Top 6 Causes Of White Streaks On Toenails – Tips For Healthy Nails!

Normally, people have pale pink nails with a crescent-shaped structure called a lunula at the end. However, the majority of people have white spots on their nails. 

Indeed, nails on the feet are one of the most ignorant parts of the body. Therefore, it is common to see white streaks on toenails. Certainly, the causes of white streaks and color patches on toenails may vary from dehydration to fungal attack.

In this article, you will get a complete guide on what causes white streaks on toenails and how to get rid of them? Besides these, you will find tips on how to take care of your toenails.

What Do White Streaks On Toenails Mean?

As you paint or trim your toenails, you might notice white spots. Then you might wonder whether this is harmful to you. Should you seek medical attention right away? Or where did these white spots come from?

White Streaks On Toenails

Certainly, discoloration, thickening, and brittleness of your nails may mean something is wrong with your body. However, it does not necessarily warrant medical attention. In fact, these symptoms are harmless and not a cause for concern.

In most cases, white spots on toenails are not a problem. Sometimes, they appear after a bump or from a mild fungal attack, which a doctor can treat easily. But, in rare cases, toenails may indicate a more serious issue, like a vitamin deficiency or skin disease.

What Causes White Streaks In Toenails?

There are lots of folks who experience spotty, patchy, or discolored toenails. Patients express concern that the spots will eventually damage the entire nail or spread to the other toes. Others need their nails cleaned and healthy.

You can prevent and treat white toenails by understanding the causes and treatment options for them. Following are a few top causes of white streaks on toenails and fingernails.

Leukonychia

Leukonychia is a condition in which white spots or lines appear on fingers or toenails. It is a common nail issue. Even a healthy man will get these spots at least once in his lifetime. However, it is a harmless condition.

Sometimes, it appears as tiny dots scattered across the nails. Meanwhile, others may observe white, larger spots covering the entire nail. They may affect one or more nails.

Leukonychia causes white streaks or spots on toenails

A nail bed injury is the leading cause of leukonychia. It can be caused by pinching or striking the nail or finger. As well, nail beds can also be damaged by frequent manicures and pedicures or by using gel or acrylic nails.  

Moreover, various other factors may also contribute to the formation of these spots. Leukonychia can be observed in the following ways.

  • Painless white spots
  • Small pen-point sized white dots
  • Large white lines across the nails
  • Horizontal bands across the nails

On their own, white spots do not require treatment. In the case of trauma-induced white spots, they will naturally fade away. For cases, where they are not associated with trauma, the doctor needs to identify the source and treat it separately.

Anyone who is concerned about white spots on their nails should consult a doctor.

Fungal Attack

Fungal nail attack is one of the most common reasons for nail damage. Fungal infection occurs when fungus growth multiplies on, in, or under the nails. There, it feeds the keratin in your nail. Therefore, it results in spotting, streaking, and white patches on nails. 

Onychomycosis attack on nails

White superficial onychomycosis causes toenail infection. It’s the same fungus responsible for athlete’s foot, jock itch, and ringworm. Toenails suffer from this disease more than fingernails, as they are usually enclosed in warm, moist environments (shoes).

You can get different types and severity levels of fungus on your nails. Some may cause colored or discolored patches, while others may cause nails to pop off their nail beds. When the nail is no longer attached to the nail bed, it loses its pink color and becomes white instead. 

Severity level of an onychomycosis attack on the toenail
Severity level of an onychomycosis attack on the toenail

Moreover, some fungal infections cause white, crumbly, and flaky areas on the nails. Consequently, it results in the distortion of the nail’s appearance.

Fungal toenail

Following are the symptoms of fungal nails infection:

  • Discoloration of the entire or a patch of the nail—black, white, yellow, and green
  • The unusual shape and hard texture
  • Difficult to trim
  • Ragged, or crumbly nails
  • Pain or discomfort in the toenail
  • Nails have a faintly foul odor

Although it is impossible to undo the damage done to a nail once it has been done, it is possible to prevent the damage from continuing and getting worse, allowing your nails to grow clear and healthy.

Therefore, your doctor will try to prevent and stop the fungal activity with antifungal medications. 

Nails Psoriasis 

Nail psoriasis is an inflammatory condition of the nails. In this disease, nails tend to become thicker, and rough with tiny colored or discolored dents as compared to healthy smooth nails. 

Psoriasis usually affects the digitalis, but it can also affect the fingers and toenails. It can make the nails tender and painful, making daily tasks difficult. Further, the nail becomes so rough and crumbly that it breaks away from the nail bed.

Nail psoriasis cause white spots on nails

Certainly, nail psoriasis manifests itself in the following ways:

  • Color patches on the nails (White, brown, or yellow)
  • Small white or red spots underneath the nails
  • Grooves or ridges on the nails
  • Thickening of nails.
  • Nails become painful or tender when touched or hit with something.
  • Nails become brittle and start breaking.
  • Small dents, pits, or pinprick holes on the nails
  • Chalky white debris may build up under the nail. This can cause the nail to lift.
  • Separation of nails from the nail beds.

Treatment for nail psoriasis depends greatly on the severity of your case. Typically, a doctor prescribed cortisone creams, topical vitamin D, retinoid, or cortisone injections under the affected toenail. Moreover, phototherapy may help nail psoriasis as well. 

However, patients who have an even greater degree of involvement might require a systemic psoriasis medication such as a biologic (treatment that modulates the immune system).

Over-application Of Nail Polish

Apart from fungal and skin infections, the application of nail products can cause white spots on the nails. Indeed, an allergen from nail polish, nail gloss, remover, or other pedicure products may leave certain marks on the skin. 

In fact, the use of acrylic or gel nails causes nail damage and causes these white marks. 

Over-application of nail polish cause nail damage

Most nail products contain harmful chemicals that may lead to dehydration of nails. Consequently, it will result in the accumulation of keratin granules. Indeed, these keratin granules appear as chalky or white spots on the nail surface. 

A few nail symptoms that occur as a result of keratin granules are the following:

  • Rough white patches
  • White spots on the nails
keratin granules

Therefore, you should not use nail polish or nail products frequently or for too long. 

To solve this problem, you should meet with your podiatrist. Certainly, they help you to get rid of keratin granules in a single disappointment. Furthermore, it can be removed by massaging with coconut oil or any other moisturizer. 

Related to read: Did The Acrylic Nail Ripped Off Real Nail? Some Dos And Don’ts

Nail Injury

Nail damage may result from injury to the nail plate or matrix (area in which nails grow). Nail damage of this type usually occurs in children. As a result, white streaks appear on their nails. 

Typically, it is the major reason for leukonychia. Especially in toenails, since we often hit our toe fingers with some stool or table! Alas! So let’s get it while sharing a funny meme:

Nail injury causes leukonychia or white spots on nails

Besides hitting a table or stool, you can also injure your nail by biting it, getting a pedicure, or wearing an uncomfortable shoe that might cause a blister. 

Short nail injuries may go away on their own in a short time. However, the use of topical creams, or moisturizing creams, helps to cure nail injuries. Moreover, adhesive bandages can heal the injury.

Mineral Deficiency

In general, people believe that white spots on the nails are a sign of calcium deficiency in the body. Indeed, it is true to an extent. To be honest, colored spots on the nails indicate some sort of mineral deficiencies in the body. 

Mineral deficiency causes nail damage

Indeed, a lack of iron, calcium, and zinc in the body can affect the nail’s appearance.

For instance, if you have an iron deficiency, then you can notice a change in the nail’s color and texture along with fatigue and trouble concentrating. Following are the conditions of nail damage due to chronic iron deficiency:

  • The appearance of white streaks on the nail
  • Spoon nails (nails shape becomes spoon-like)
  • Rough nail texture
  • The yellow appearance of nails
  • Nails become brittle and thin
Damage to nails due to iron deficiency
Damage to nails due to iron deficiency

However, if you lack zinc in the body, you will experience a noticeable change in the nails. So, you will have the following nail conditions along with loss of appetite and weight loss. 

  • Double lines of white color on the nails
  • Whitish grooves on the nails
  • Nails become thin and brittle
  • Nails can break easily
Nail damage due to zinc deficiency
Nail damage due to zinc deficiency

Apart from this, calcium deficiency can cause white spots or dots on the nails. Also, it may cause nail weakness.

Your doctor will determine a safe treatment option for you. After you’ve been diagnosed with a deficiency and are following a doctor’s directions, you should experience improvement with your toenails. However, the process may take several months because toenails grow slowly.

Another Underlying Cause Of White Spots On Toenails

Apart from the factors listed above, white streaks on toenails may indicate the following conditions:

Although these are the less common causes of white spots, these conditions can contribute to nail damage. 

Related to read: Toenails That Grow Upwards Can Be a Warning for 9 Reasons

How Do I Get Rid Of White Marks On My Toenails?

White streaks on toenails can be cured by addressing their root cause. Moreover, self-care and eating a healthy diet improve the health of nails. 

Certainly, most white spots can be treated naturally at home using a variety of remedies. If the white spots don’t go away, consult your doctor.

Alternative Remedies

If you have white spots on your nails, most of the time, you can get rid of them at home. Here are a few home remedies to help you keep your nails healthy.

Daily Moisturizing Of Nails

Moisturizing nails help to restore hydration. Therefore, make it your routine to moisturize your nails when you moisturize your hands. For this purpose, you can use nourishing hand oil or vitamin E oil. 

Moisturizing nails

Take a drop of hand oil and massage gently on the nails every night. This promotes the nails’ health and reduces the appearance of yellow or white spots on the nails. 

Use Essential Oils On Nails

Essential oils have the potential to heal the injury quickly. Therefore, it effectively reduces the white spots on nails caused by nail injury or fungus. Tree tea oil and orange oils work best for nail health. 

Use Essential Oils On Nails to promote its health

To use essential oils, mix some drops of essential oils with a carrier oil and then rub it onto your nails. It is recommended to leave tree tea oil on for 45 minutes, while orange oil should be soaked for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, remove or rinse it with water.

Rub Lemon Slices On Your Nails

Lemon contains a high amount of vitamin C. Therefore, staining on nails due to vitamin deficiency can be cured with its application. In addition to removing its strain, lemon juice brightens the nails.

You can rub the lemon slices on your nails, or soak the nails in the lemon juice. Moreover, you can use a cotton pad to use lime juice on your nails. Leave the juice on the nails for 20 to 30 minutes and then rinse it well.

Lemon for nails

Surprisingly, this life hack will give you the healthiest, shinier, and brightest nails of your life! 

Soak Your Nails In Apple Cider Vinegar And Water 

Apple cider vinegar has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Therefore, toenail infection can be cured effectively with ACV. However, avoid direct exposure to vinegar on the affected nail or skin.

Mix two tablespoons of vinegar in enough water and dip your toenails in the vinegar water for 10 to 20 minutes. To reduce the white spots on nails, do this process 3 to 4 times. 

Moreover, if you have sensitive skin, you can have a higher water or vinegar ratio. 

Related to read: Apple Cider Vinegar While Breastfeeding 

Cleanse Your Nails In Unsweetened Yogurt

Yogurt has excellent cleansing and moisturizing properties. Specifically, natural, unsweetened yogurt without added flavors has the power to boost nail health and reduce white spots. 

Dip your nails in a bowl of yogurt for around 10 to 15 minutes and then rinse with warm water. 

Adding vitamin E oil or lemon juice to yogurt is also an option for faster activity.

Seeking Medical Care

In case your white spots on the nails are not fading with time or spreading over time, you should seek medical care. 

Consider Medicated Nail Polish Or Cream

Typically, a doctor prescribed antifungal creams or tropical polish that can help to cure nail abnormalities. You apply the prescribed nail product on your nails and leave it for a set period. 

Most of the time, nail abnormalities go away with topical creams and some precautions. 

Take Antifungal Drugs

In the case of fungal attacks on toenails, oral antifungal drugs are more effective than creams and polish. A dermatologist may prescribe an antifungal tablet that can reduce your infection symptoms along with reducing the white spots on your nails.

In general, these medications are taken for 6 to 12 weeks to stop fungal infection. If taken consistently, it should eliminate nail fungus-induced marks. 

Seeing A Doctor If White Spots Persist

In case your white streaks or spots are spreading across the nails along with pain or tenderness, you should consult a doctor. As it can indicate some underlying medical conditions, such as anemia or liver disease, or a fungal attack.

Seeing A Doctor If White Spots on toenails Persist

Indeed, in these conditions, you should only take prescribed treatment from a health expert. 

Making Lifestyle Changes

For better and healthy nails, you should take some nail care measures. Following are a few important suggestions to promote nail health and strength.  

  • Take a healthy and nutritious diet. 
  • Eat a balanced diet
  • Intake multivitamins
  • Do not pick or bite your nails
  • Do not wear tight, small-sized, or uncomfortable shoes
  • Wear comfortable and adjustable shoes
  • Clean and moisturize your nails frequently but don’t let them wet or moist for too long.
  • Avoid using nail paint frequently 
  • Do not let nail polish sit on the nails too long. 

Related to read: Top 12 Benefits Of Eating Healthy

What Can I Eat To Get Rid Of White Spots On My Nails?

White spots on the nails can occur as a result of mineral or vitamin deficiency. Therefore, diet plays a significant role in reducing the white marks. 

Nutritionists recommended eating protein-rich food to promote keratin in nails. Moreover, as zinc and iron cause the roughness of nails, Hence try to eat a diet high in minerals. 

Apart from these, multivitamins are very good for skin, nails, and hair health. 

Here is the complete list of food that you should eat for restoring nails’ color and health. 

Protein Rich Diet 

Protein produces keratin in the nails that strengthens the nails. Below is the list of food that is rich in protein content:

  • Fish
  • Eggs
  • Poultry 
  • Dairy
  • Lentils
  • Beans
  • Legumes
  • Nuts
  • Quinoa
  • Chickpea
  • Whole grains
  • Seeds

Related to read: 5 Ways of Choosing Healthy and Nutritious Protein For Your Diet

Vitamin C Rich Diet

The deficiency of vitamin C in the body results in nail weakness and slow growth of nails. Here is the list of foods high in vitamin C:

  • Bell peppers
  • Tomatoes
  • Oranges
  • Grapefruits
  • Lemon
  • Apples
  • Strawberries 
  • Kiwi
  • Green vegetables
  • Brussels sprouts

Citrus fruits and green vegetables are the best sources of vitamin C. 

Related to read: Spring Valley Vitamins Vs Nature Made: Which One Is A Better Dietary Supplement?

Zinc Rich Diet

Zinc is very important for the healthy division of nail cells. Therefore, eating food good in zinc promotes nail healing and health. 

Iron Rich Diet

Iron provides a sufficient amount of oxygen to the nails. So, it promotes the health and growth of nails. Below is the list of foods rich in iron:

  • Seafood
  • Organ meat
  • Red meat
  • Kale
  • Spinach
  • Collard greens
  • Broccoli
  • Quinoa
  • Beans
  • Peas
  • Iron-fortified cereals, pasta, and bread
  • Dried fruit (raisins, apricots)
  • Turkey
  • Pumpkin seeds

Calcium Diet

Calcium plays a vital role in maintaining a healthy lifestyle and healthy nails. Nails without it will become fragile. Below is the food group with calcium:

  • Leafy green veggies
  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Yogurt
  • Sardines
  • Fortified cereals
  • Soybeans
  • Fortified juices
  • Edamame 
  • Tofu
  • Beans
  • Lentils

Get Healthy Toenails!

As a matter of fact, toenails are more vulnerable to fungal and injury attacks because they reside in shoes that stay warm and moist most of the time. Moreover, we give little attention to our toenails as compared to our hand’s nails. 

Therefore, you should try routine your toenail care routine. As trimming, cleaning, and moisturizing it from time to time. Indeed, it helps a lot in reducing the infection and promoting the nail’s strength.

However, if white streaks on toenails spread across the nails along with pain and tenderness, then you should take medical attention as soon as possible.

FAQs

What are Muehrcke’s lines?

Muehrcke’s lines are the white double lines that appear on the fingers and toenails. These lines run horizontally or transversely across the nails. But, Muehrcke’s lines do not appear on thumbnails. It indicates the abnormality of a vascular network in the nails. 

What do nails look like with liver disease?

The liver disease mostly affects the appearance of nails. Mostly it leads to Terry’s nails. In this type, the nail bed is usually opacified, with a narrow strip of normal pink nail bed at the distal edge, and the lunula is usually obliterated.

What is the fastest home remedy for toenail fungus?

The use of essential oils, in particular, tree tea oil or oregano oil works very fast to cure the toenail fungus. Also, you can use both of them for treatment. However, take a skin patch test before applying to the affected area. 

What is better for toenail fungus, white vinegar, or apple cider vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar and white vinegar have antifungal properties. However, ACV is a more popular remedy for toenail fungus because of its potent antimicrobial properties. 

What do painted white nails mean?

In general, white nails indicate that you are single. You probably know that the color represents freshness, cleanliness, or a blank slate. However, according to Urban Dictionary, white nails generally indicate that a person is “ready to move on and make a fresh start.”

How long does it take for white spots on nails to go away?

Typically, white spots on the nails go away on their own. In some cases, they may disappear in one or two days. Moreover, you can wait for your nails to grow and can trim the part. Also, you can use some home remedies to reduce the white spots. 

Aneeza Pervez

Aneeza Pervez

Hello, I'm Aneeza Pervez. Writing about mental health, wellness and a healthy lifestyle is something I specialize in. I also enjoy traveling, reading, entertaining, and composing. As a health advocate, I create content that educates people about how to be healthy. Health is wealth, so do your best to keep it!

Wholesomealive.com -a blog about Healthy Living
Logo