Wonder Why Wednesday: Why Do I Have White Marks On My Nails?

Yesterday I wrote about goal setting and New Year’s resolutions. That got me thinking about goals and resolutions I had made in the past.

I used to have a terrible habit of biting my fingernails. I would chomp on those puppies like Augustus Gloop went after chocolate in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I was constantly chewing on them to the point where my nails would start to bleed.

I knew it was a terrible habit, but it wasn’t until someone once told me that I was swallowing the bits of fingernails and they were stickpiling in my stomach and cutting up my insides. I don’t know if that is true or not but it was enough to scare me straight. So a few years ago, I made a New Year’s resolutions to stop biting my fingernails.

I am proud to say that I carried out my goal successfully and I no longer bite my fingernails.

With that said, there are still a few days were I forlornly stare at my nails, like a broke man looks at a Vegas all-you-can-eat buffet who dreams of one more feast. Recently I looked at them and started to notice a couple of white marks. I had noticed them before but usually it was while I was chowing down on them. Now that I didn’t want to eat my fingers, I had more time to look at the white dots. This got me wondering…

Wonder Why Wednesday: What are the white marks on fingernails?

According to, the white spots, which can show up on both fingernails and toenails, are a condition called leukonychia. While this word is looks (and is spelled) terrifying, it is actually quite harmless.

These marks commonly develop as a result of mild to moderate trauma to your nail. Because our nails grow slowly, the trauma may have happened weeks ago and we are just now noticing the spot. This makes sense because I remember bumping my finger at the gym a few days ago.

The spots typically do not require any treatment and should go away as our nail grows out. So while the word leukonychia may be scary looking, the actual condition is nothing to be concerned about.




Photo credit: Wikipedia