Here's What Those White Spots on Your Nails Really Mean

Updated 10/09/17
Imaxtree

Remember being told at a young age that the little white spots on your nails meant that you weren't drinking enough milk? File that under "longstanding beauty myths debunked," because it turns out those marks have absolutely nothing to do with a lack of calcium.

Dermatologist Chris Adigun, MD, tells Women's Health that white spots are usually just a result of bumping your finger or nails on something, meaning source is often trauma, not deficiency. Excessive nail polish use can also lead to this kind of pesky damage, since it wears down the surface of the nail. (Regular use of a nail-strengthening serum can help prevent this.)

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That being said, if the spots are at all powdery, a fungus infection might be to blame, but that isn't really cause for concern, either—an antifungal treatment will clear it right up. And in the interest of curtailing all your nail-related WebMD searches, note that any ridges you see likely don't indicate any horrific, underlying disease: They're actually the nail equivalent of wrinkles and are to be totally expected with age. Got any little dents or dips? That's actually a common side effect of psoriasis.

Pretty cool that your nails can tell you all that, right? Did you know what white spots really mean? What other beauty tips or "facts" have you always believed but wondered if they're actually true?

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