why toenails turning white

Why Are My Toenails White?

Yellow and black toenails are often talked about when it comes to discussions surrounding discolored toenails. But did you know that your toenails can also turn white? White toenails can be an indication of a few things and are rarely anything more than superficial. So if you’re wondering “why are my toenails white?”, you’re in the right place. 


In this guide, we’ll be covering the most common causes of white toenails and how to treat them so you can break out the flip flops without feeling embarrassed.

What causes white toenails?

There are many different reasons why your nails might have white patches on them, from splotchy patches to chalky-looking streaks. Ensuring you’re using the best nail care tools can help you keep your toenails as healthy as possible and minimize the chances of developing discoloration. 

It’s important to note that the white half moons on your nails close to the cuticle are meant to be there – these are called the lunula and indicate happy, healthy nails. 

White lines & streaks on toenails

whitelines and streaks in toenails

Nails with white streaks can happen for a few different reasons. They might be caused by recurring trauma, such as when a runner wears shoes that are too small and the toe hits the end of the shoe repeatedly while running. They may also occur when a medical illness or trauma that has occurred elsewhere in the body causes protein to be deposited in the nail bed.

White marks on toenails after removing nail polish

Consistently using nail polish without a break can cause your nail to dry out which results in white streaks or patches when the polish is removed. This is called keratin granulation.

White patches on toenails

A fungal infection called white superficial onychomycosis is a common type of fungal infection that affects your toenails more than your fingernails. It starts as small patches and spreads across your nail. 

How to cure & get rid of white toenails

Curing white toenails will depend on the cause – treating said cause will help to reduce or remove the discolouration on your nails. 

From frequent nail polish use

If you have keratin granulation because of frequent nail polish use, you’ll need to set down the bottle and avoid painting your nails for several weeks to let your nails return to normal. A several-weeks-long break will suffice and using a moisturizing hand and foot cream will also help to restore your nails to a healthy state. 

From white toenail fungus

An anti-fungal nail solution is the best way to get rid of toenail fungus. It kills off the fungus infecting the nail which allows your nails to replenish and regrow healthily. Allow your shoes to air out fully between uses and always wear clean, dry socks. 

From trauma

If your toenail discoloration is from trauma, make sure you are wearing the right size and type of shoes for the sport or activity you’re doing to relieve pressure from your nails. 

When to see a medical professional

Visit doctor toenails

If you notice your nails changing, they’re painful, have a bad odor, or you’re simply just concerned about your nail health, make sure you schedule to see your doctor or dermatologist who can help to find the cause and recommend treatment. 

If you notice that the whiteness on your nails disappears when you press it, this could signal a more serious health condition and will need to be seen by your doctor. 

How to prevent white nails

It’s not always possible to fully prevent white toenails from developing, especially when caused by an injury. But there are steps you can take to reduce the likelihood of developing white toenails. 

  • Wear properly fitting shoes.
  • Keep your toes dry and clean and clip your nails regularly using Swissklip’s heavy duty toenail clippers.
  • Avoid wearing open-toed sandals when working with heavy items and when working or walking in places where your toes might get stepped on.
  • Avoid exposing your feet to the sun.
  • When applying sunscreen to your feet, make sure to include your toes.
  • If you have an underlying condition such as diabetes, make sure it is well-managed.

Treating white toenails is often relatively straightforward. By taking some simple precautions and treating the problem at the source, you can ensure your nails stay looking and feeling healthy. Banish toenail fungus with Swissklip’s antifungal nail solution – an easy-to-use roll-on containing antifungal tea tree oil – to treat your toenails naturally and simply. If you are at all concerned about the health of your discolored nails, ensure you see a healthcare professional for treatment.