What Do White Marks on Fingernails Mean?

· October 10, 2014

Leukonychia is a fingernail disease that many people around the world have. However, its name is not very well-known. This condition refers to those small white or yellowish discolorations that appear on the inside of your nails; they look like small “clouds” that only appear in certain parts.

Their origen has been the subject of urban legends for a long time. When one of these marks would appear, they thought they were for every lie you told or that they were due to an absence of calcium in your body.

Are these Theories True?

Although any of these legends or theories may sound convincing, they are all wrong in reality. The small marks that may be ugly but harmless tend to appear because “there was an inflammatory process or trauma in the nail’s quick that caused keratinization to be abnormal.” That is how doctor Pablo Unamuno explained it, who is the Department Head of Dermatology in the Clinical Hospital of Salamanca, a member of the Spanish Academy of Dermatology and Venereology. “The nail grows a millimeter every ten days, so when you see a mark in the middle of the nail that means that the lesion was produced two or three months ago.”

According to doctor Rosa Senan, slight blows to the nails, rough or aggressive manicures, continuous nail chewing, or poorly cut cuticles can cause small lesions to appear in your nails.

Is there a Treatment?

Currently, there is no type of treatment for Leukonychia. You just have to wait for your nail to grow to cut the part with the mark on it. You can also hide it with dark nail polish.

If only one small mark appears on your nail, you shouldn’t worry. However, if you get a line that goes from one side to the other, it’s possible that you have damaged your nail. In this case, you should see a dermatologist so that they can do a diagnosis of the problem. Another reason why you should go to the doctor is because the nail can begin to darken or lighten significantly. “In this case, the  problem isn’t in the nail but rather in the nail bed (underneath the nail) and can alert you to an underlying illness” warns Professor Unamuno.

Advice for Avoiding It

The main tips for avoiding these marks on your nails are:

  • – Continuous hydration
  • – Don’t use harsh brushes to clean your nails
  • – Follow a balanced diet
  • – Don’t clean them excessively or aggressively