Q&A

An elderly client has white spots after wearing polish for a while. Is this of concern?

Q.

I have an elderly client who I do natural nail manicures on, but when she wears polish for a month or so, white spots appear in the middle of several nails on each hand. Should she continue to wear polish?

A.

Many things can cause white spots on the nails. There is a type of fungus that occurs on the surface of the nails called white superficial onymychosis. However, his almost exclusively occurs in toenails and does not sound like what your client has. Trauma can also cause white spots on the nails, but I agree that this most likely does not come from trauma based on the history that is given, namely that thy disappear when the polish is left off. Most likely these spots, which are called punctuate leuconychia are due to a particular sensitivity to the nail enamel. There are some individuals whose nails have keratins that are particularly sensitive to nail products. It sounds to me like this client is one of those individuals. There are a number of things that you can try although it sounds like you’ve already done a good job trying. Switching brands may sometimes solve the problem. Try applying an extra colorless base coat to protect the nail plate from the colored nail enamels that follow. Sometimes that works.

I would also definitely recommend toluene- and formaldehyde-free products with acetone-free remover. If nothing else works, it may be that your client will have to remove her polish intermittently or periodically to give the nails a rest from the nail products and thereby avoiding the development of these white spots. This is not something that you need to be concerned about. If it were related to a systemic disorder such as heart disease or diabetes, it would not disappear so quickly and so readily when the polish is removed. So heart disease or diabetes are most likely not responsible for the spots. It is perfectly OK for this client to continue to wear polish, but I would try to use the restrictions that I mentioned previously.

 

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Hannah Lee has been an editor on NAILS Magazine since 1999, and executive editor since 2005. She oversees the entire editorial production of the magaz...
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