic reaction even after you stop using the products, consult your doctor.


An oral antifungal medication is the most common treatment. This treatment is something that many doctors rely on and will also prescribe a topical antifungal treatment. The average treatment time is usually three months, and thus it is important to use the treatment through the prescribed period of time. Otherwise, you may not fully treat the infection.

Nail injuries

Most nail injuries generally just take their own time to heal. As the nail grows, the damage slowly moves up the nail bed. Over time, the white spots will entirely disappear.

Cosmetic treatments

If the discoloration of your nails is still a troublesome and you are looking for a temporary way to cover them up, then only use nail polish. Skin tone colored nail polish can be considered as a natural way to hide the spots. And colorful polishes are certainly fun and offer loads of personality.


Debridement is used for the treatment of white chalky thickened toenails. You can carefully debride or remove the effected nails portion, this will not only reduce the pain but also aloe the effective action of the topical treatment.

Topical medication

Topical medications includes Fungoid Tincture or ciclopirox (Penlac nail lacquer), a prescription treatment. There are a few drawbacks of topical medications against white chalky toenails like these medicines doesn’t enter and act deeply enough till the nail bed and work against the fungus. Also many a times, the patients forget to use t daily, as and when required.

Oral medication

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved certain oral medications for toenail fungus. These are terbinafine hydrochloride (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox). Both these medications have great success rate when used consistently, provided you take proper treatment of three months. Also it is important that blood tests are performed to monitor liver function in every 4 to 6 weeks, even though these drugs unlike other medications have not proved to be hard on liver.

Another medication, Fluconazole (Dilfucan), can be used as an off-label basis has been approved to treat the yeast infections for treating toenail fungus.

Home Remedies for White Spots

With the help of a variety of home based remedies you can treat nail fungus. So if you do not have the patience for scrubbing or want to perform the long and tedious manicure and pedicure process, you can try these home based remedies for your help.

  • Firstly clean the affected area using an antibacterial soap and water. Do this process daily.
  • Also give a few minutes for grooming your nails. Apply urea cream (Aluvea, Keralac) to the affected nails to soften them and then at night wrap clean bandages on the feet. Next day, wash your feet and trim your nails properly with the help of a nail clipper and a nail filer.
  • After gently filing your nails, use an over-the-counter fungal treatment cream over the nails.
  • You can also apply on your toenail Vicks VapoRub. Application of this each day may help to diminish the infection.
  • Application of the snakeroot extract every third day to the toenail for the first month, twice in a week for the second month, followed by once in a week for the third month.
  • Tea tree essential oil is famous for curing fungal and bacterial infections. This herbal oil is obtained from tea tree plant. It has a pale yellow color and mothball-like odor. Tea tree oil contains antiseptic and anti-bacterial components. It is ideal for the cure of white spots on toenails
  • Lemon- Soaking your toenails in water mixed with a tablespoon of fresh lemon juice. It is considered as one of the simplest natural home remedies for yellow toenails that you can try. It will remove yellow stains from the nails.
  • Baking soda or Sodium carbonate is an easy to reach ingredient. This homemade baking soda paste works like a miracle on your damaged nails. Baking soda is alkaline based and is full of antibacterial properties.
  • White vinegar is a combination of alcohol and acetic acid. Thus, it is a powerful remedy for nail paint which causes white spots.
  • Garlic cloves are power packs of antifungal and antibacterial properties. Garlic essential oil comes from garlic cloves and is capable of treating the toenails infection and white spots.
  • Lavender oil is famous for a wide range of therapeutic properties. This favorite herbal oil comes from the evergreen foliage- Lavender. It is sweet-scented oil and is rich in anti-inflammatory, antifungal, antidepressant, antiseptic and antimicrobial properties
  • Oregano essential oil comes from the dried wild oregano flowers and leaves and this therapeutic oil has a spicy aroma and golden color. Carvacrol and thymol in oregano oil are two powerful anti-microbial properties which are effective in treating toenails white spots. A blend of oregano and olive oil can rebuild your damaged nails by removing the white spots.

Additional Steps

When you notice white spots on your nails and in case you are wondering what to do, then here is the brief guide that you can follow-

Think back and then protect your nails.

If you have recently hit your nails or injured your fingers in any way and the toe nails are affected. Then protect your nails as best you can when doing anything where they may be pinched, hit, or smashed.

Take note of symptoms. 

Observe for any other change in the symptoms, such as changes to your nail color or texture. Are your nails turning yellow or becoming brittle? Then you may need to see your doctor for treatment.

Talk with your doctor. 

If you think the white spots on your nails are not caused by injury, you can make an appointment with your doctor. After an examination, your doctor will ask for a diagnosis and prescription.

Eat for better nail health.

 Eat a balanced diet and maintain adequate levels of vitamins to prevent side effects like white spots on your nails.

Wrapping Up!

For most of the people, white spots on your nails are nothing but a bothersome spot that take away the beauty of your nails. They rarely can be a sign of bigger problems, and in most cases they will disappear on their own without treatment. And if you have noticed the spots and are anxious about it then don’t worry. A quick visit to your doctor can help you clear up the spots and the reasons behind it as many treatments are fast and effective. For any further queries feel free to comment.

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