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How Do I Get Rid of White Spots on Fingernails?

White spots may be a reaction to nail polish or polish remover.
An allergic reaction to fingernail polish might cause white spots on nails.
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  • Written By: Kathleen Howard
  • Edited By: Kaci Lane Hindman
  • Last Modified Date: 30 September 2014
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White spots on fingernails, also referred to as leukonychia, typically form after the nail bed has suffered physical trauma. While white spots on nails can be unsightly, the only way to get rid of them is to wait for the nails to grow out. If the white spots worsen or keep appearing, they might be caused by an infection, allergic reaction or more serious health problem. In most cases, this condition will need to be addressed before the spots will disappear.

Physical trauma is the most common cause of white spots on fingernails. After these spots have appeared, the only way to eliminate them is to wait for the spots to grow out. To disguise these spots, you can apply colored polish to the damaged nails. As the spots are growing out, avoid biting your nails or using your fingers as tools. Applying heavy pressure to your nails might cause new spots to form.

Although white spots are usually indicative of a damaged nail bed, fungal infections can also cause white or yellow spots. If a fungal infection is to blame, use an anti-fungal cream or nail lacquer as directed in the product’s instructions. The anti-fungal should improve the appearance of your nails. If the spots worsen or fail to improve, contact a physician for a prescription strength anti-fungal.

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Allergic reactions can also cause white spots on fingernails. If these spots have appeared after using a new hand lotion or nail polish, discontinue using the product. This will prevent new spots from forming, and allow the existing spots to grow out of your nails.

In rare cases, liver or kidney problems can lead to white spots on fingernails. If this is the cause, the nails might turn completely white or suddenly appear spotted. Certain skin conditions like eczema can sometimes also cause white spots on fingernails. If you suspect that you might be suffering from one of these conditions, contact a dermatologist. A dermatologist will diagnose your condition and might also help you improve the health of your nails.

While white spots on fingernails occur for many different reasons, people often mistake the cause for a vitamin or mineral deficiency. Although a vitamin deficiency might cause the nails to become brittle, poor diet does not typically cause white spots to appear on the nails. Therefore, improving your diet or taking specific supplements will not make the spots disappear. The only real cure for white spots on fingernails is time. In healthy individuals, white spots should grow out of the nails in approximately eight weeks.

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