Both finger and toenails are usually pale pink in color, with a lighter crescent shape at the bottom of the nail known as the lunula.
White spots can sometimes appear on the nail. When this happens, it is known as punctate leukonychia. There are several types of leukonychia.
What is leukonychia?
Total leukonychia refers to a condition where the whole nail plate is totally white in color.
White spots on the nail is known as punctate leukonychia, which is a type of partial leukonychia.
Another type is partial leukonychia. There are three main types of partial leukonychia:
- Punctate leukonychia, which presents as small white spots.
- Longitudinal leukonychia, which presents as a white band down the nail.
- Striate or transverse leukonychia, where one or more horizontal lines appear across the nail, parallel to the lunula. These are also sometimes called Mees lines.
Patches of white skin, known as leukoderma, underneath the nail can sometimes give the impression of partial leukonychia.
Leukonychia can be divided into two other types – true or apparent:
When the white spot or line is caused by damage to the nail, the condition is known as true leukonychia. With true leukonychia, the white areas remain unaffected when pressure is put on them. These areas will grow out as the nail does.
Apparent leukonychia occurs when the bed underneath the nail is affected. With apparent leukonychia, the nail bed affects the color of the nail plate. It will lessen or disappear under pressure and will not grow out with the nail.
Anyone can have white nails, no matter their sex, age, or ethnicity.