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HomeLIFESTYLELeukonychia or white spots on nails: do you know what it means?

Leukonychia or white spots on nails: do you know what it means?

Have you ever had leukonychia or white spots on your nails? We explain what they can say about your health. Take note!

many of us have had leukonychia or white spots on the nails, although we did not have an absolute notion of the name of these small brands, nor their meaning in terms of health. We assume leuconychia or white spots on nails as a characteristic of our body, similar to moles or other blemishes present in our skin, for example.

However, can leukonychia or white spots on nails say something more about the state of our health? Are they a sign of a problem? To clarify all doubts about this topic, read what follows.

Leukonychia or white spots on nails. Get to know more

Leukonychia or white spots on nails is not a disease, nor a health problem. Generally, this sign appears on our fingernails and/or toenails, without being associated with the appearance of any other symptoms. This is basically a change in the structure of the nail.

However, if this type of spot appears very regularly, it may be cause for concern. It is because it can arise due to a lack of vitamin B12 or minerals such as calcium and/or zinc, although it is often caused by minor traumas that occur in the performance of daily tasks.

Although it is usually harmless, it is always recommended to have a good nutrition and hydration of the nail, in order to avoid this problem.

types of leukonychia

There are different types of leukonychia, which are distinguished by the area of ​​the nail affected by the white spots.

  • Leukonychia punctata corresponds to one or more white spots on the nail;
  • Striated leukonychia is characterized by short white bands along the nail;
  • Total, partial or transverse leukonychia refers to an affected nail surface much larger than that achieved in the previous typologies.

Possible causes

We have already advanced some of the possible origins for leukonychia or white spots on nails. What is certain is that, when this type of brand appears, it is because there has been some change in the nail matrix.

Among the most common causes for this change are:

  • allergy to certain substances, such as cleaning products, for example;
  • deficiency of calcium, iron, zinc, silicon, folic acid and/or vitamin B12. Usually, this lack of nutrients is due to bad eating habits;
  • trauma, such as pinching your finger or dropping something heavy on it;
  • taking antibiotics, mainly sulfonamides;
  • treatments like chemotherapyfor example;
  • hormonal changes in women;
  • existence of diseases such as anemia, psoriasisvitiligo, tuberculosisπŸ‡§πŸ‡· kidney disease or ringwormπŸ‡§πŸ‡·

note: when leukonychia is total, that is, when the white spot covers a considerable area of ​​the nail, genetic factors may be at the origin.

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Treatment and prevention of Leukonychia or white spots on nails

As this is not usually a health problem, with other associated symptoms, it is expected that the white spots will disappear naturally, as they appeared.

However, there are some preventive measures and precautions that can be adopted, especially for those who have this type of stains more often or in greater quantity. Some of these measures are:

  • wear gloves whenever handling more abrasive or aggressive products, such as detergents;
  • in the case of painting your nails, it is important to make sure that you remove the varnish well before painting your nails again, as well as reinforcing their hydration;
  • ensure that you have a healthy, rich and varied diet, in order to avoid a lack of minerals that are particularly important for the health of your nails. So, don’t forget to include in your daily diet ingredients such as: milk, peppers, red meat, strawberries, almonds, turkey, salmon, shellfish, lentils and spinach, rich in these essential nutrients.

Article originally published December 2021. Updated November 2022.

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