White spots on your nails are usually harmless and shouldn’t be a cause for concern. The may affect either all nails or several nails, and medically, the condition is known as leukonychia. Valerie Maine of Live True London explained: “They can be caused by various conditions such as allergic reactions, fungal infection, nail injury and mineral deficiency. Most common causes are trauma such as knocking your nails against surfaces in your daily life.
“Although most causes are not serious, certain serious medical conditions may cause white spots such as chronic renal disease or a reaction to certain medication. If you are at all concerned or if the condition is progressing, make sure to seek the opinion of a doctor.”
White spots on the nails may be a sign of a fungal infection called ‘white superficial onychomycosis’, according to Roxane Bakker, Registered Dietitian and Head of Nutrition at www.vitl.com.
She explained: “It’s an easily treatable infection which can be treated through over-the-counter antifungal medication.”
Advising on white spots signalling a nail injury, she added: “They may be a sign that you’ve had an injury at the base of your fingernail.
“Due to the time it takes for your nails to grow, some injuries may not show on your exposed fingernail for up to four weeks, so it’s worth thinking back to anything that may have happened, such as shutting your fingers in a door by mistake.”
According to Becky Laroc, Owner and Therapist of Becky Laroc Beauty & Aesthetics, there’s a general misconception white spots on your nails are a sign of a calcium deficiency.
She said: “Generally a calcium deficiency is shown by very weak and/or soft nails.”
But in some cases, white spots could be a sign of a zinc deficiency.
Roxane advised: “It’s worth taking a vitamin DNA test to find out exactly what areas you’re lacking in.”
Parallel white lines that run all the way across the nail could be a sign of low levels of protein in the blood.
Roxane warned: “If you notice these, contact your GP as soon as possible and monitor your protein intake.
“Deep indentations that run across the nail horizontally are called ‘Beau’s lines’, and are often symptoms of uncontrolled diabetes, as well as illnesses associated with high fever such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps and pneumonia.
Ridges on the finger nails can merely be a sign of ageing, a vitamin deficiency or dehydration, or as a result of a skin condition such as dry skin or eczema.
According to Dr Ross Perry of skin clinic chain Cosmedics, slight ridges are normal and can develop during the ageing process as when cell growth slows and lessens, so as you age it may not be unusual to see this happen.
He continued: “Nutritional factors such as deficiencies in vitamins such as Vitamin A, or if your body is low in protein or calcium then you may notice ridges.
“Severe iron deficiencies could also create ridges and other changes to the nails.”
But he warned, if ridges are accompanied with discolouring it may be caused by a medical condition and you may need to seek medical advice.