From time to time everyone has had small white spots on their nails and wondered what caused them to appear, whether they were something to be worried about and what could be done to make them go away.
Myths #1: White Spots
White spots are caused by a calcium and/or zinc deficiency.
White spots are caused from eating too much mayonnaise.
Truth: White spots on the nails are called punctate leukonychia and are the result of some type of mild trauma or bump that occurred to the nail bed. Removing artificial nails roughly or too firm a manicure could cause a white spot for the same reason. The white spot appears about 6 weeks after the injury, making it hard to remember what might have injured the nail. It also takes approximately 6 months for a finger nail to grow out entirely so you notice the white spot for a long time.
Calcium deficiencies do not cause white spots though may contribute to brittle nails. A zinc deficiency is less likely because other more obvious symptoms would typically appear first. And eating too much mayonnaise is just silly.
If simple injuries to one’s nail can cause the appearances of white spots, then it is natural to wonder what could be done to strengthen our nails.
Myth # 2: Gelatin
Eating or soaking nails in gelatin will make nails stronger.
Truth: In 1890 when Knox gelatin was developed, Mr. Knox, being a smart salesman marketed gelatin as being good for nail growth since it was a source of protein and lack of protein was believed to contribute to poor nail growth. He promoted the image that because gelatin comes from cow’s hooves and they are very strong, your nails will be strong too if you use Knox gelatin. Gelatin is not a particularly good source of protein and in truth, many nail problems really come from lack of moisture, not a lack of protein.
Lack of moisture of our nails makes them susceptible to damage as they become dried and can split or become ragged. It is important to protect our nails from excess water exposure and harsh chemicals by wearing gloves and to use a moisturizer nightly for dry nails.
Myth #3: Cuticles