What Do The White Marks on Your Fingernails Mean?

· October 10, 2014
Their origins have been the subject of urban legends for a long time. When one of these marks would appear, people used to think that they were for every lie you told, or because of a calcium deficiency.

Leukonychia is a fingernail condition common worldwide, although most people don’t know its name. This condition refers to those small yellow or white marks on your fingernails. They look like little “clouds” that only show up on certain parts of your nail.

What causes the white marks on your fingernails?

As convincing as some of these legends and theories might sound, they’re all wrong. The small white marks on your fingernails don’t look nice, but they’re harmless. According to Dr. Pablo Unamuno at the University of Salamanca hospital, it comes from inflammation or trauma to the base of the nail. That’s what causes the discoloration.

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He says that our nails grow a millimeter every ten days. So, if you see one of these white marks, the injury was probably about two or three months ago.

According to Dr. Rosa Senan, minor blows to the nails, rough or aggressive manicures, constant nail biting, or poorly cut cuticles can cause these small white marks on your fingernails.

white marks on your fingernails

Is there a way to get rid of them?

There’s not currently any treatment for leukonychia. You just have to wait for your nail to grow out, then cut the part with the mark on it. You can also cover it up with dark nail polish.

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If just one small mark appears on your nail, don’t worry too much about it. But if you have a line going from one side to another, your nail might have more severe damage.

In that case, see a dermatologist so you can get an accurate diagnosis. Another reason to see a doctor is if your nail starts to become significantly lighter or darker. Dr. Unamuno says that the problem isn’t with the nail in this case, it’s with the nail bed (underneath the nail). It can be a sign of an underlying illness, which is why it’s worth seeing a doctor.

Advice for preventing white marks

The main tips for avoiding these marks are:

  • Constant hydration
  • Don’t use harsh brushes to clean your nails
  • Keep a balanced diet
  • Don’t clean them excessively or aggressively

So, now that you know the real cause of these white marks, you can keep them off your fingernails by following this advice!