Nails, both fingernails and toenails, are expected to be pale pink and are usually lighter towards the bottom. But there are cases where you have white spots on toenails or any even fingernails. This is a case known as punctuate leukonychia. The white spots could be tiny and appear in multiple places on some nails. On other nails, it is larger, stretching across the entire nail. Leukonychia is common and could be a result of injury to the nail bed hence may be entirely harmless.
However, besides injury to the nail bed, these unusual white spots on toenails or any other nails could be caused by a number of other factors including mineral deficiency, allergic reaction, and fungal infection. This article will focus on fungal infection because it is the most popular toenails problem a major reason why many people have white spots on toenails.
Toenail Fungus As Cause Of White Spots On Toenails
Also known as onychomycosis, toenail fungus affects at least 14 percent of a population at any given time according to a 2014 research. It usually starts as one or more white spots under the tip of the nail and could quickly spiral into discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of nails. The pain becomes ugly and often quite painful. Toenail fungus can spread quickly from nail to nail hence must be treated as soon as noticed. The treatment normally lasts a few months yet with a high rate of recurrence.
Causes of Toenail Fungus
Toenail fungus is more common among athletes as well as older adults. The reasons are as follow:
Nail cracks: as we age, the nails become very dry and begin to have cracks. These openings are a perfect opportunity for a fungal infection to thrive.
A suppressed or weakened immune system: our body has its guard which destroys prying infections and keeps it safe. This guard or protective unit is called the immune system. But as we age or as a result of a health condition, the body’s immune system can get weakened or suppressed hence leaving the body limited ability to fight off infections.
Lack of proper nail or foot care: Fungal is enormous and everywhere around us. They thrive in wet or damp, dark, and warm places such as gyms, local swimming pools, showers, etc. Therefore, if your feet are not properly dry and you walk barefoot in a locker room or local swimming pool, you are more prone to nail fungus. Wearing wet shoes and socks are also contributing factors.
Treatment of toenail fungus
Toenail fungus is usually difficult to treat and would usually take a few months even when treated with powerful and effective antifungal agents. However, you can treat toenails effectively at home using simple home remedies.
Home remedies for toenail fungus/White Spots On Toenails
Tea tree oil
This oil is derived from the ancient Australian Tea tree. It is very rich in antifungal and antibacterial properties which rank it among one of the most effective agents for treating nail fungus. It is a key component or the active agent in many over-the-counter products for treating toenail fungus. Tea tree oil will destroy the fungus and restore a clear and healthy nail. Many people have had massive success using tea tree oil to get rid of white spots on toenails – and it doesn’t even matter if the white spots on toenails are as a result of nail fungus or other conditions.
- Nail preparation: before applying tea tree oil to the affected nail, it is important to clean, trim, and file it if necessary. If the nail is already thick, filing is important to allow effective treatment because this solution is topical. Ensure your fingernails are away as much as possible because nail fungus spreads easily and quickly. Wash the nail with warm water and soap after filing then dry it thoroughly.
- Oil dilution: dilute tea tree oil with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, olive oil, and jojoba oil to increase its penetrative ability hence effectiveness. The carrier oil should be more than tea tree oil.
- Application: apply a thin layer of the oil mixture on the affected area. Do this at least three times a day. If irritation occurs, reduce the quantity you are using or dilute it more. If irritation persists, stop using it. Tea tree oil is not to be taken internally.
Coconut oil is a very useful oil. It is used for skincare and haircare. It is an antioxidant and can be used both internally and externally. When applied to an infected nail, coconut oil stops fungus growth and begins to eradicate it.
- Prepare the nail as described above.
- Apply coconut oil and bandage it for proper absorption into the nail bed.
Other home remedies include baking soda, bleach, clove oil, etc.
Other treatments of nail fungus as well as to clear white spots on toenails
- Over-the-counter products such as Emoninail and Naturasil, Kerasal, clear nails plus, funginix and emuaid are known to be quite reliable in clearing nail fungus. You can read our review of all the best nail fungus treatments.
Other causes of white spots on toenails