Notice the white spots on your nails? We usually ignore them, but there are times when curiosity hit: "What are those, really?"
To satisfy your inquisitive minds and put an end to presumptive myths, we interviewed Dr. Michael Marc Maaño (SkinMD Medical & Cosmetic Dermatology), who assured that those "white spots on your nails are not serious."
"Usually, it's caused by trauma to the area behind the moon-shaped, light-pink part of the nail. This is where the matrix—responsible for 90 percent of nail growth—is. You won't notice it at once because it takes weeks for the damaged area to travel tip-ward," according to Dr. Maaño, who added that the "dots" will eventually grow out over time.
The dermatologist said the little white streaks, also known as "leukonychia," are most often caused by injuries: "Trauma can be from stubbing your toe or running. (It) will go away in roughly six to 12 months. No need to treat this." It could also stem from a manicure's excessive pressure on the base of the nails.
Fungal infection accumulated from unsanitary usage of gloves or socks is also a probable cause.
Perhaps you've heard of the theory that these spots indicate health issues such as calcium or zinc deficiency; Maaño disproved this. "Calcium deficiency won't give white spots on your nails. You'll have more brittle nails though if you have these," he explained.
While these "stains" are no biggie, it still pays to maintain clean and healthy nails. Mind you, women pay attention even to the smallest details.
To prevent leukonychia from appearing, Maaño's advice is to always protect your digits. "(Wear) cushioned gloves and shoes. Avoid mannerisms such as tapping your fingers or kicking stones. Don't wear wet (socks or gloves) to avoid fungal infections."