The White Patches on Your Toenails, Explained | Triad Foot & Ankle Center

The White Patches on Your Toenails, Explained

If you’ve ever removed your polish just to find white patches on your toenails, don’t freak out just yet. While you may immediately assume that you’ve picked up something at the nail salon, most of the time, you’re probably just dealing with keratin granulations. Keratin granulations, recognizable by their color and chalk-like consistency, appear when your toenails are dehydrated.

But how can a toenail be dehydrated? The answer here is simple: acetone and other polish-removing solutions that contain acetone. Acetone is wonderful for removing that layer of tough glitter polish, but it’s also an incredibly dehydrating chemical.

Just like the skin around your nail may feel a little dry after using it to remove polish, your nails can be dry, too. Acetone essentially strips your nails of hydrating proteins, causing keratin granulations to surface.

While keratin granulations aren’t exactly classified as “fungus,” they can make your nails more susceptible to developing fungus. Dry toenails are also prone to cracking, which damages your entire nail bed.

So, should you avoid toenail polish remover? You don’t necessarily have to avoid it. Instead, the podiatrists at Triad Foot and Ankle Center recommend hydrating your nails heavily using olive oil or coconut oil before applying polish.

Can you wear polish while keratin granulations heal? We get it—no one wants to walk around with patchy toenails in the middle of sandal season. You can find special hydrating toenail polishes in stores. If you have keratin granulations and you want to head to the salon for a pedicure, ask your nail technician if there are any hydrating lacquer options available.

What if the white patches on your toenail are past the point of no return? If your keratin granulations have spiraled out of control and no amount of hydration is helping, have no fear. The experts at Triad Foot and Ankle Center can utilize an electric file to evenly file the keratin-saturated toenail layer off completely. This leaves your toenail with a blank canvas.

What’s the takeaway from all of this? Your main takeaway here is that hydration is key in all aspects of your life, and toenails are no exception. Before applying that hot pink lacquer to your toes, give your nails a hydrating TLC.

For more information on how the experts at Triad Foot and Ankle Center can help your feet live their best lives, request to make an appointment at one of our Triad-based offices.

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