Why Are My Toenails White: Explained!

Mineral deficiency is the leading reason for getting white toenails. Add enough zinc and iron to your diet. Then, nail fungus and psoriasis make toenails white which can be treated by a professional podiatrist. Allergic reactions are another significant cause of getting white chunky nails. Certain nail polishes contain harmful chemicals, particularly those containing acetone, and they can also whiten your toenails. 

It doesn’t end there. There are more reasons why the toenails are white. Enlighten yourself by reading the entire article.

Key Takeaways

Why Are My Toenails White: Reasons And Remedies 

White chunky toenails are frustrating especially when you face this frequently. Finding the reasons for white toenails is important because it can indicate underlying health issues. In addition it can also help in early diagnosis and treatment.

We will discuss the reasons and solutions in more detail. But first, take a quick glance at the potential causes and their solutions. 

Reasons Remedies  
Mineral deficiency Consume enough Zinc and Iron 
Nail Fungus attack Antifungal medicine, laser treatment, Maintaining hygiene
Nail Psoriasis attack Topical and oral antifungal medications, laser therapy, and nail removal
Allergic reaction to harmful chemicals Avoid harmful chemicals 
InjuriesAllow time to heal
Liver Health issues Improve your health condition 
Underlying Health IssuesTreat the underlying conditions
Arsenic exposure Remove the source of toxicity 

In the next step, we will describe the reasons in a descriptive manner. There will also be solutions to assist you in dealing with the issue.

Reason 1: Mineral Deficiency

The first possible reason is having a mineral deficiency. White toenails can be a subtle sign of potential vitamin and mineral deficiencies. It is also a reason why your nails are flimsy.

You might also experience fatigue and trouble concentrating if you have these deficiencies. And you will have decreased appetite, and weight loss from zinc deficiency. 

White toenails from zinc deficiency tend to be thin and brittle. Also, there may be whitish grooves and double lines on the toenails. An iron deficiency can also lead to koilonychia or spoon nails.

Spoon Nails (Koilonchya) is a rare condition where toenails become thin, brittle, and spoon-shaped. It also comes with a prominent curvature in the middle. 

    Source: https://rockymtnfootandankle.com


To get over the situation, treating mineral deficiencies with supplements can be risky, and a doctor’s diagnosis is essential. A safe treatment, like iron supplements, can address deficiencies without causing harm. 

Preventing mineral deficiencies requires a balanced diet that includes zinc-rich foods like meat, fish, dairy, and eggs.

To enhance nail appearance and reduce the risk of injury, use grapeseed oil or vitamin E-based cream. See what we recommend.

Product NameFeatures
Now Solutions grapeseed oilLight, odorless, and for all skin typesWith all necessary fatty acids
Jason Vitamin E moisturizing creamBlend of avocado oil and vitamin EFree from sulfates, parabens

It’s important to seek advice from a healthcare professional for an accurate diagnosis and suitable treatment.

Reason 2: Nail Fungus Attack 

White, chunky nails may indicate a fungal nail infection, caused by a mold called dermatophyte that feeds on nail keratin. The infection can lead to thick, yellow, and brittle nails, along with white spots and streaks. Untreated, the fungus can spread to other nails and the skin. 

Nail fungus, also known as onychomycosis, is another common cause of white spots on toenails.

However, if left untreated, it can lead to discoloration, thickening, and crumbling of the nail. This may even spread to surrounding nails or the skin between toes (athlete’s foot). 


Seeing a podiatrist for diagnosis and treatment is crucial to prevent complications like pain, swelling, bleeding, and serious infections. It is a serious condition for those with diabetes.

If the problem persists, you should go for oral antifungal medications, laser therapy, or nail removal in severe cases. 

Moreover, you must maintain good nail hygiene, and avoid sharing nail tools to prevent the spread of the infection. Lack of hygiene also leads to damaged nails after acrylics.

Reason 3: Nail Psoriasis Attack 

Nail psoriasis is another disease that makes the nails white. Majority of the individuals with psoriasis also experience nail psoriasis attacks

Nail psoriasis manifests in various forms beyond white patches on toenails. It can lead to thick white accumulation under the nail. A bloody toenail, crumbled toenails, and toenail separation from the nailbed can also happen.


A podiatrist should be consulted if you suspect a fungal nail infection. Topical and oral antifungal medications, laser therapy, and nail removal are all possible treatments for fungal infections. 

Reason 4: Allergic Reaction to Harmful Chemicals

It’s crucial to recognize that many nail polishes contain harmful chemicals, like formaldehyde. This leads to dry, white nails due to allergic reactions. Then, nail polish removers, especially those with acetone, can pose similar issues. 


To address this, opt for nail products free from harmful ingredients. Always, choose vitamin-enriched polishes for nail health. Also, look for natural antifungal elements in polishes and removers to reduce the risk of fungal infections.

Reason 5: Injuries

Nails primarily protect against injuries, and toe injuries can lead to white toenails. Conversely, injury is also a reason why your toenails turn black. Chipped nails or injuries during growth can cause white marks.


There are no immediate treatment options if injuries happen. Patience is needed as the nail grows, and the white mark fades. However, you need to remain cautious to prevent future injuries. 

Remember injuries can invite fungal infections. So, try to maintain clean, dry toenails and minimize moisture to prevent fungal overgrowth.

Reason 6:  Liver Diseases 

Patients who have been diagnosed with liver diseases like liver cirrhosis can notice their toenails white. 

The precise process through which liver disease induces nail alterations remains partially unexplained. Nail irregularities are frequent occurrences in liver cirrhosis and also accompany HCV and HBV infections.


Consult a hepatologist to diagnose and treat liver conditions, if present. As the disease is cured, the toenail condition will gradually improve.

Reason 7: Underlying Health Issues

Diabetes, malnutrition, heart, and kidney diseases often are subject to making your toenails white. Then, organ failure and other symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and abdominal pain can make your liver chunky.

Also, white nails could signal issues like iron-deficiency anemia, protein deficiency, arthritis, or hyperthyroidism in the patient. Changes similar to Terry’s nails can manifest in patients undergoing chemotherapy for various cancer types.


Typically, the appearance of toenails improves as the underlying condition is effectively treated.  Also, for cancer patients, the nails get to improve while chemotherapy is concluded.

Reason 8: Arsenic Exposure 

Exposure to arsenic can lead to several effects, with white toenails being a prominent manifestation. This represents a critical toxic response demanding prompt cessation of exposure. 


You need to stop your nails from arsenic exposure. For that, you must drink filtered water and maintain good hygiene. Once the source of toxicity is eliminated, the toenail can regenerate which restores its natural appearance and color.

How to Prevent White Toenails And Keep Them Healthy

To maintain healthy nails, you should follow some tips which will help to avoid unnecessary hassle. 

  • Always keep your nail clean and short.
  • Diluted vinegar and tea tree oil are natural supplements for the health of your nails. Make sure your nails are soaked in water before applying them.
  • Trimming thick toenails can be tricky, but soften them first. Soak feet in salt water for 10-15 mins, then moisturize nails. Keep feet dry, wear breathable shoes, and use flip-flops to avoid toenail fungus.
  • Avoid wearing toenail polish for extended periods – over a week or two. This can conceal initial signs of fungus or other toenail problems.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are My Toenails Yellow?

Yellowing of toenails often indicates a fungal infection. This common issue may not require a doctor’s visit. Use an over-the-counter antifungal cream. For thick, yellow nails, consider filing the surface to aid deeper penetration of the medication.

Why My Toenails Are Green?

It might be green-nail syndrome (chloronychia), stemming from an infection. Typically, bacteria thrive in moist environments like hot tubs, sponges, or snug, long-worn shoes. Since the discoloration is beneath the nail, refrain from scrubbing and consult a doctor. 

Why Do My Nails Have Candy Cane Stripes?

Red and white striped toenails often signal underlying issues in other body areas. These patterns, along with V-shaped marks, are characteristic of Darier disease. It causes greasy, warty, and stinky blemishes on the skin.


Now, you know the answer to why are the toenails white

Several conditions can lead to the whitening of toenails. Initial diagnosis of the root cause is crucial, followed by appropriate treatment. Both natural remedies and medical interventions should be prescribed and overseen by a healthcare expert.

Katharyn Riedel

Leave a Comment