White Chalky Toenails From Nail Polish: Causes And Treatments

Nothing is more relaxing and exciting than getting a soothing pedicure. The nail paint at the end is the perfect cherry on top to make you feel glamorous.

However, it comes with a price. With persistent use, that polish can actually stain your nails or dry them out and make them look chalky/dry.

The good news is that you can get rid of white chalky toenails from nail polish and unsightly stains with a few simple remedies and tips.

Causes and Treatment for Chalky Nails

white chalky toenails from nail polish

If your nails get white and chalky after you remove your nail polish, there is nothing to worry about as such.

Those white spots are called keratin granulations and they are quite treatable.

They manifest because of the acetone in the polish, which can dehydrate the keratin in nails.

When this happens, keratin molecules clump together, which forms those white smudges or granulations.

This can occur even if your nails are perfectly healthy but you can treat it at home.



white chalky toenails from nail polish

Moisturize your nails using cuticle wax, Vaseline or simple essential oils. Do not apply nail polish till the white marks are gone.

The paint will prevent the moisturizer from absorbing in your nails as well. Plus, protect your nails from nail polish remover during this time.

The ingredients in the polish can wreak havoc on your exposed nails and the chalky part may even spread. Do this for at least two weeks to see substantial results.

If you still see some granulations after the treatment period is over, don’t worry. Just use a nail file to clean off the dead layers to expose healthy nails underneath.

Your toenails have several layers and the dead part is always on top as the top layer weakens with time.

All you need to do is give it a good filing to make your nails look healthy again.

Just make sure that you moisturize the new and exposed nails to keep them supple and prevent the granulations from returning.

Use Essential Oils

white chalky toenails from nail polish

Tea tree and orange oil can work wonders for removing the white part from white chalky toenails from nail polish.

All you need to do is mix a few drops of either of the oils with olive oil and rub it all over your toenails.

Allow it to soak in for 45 minutes if you use orange oil or for 15 minutes if you use tea tree oil. Rinse and wash your hands thoroughly afterward.

Soak toenails in water and vinegar

white chalky toenails from nail polish

Make a mixture of one part water and equal part white vinegar in a bowl and dip your nails in. Allow them to soak for ten minutes before rinsing and drying them.

Repeat the treatment at least four times a week to reduce the white spots. If your skin is prone to allergies or sensitive, use more water than vinegar.

Causes and Treatment for Stained Nails

white chalky toenails from nail polish

Toenails that are treated with nail polish and remover regularly can also get stained or yellowed. The darker the nail polish, the darker the stain will be.

Plus, when the remover dissolves the polish, it also makes the pigments in the paint migrate and leach.

This is a common result of gel and no-chip manicures which require ten-minute long soaks in acetone to remove polish.

As such, you will need a thorough scrub and soak to fix the damage.

For mild stains

white chalky toenails from nail polish

If the stains are mild, you can just scrub them off using a blob of toothpaste and a toothbrush. Rub the brush on your nails for a few minutes to see results.

For stubborn stains

white chalky toenails from nail polish

If the stain is stubborn, you can lighten it a bit first by using hydrogen peroxide.

All you need to do is mix three to four tablespoons of the substance in half a cup of lukewarm water and soak your nails in the mixture for at least two minutes.

Then scrub and buff your stained nails using a toothbrush that is soaked with the mixture.

After the scrubbing, rinse your hands, dry them thoroughly, and apply lotion on them generously.

Repeat this process twice or thrice a week to see the last of those stains.

Black polish and zero base coats can stain nails fast so you should consider getting other colors.

If All Else Fails…

white chalky toenails from nail polish

If nothing seems to work, you may have an infection on your hands so you should visit a doctor straight away.

You may need to get your nails medically filed or more. If not, then you need to exercise patience and allow the nails to grow out till the white part is gone.

This can take a month because unlike fingernails which grow fast, our toenails can only grow a millimeter on a monthly basis

The stains and chalky part can fade or grow out with time but you shouldn’t apply any nail polish or remover on your toenails before that.

You will just invite more foot problems if you do.

Besides waiting for the white part to grow out, protect your feet to prevent more growth.

Do this by keeping them moisturized and wear socks during the day to protect them from the elements.

If you wear shoes without socks, make sure you wear ones that are made from a breathable fabric, such as leather.

That pedicure may seem tempting but if you get it once every few days, you will expose your feet to fungus and infection even if you do it at home.

With time, our nails grow brittle as well so you should reduce those pedis to twice a month only.

That way, your feet will look pristine and healthy, no matter how old you get unless you have a pre-existing condition or medical issue.

Just make sure you keep the skin and nails moisturized and drink plenty of water to hydrate from the inside out.