Black spots on nails line or under the fingernails is often not a cause for alarm. Tiny black lines or dots undernailcan simply be as a result of an injury, a nail infection or different underlying medical condition. These spots can be unsightly and embarrassing, here are some of the possible causes and how to get rid of the spots.
- Why are My Nails Peeling off? – Causes, How to Fix, Cure, Treatment
Black spots in nails
Black spots in nail are not uncommon. You should be alarmed if your nails develop line or dots. Spots in fingernail or toenail can be a sign of an injury, an infection or an underlying medical condition. In stop cases, these spots are considered a cosmetic issue and not a medical condition.
For most people, these black spots can be unsightly and cause lots of embarrassment when in public. On toenails, the colored spots innailcan be caused by the following condition:
1.A toenail injury
Nail injury is the common cause of colored spots in nails. An injury or trauma in nail cause blood to collect in the tissues beneath the surface of the nail. Medically this is known assubungualhematoma. A common symptom of this condition is the discoloration of the nail plate.
A toenail injury can cause a lot of pain and discomfort. You can pick this kind of an injury from running, jogging, or hiking. Wearing tight-fitting shoes can also lead to this injury. In this cases, the black spot is caused by broken capillaries under the nail.
Trim your nails, and wear well-fitting shoes to try and prevent this kind of injuries. For injuries causing the black spots, over the counter painkiller can help relieve the pain. A simple cold compress to the injured nail can also help with the pain.
For severe injury you might need to lose the injured nail, the black spot should, however, clear as the nail grows.
Fungal infection is the other most likely cause of nail discoloration or spots innail. Fungal nail infection is often caused by crumbly toenails. The most effective way to clear a fungal infection is by taking a course of antifungal medication.
A fungal infection can be shown by the following:
- Black spots on nail that start to turn yellow
- Colored debris visible underneath the nail bed
- Thick nails
- Nails start to crumble
- An unpleasant odor
- The edge of the nail appear to be jagged
- Nail malformation
- Toenail separation from the nail bed
- Other options include:
- Applying medicated nail polisher to clear the infection
- Reducing pressure on the affected area
- Surgical removal of the affected nail
Bacterial infection could also be the cause of the black spots. In some people,bacterialinfection causes the nails to be green. Pseudomonas is bacterial that causes green-black nail. Bacterial infection is common under loose nails.
To treat a bacterial infection at home, try applying antibiotic drops underneath the nails or soaking the affected feet or hands in an antiseptic solution like vinegar. If the cause of the discoloration is a bacterial infection, you need to:
- Avoid walking n open shoes for long
- Do not walk in grass or dirt barefooted
- Clean your nails of any debris
- Avoid sharing shoes or socks
This is a common type of injury seen in athletes. Also called subungual hematoma, it iscollectionof blood underneath a toenail. Though not a serious medical condition, it can be extremely painful for an injury of its size.
Runners’ toe is caused by downward pressure or horizontal separation of nail plate from the nail bed. This repetitive traumatic injury is what leads to bleeding and pooling of blood underneath the nail plate. This injury is normally characterized by reddish black discoloration of the toenail. In some people, the nail plate may also become thicker and more brittle due to the injury.
Runners toe or subungual hematomas are treated by either releasing the pressure conservatively when tolerable or by drilling a hole through the nail into the hematoma.
The other treatment option for this condition is removing the entire nail.
An ingrown nail according to the American College of Foot and ankle surgeons is also a possible cause toenail darkening.
Black spots under nails
Black spots undernailcan also be caused by the following conditions.
Jaundice is a medical term that describes the yellowing of the skin. In itself, jaundice is not a medical condition but a symptom of different possible underlying conditions. The discoloration occurs when there is too much bilirubin in the body. Bilirubin is a yellow pigment formed by the breakdown of dead red blood cells in the liver.
7. Heat damage
Heat damage is the other possible cause of black fingernail. Wearing shoes for long help promote the growth of bacteria and fungus. Athlete foot, for instance, occurs when a fungus tinea overgrows. You can catch the fungus through direct contact with an infected person or by contacting surfaces contaminated with the fungus.
When the cause of black spots on fingernail is athlete foot caused by heat, other symptoms will include the following:
- Severe itching
- Burning sensation between toe
- Painful fluid-filled blisters
- Dry skin on the soles or sides of the feet
- Toenail that pulls away from the nail bed
8. Addison’s disease
Addison’s disease is the other possible cause of black spots innail. Also known as primary adrenal insufficiency or hypoadrenalism, Addison’s disease is a rare disorder of the adrenal glands (two small glands that sit on top of the kidneys.)
Adrenal glands produce two essential hormones cortisol and aldosterone. Though the condition can affect people of all ages, it is more common in people between the ages of 30 and 50. According to the national health services united kingdom, the condition is more common in women than in men.
In developing nations, this condition often relates to autoimmune disorders. In developing nations, on the other hand, it is widely associated with tuberculosis.
According to a research by the national institute of health United States, Addison disease is usually associated with dysphagia, fatigue, weight loss, hypotension, abdominal pain, and brittle nail. This condition is classically seen with hyperpigmentation due to ACTH melanogenesis.
In addition to the black spots undernail, you will need to seek medical attention if you notice any of the following symptoms:
- Dark area of the skin
- Unwanted weight loss
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Increased salt cravings
- Joint or muscle pains
Black spots undernailcan also be caused be symptoms of nail psoriasis. Psoriasis is a nail disorder affecting approximately 8 million people in the United States alone. Psoriasis causes your boy to produce too many skin cells. The extra cells build up on your skin to form colored patches, sores, and painful fluid filled blisters.
Health line reports that about half of the people with psoriasis and around 80 percent of people with psoriatic arthritis (a related joint condition) develop nail changes. Currently, doctors are not sure why this happens to some people and not others.
In rare cases of psoriasis, the nails are the only part of the body that shows signs of the condition. Some people may also develop an itchy rash on other parts of the body.
Nail psoriasis can be shown with the following symptoms:
- Psoriasis may cause your nail plate to lose cells, this may result in small pits forming on your fingernail and toenails.
- Nail bed separation
- Thickness and changes in the shape of nail
- Nail discoloration
Since nails psoriasis affects the nail as it grows, treating this condition can be hard. Treatment option will, however, include the following:
- Oral antifungals
- Removing the affected nail
- Over the counter steroid creams and ointments that you apply on the affected nail bed
10. Skin cancer
Black spots undernailcan also be caused a skin cancer. Acral lentiginous melanoma is a type of cancer that can cause the discoloration of the toenail.
What causes black tiny lines or dots on nails
Having black or discolored toenails can be annoying especially if you do not know the underlying cause of the condition. Nails can turn white, yellow, black or green due to a number of reasons. For most people,blacknail is often as a result of trauma (injury) or as a result of a fungal toenail infection.
Black toenail fungus is a contagious condition characterized by its unpleasant appearance and odor. A fungal infection can be embarrassing making it hard for one to participate in social activities. Fungal infection causing black nail are common among people with other health conditions such as type 2 diabetes.
Black nail due to fungal infection is also common in people who walk barefoot, share socks, or wear the same pair of shoe daily. People with weak or compromised immune system are more susceptible to fungal infection. Statistics shows that this infection is common in people who are 65 years and above.
Prescribed medication is the last resort when treating a fungal infection. Over the counter, antifungal nail treatment can, however, be used when treating this condition. There are also simple natural remedies you might us at home to keep things in control. These involve the use of essential oils such as coconut oil, thyme oil, eucalyptus oil and tea tree oil.
The other common cause of black nails is trauma or injury. To most people, there can be little to no difference inappearanceof a toenail that injured and one that’s infected by a fungus. Whereas a fungal infection is often due to the overgrowth of yeast or fungus, a trauma causing black nail can be caused by:
- Bumping your toe on a hard surface
- Continued friction from wearing tight fitting shoe for long
This can cause pain and discoloration of the toenails. Regardless of what the cause of injury is, you can recover from an injury causing black toe by doing the following:
- Apply antifungal or antibacterial cream to help clear up an infection.
- Avoid wearing closed shoes unless you are walking in dust
- Make sure to wear proper fitting shoes
Dark spots or lines on nails
Dark spots or lines on nails can likely be assign of splinter hemorrhage. These are tiny blood clots that tend to run vertically under the nails. This condition is not specific to any particular condition. It can, however, be associated with acute systemic lupus erythematosus, psoriatic nails, and antiphospholipid syndrome.
Symptoms of endocarditis may develop slowly or suddenly. Some may include fever, chills, and sweating. Other symptoms may include:
- Small area of bleeding under the nails
- Swelling of feet
- Painful skin spots on the palms
When the cause of the dark spots or lines in nails is endocarditis or splinter hemorrhage, you may need to be hospitalized at first to receive antibiotics through the vein. Have your health care provider diagnose the condition as soon as possible to effect the right treatment option.
Black or dark spots on toenails
Unlike fingernails, the toenails are more likely to get hurt. Dark spots on toenails are thus common in people who walk barefoot. Toenail discoloration is normal when the cause of the discoloration is not an injury or trauma, then it can be a sign of an underlying medical condition.
Black or dark spots on toenail can be caused by:
Vitamin B 12 deficiency
Vitamin bb12 or folate deficiency anemia can cause a wide range of symptoms. The symptoms develop gradually but can worsen if the condition goes untreated for long. Overall adequate nutrition is important for maintaining healthy finger and toenails, changes in the appearance of your nail can be the first sign of vitamin B 12 deficiency.
Major symptoms of this deficiency would include brittleness, discoloration, or streaks. Speak with your doctor as soon as possible to prevent any complications.
Most people with type two diabetes often have problems with their feet. The cause of this problems is poor circulation and nerve damage. In people with diabetes mellitus, the hardening, and darkening of the toenail is common, sometimes, however, the black or dark spots on nails can be a sign of a fungal infection.
Lichen planus is a skin rash that is triggered by the immune system. This condition can be shown by colored lines over the rash, itching at the site of the rash and painful; lesions that develop and spread over the body.
Other conditions would include
- Cardiovascular disease
- Malignant melanoma
Black spots under fingernails
A subungual hematoma is the most likely cause of black spots under fingernails. A subungual hematoma can be found under fingernails or toenail. It often constitutes an accumulation of blood caused by trauma.
A trauma or nail affliction causing the dark spot can be particularly painful. It can also cause the nail to turn color from red to blue and finally black once the blood congeals.
If the trauma is recent, and the pain is severe, the blood can be drained from under the nail in order to eliminate the hematoma. A subungual hematoma is very common and can be caused by any of the following:
- Dropping a heavier object on your fingernails
- Hitting your finger with heavy object or
- Slamming your finger in a house door
Tiny black spots on nails
The color and appearance of your nail can say a lot about you general health. If you are unable to identify the actual cause of tiny black spots on nails, you need to have a professional health care provider examine the condition to establish the actual cause of the discoloration.
Tiny black spots onnailcan besignof the following condition:
- Melanocytic nevus
- Malignant melanoma
- Addison disease
How to get rid of Black, lines, dots on nails
Getting rid of black spots, lines or dots onnailwill vary depending on what the underlying cause is. Black nails can be painful, but with simple at home remedies, the discomfort can be limited. You can try the following to get rid of dot and spots on nails:
- After an injury apply a cold compress over the affected regions
- Over the counter, anti-inflammatory medicine will help bring down the swelling and inflammation caused by a trauma
- Make sure your wear fitting shoe to avoid irritation that might lead to the formation of black spot on toenail or worsen the condition
- In cases where the cause of the black spots or dots in nails is a fungal infection, applying antifungal medicine is the best way to get rid of the infection
- seek urgent medical attention is the black spots spread to other nails or takes long to heal
Sources and references
Why do I have black specks under my nails? ›
Splinter hemorrhages are tiny blood spots that appear underneath the nail. They look like splinters and occur when tiny blood vessels (capillaries) along the nail bed are damaged and burst. The nail bed is the skin underneath the nail.Can fungus cause black fingernail lines? ›
Brown-black nail lines may represent blood from trauma; bacterial, fungal, or viral infection; drug reaction; endocrine disorders; exogenous pigmentation; excess melanin production within the nail matrix; nevi; or melanoma.How do you get rid of fungal nail marks? ›
- Try nonprescription antifungal nail creams and ointments. Several products are available, such as terbinafine (Lamisil). ...
- Trim and thin the nails. This helps reduce pain by reducing pressure on the nails.
A narrow black line that has formed vertically underneath your nail is called a splinter hemorrhage. It occurs for a variety of reasons and may be harmless or a sign of a more serious health condition. This condition is called a splinter hemorrhage because it may look like a wood splinter under your nail.How do I get rid of the black stuff under my nails? ›
Use dish soaps to clean your hands and nails. These soaps are made to cut grease and are often effective in reducing grease and oil buildup under the nails. Use job-specific hand soap. Consider purchasing a cleaner specifically made to remove grease and dirt from the hands.How do you get rid of black marks under your nails? ›
Over-the-counter ointments, creams, and polishes are usually effective. Severe cases may require a prescription antifungal treatment. If a black toenail is caused by an injury, the resulting spot from broken blood vessels will disappear once your nail grows out.What vitamin deficiency causes black lines on nails? ›
A condition in which the red blood cells decrease usually due to deficiency of iron, vitamin B12, or folic acid is called anemia. Iron deficiency alone may be responsible for triggering skin problems. Associated effects can include brittle and fragile nails which may develop vertical ridges or lines.What is the most effective treatment for toenail fungus? ›
Terbinafine for toenail fungus treatment
The best pill for toenail fungus is terbinafine. Evidence suggests it works better than the alternatives with the fewest side effects. Terbinafine results in resolution of toenail fungus 76% of the time. Common side effects may include headaches, skin rash, and vomiting.
Answer by dermatologist Corey Georgesen, MD:
Toenail fungus doesn't usually spread to inside your body, like the stomach. The fungi require keratin, found in your hair, skin and nails. They survive best on the skin.
Even before that, a study of some of the essential oils in Vicks VapoRub showed that they are active against five different species of fungus that infect nail tissue (Phytotherapy Research, April, 2003). Camphor, menthol, thymol and oil of eucalyptus are effective against these organisms.
How do you use Vicks VapoRub for toenail fungus? ›
Using Vicks VapoRub for Toenail Fungus
- Take a small amount of Vicks from the jar with a Q-tip. ...
- Place a THIN coat of Vicks on top of the nails.
- Make sure only the nails are covered with the Vicks. ...
- Apply the Vicks once a day either in the morning or the evening.
One common thing that comes up are products that contain menthol. So Vicks VapoRub is a common nail remedy for nail fungus.What vitamin deficiency causes vertical lines in fingernails? ›
Our nails naturally develop slight vertical ridges as we age. However, severe and raised ridges can be a sign of iron deficiency anemia. Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12 or keratin can result in fingernail ridges.What does melanoma look like under a fingernail? ›
This may look like a brown or black band in the nail — often on the thumb or big toe of your dominant hand or foot. However, this dark streak can show up on any nail. Dark skin next to your nail. Nail lifting from your fingers or toes.What causes lines under fingernails? ›
The indentations can appear when growth at the area under the cuticle is interrupted by injury or severe illness. Conditions associated with Beau's lines include uncontrolled diabetes and peripheral vascular disease, as well as illnesses associated with a high fever, such as scarlet fever, measles, mumps and pneumonia.How do you clean deep under nails? ›
To clean your fingernails, first wash your hands with soap and water. Then, soak your nails in a bowl of warm, soapy water for 3 minutes to soften them. Use a clean toothbrush to gently scrub the tops of your nails and underneath them. You can also use a nail pick to carefully clean out underneath your nails.How do you get rid of black lines on your nails naturally? ›
Some of the good home remedies to try are:
Apply coconut oil on the affected areas at least three times a day. Coconut oil has good antifungal properties. 3.) With the help of a cotton ball apply lemon juice to the affected part of the nail.
A pharmacist can help with fungal nail infections
nail-softening cream – it's used for 2 weeks to soften the nail so the infected part can be scraped off.
It begins as a white or yellow-brown spot under the tip of your fingernail or toenail. As the fungal infection goes deeper, the nail may discolor, thicken and crumble at the edge. Nail fungus can affect several nails.What does a vitamin deficiency look like on nails? ›
Nail color changes.
Nail plate discoloration can result from several nutritional deficiencies. Research has shown vitamin B12 deficiency to cause brown-gray nail discoloration. White nails can be the result of anemia and pink or red nails may suggest malnutrition with several nutrient and vitamin deficiencies.
What kills toenail fungus the fastest? ›
The fastest way to eliminate the infection is through toenail laser treatment. Laser nail therapy specifically targets the microorganisms under your nail while leaving the keratin intact. In just a few treatments, the infection can be entirely eliminated.Can extreme toenail fungus be cured? ›
Fungal nail infections typically don't go away on their own, and the best treatment is usually prescription antifungal pills taken by mouth. In severe cases, a healthcare professional might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.How do you get rid of Advanced toenail fungus? ›
For a severe infection, your doctor can give you an antifungal pill that you'll take for as long as 12 weeks. Studies show that drugs like terbinafine (Lamisil) and itraconazole (Sporanox) work best to help a new, healthy nail grow in to replace the infected one.What happens if you have toenail fungus for too long? ›
If you let a nail fungus infection go for too long, several problems emerge. The infected nail can become misshapen and increasingly separated from your nail bed. Itching and pain are unpleasant side effects; if they're too severe, you can have trouble wearing shoes or walking.Can toenail fungus cause other health problems? ›
If a toenail fungus spreads to the skin and causes it to crack, bacteria can get in. This may cause cellulitis, a condition that produces swollen, red, tender skin and must be treated with antibiotics, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine.Can nail fungus get into your bloodstream? ›
Toenail fungus, after all, is hardly life-threatening. “It feeds on the skin; it doesn't go into the bloodstream, doesn't spread to other parts of the body,” says Dr.How long does it take for Vicks VapoRub to get rid of toenail fungus? ›
Once you see normal nail growing out (after about three to six months, so don't be impatient), continue to remove or trim infected nails, and apply the Vicks twice daily. Although significant positive ef fects may take a year or more to appear (because the toenails grow so slowly), be patient.Is hydrogen peroxide good for nail fungus? ›
Hydrogen peroxide can kill fungus that grows on toenails. You can directly wipe hydrogen peroxide on your infected toes or toenails with a clean cloth or cotton swab. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used in a foot soak.Why can't I get rid of my toenail fungus? ›
Toenail fungus can be tough to get rid of because it can get into and in between those layers. It may also sit on top of the nail or grow underneath it. In some cases, fungus can get into the cells that make the nail, called the nail matrix.What kills foot fungus fast? ›
Hydrogen peroxide can effectively kill the fungus on the surface level of the foot, as well as any surface bacteria that could cause an infection. Pour hydrogen peroxide directly onto the affected area.
What vitamin is good for lines in nails? ›
Summary Adequate magnesium intake is crucial to prevent vertical ridges in your nails. This mineral also helps with protein synthesis and the formation of new nails.Can B12 deficiency affect your nails? ›
Vitamin-B12 deficiency can present with glossitis, pigmentary changes of nails, hairs, and skin or more serious features like megaloblastic anemia and neuropsychiatric symptoms.  Neuropsychiatric features, though rare, can become irreversible in severe and prolonged deficiency.What do iron deficiency nails look like? ›
Spoon nails (koilonychia) are soft nails that look scooped out. The depression usually is large enough to hold a drop of liquid. Often, spoon nails are a sign of iron deficiency anemia or a liver condition known as hemochromatosis, in which your body absorbs too much iron from the food you eat.How common is melanoma under fingernail? ›
Subungual melanoma is a serious type of skin cancer that occurs in the skin under your nails. Subungual melanomas are rare, seen in only 0.07% to 3.5% of the people in the world who have melanoma. But these melanomas can spread to other parts of your body and cause death.How long can you live with nail melanoma? ›
Stage IA: The 5-year survival rate is around 97%. The 10-year survival is around 95%. Stage IB: The 5-year survival rate is around 92%.Why are my toe nails turning black? ›
Black Toenail: Common Causes
If your toenail turns black, it's most likely a bruise under the nail, technically called a subungual hematoma. You can get it from stubbing a toe or from footwear that cram your feet into the front of the shoe.
Beau's lines are horizontal ridges or dents in one or more of your fingernails or toenails. They're a sign that an illness, injury or skin condition interrupted your nail growth. Treating the underlying cause will allow new, smooth nails to grow again.Does the marks of fungal infection go away? ›
Ringworm is a round red or discolored rash caused by a common fungal infection. While most people heal from ringworm without any lasting effects, a few people may experience permanent scarring. While these scars usually fade over time, there are several things you can do to prevent or minimize their appearance.How can I remove fungal skin marks at home? ›
Use Tea Tree Oil. Tea tree oil is naturally antifungal and antibacterial. Mix it with any carrier oil like coconut oil or olive oil and dab over the infected area about three to four times a day. This is one of the most effective home remedies to treat fungal infections.Does nail fungus go away permanently? ›
Fungal nail infections typically don't go away on their own, and the best treatment is usually prescription antifungal pills taken by mouth. In severe cases, a healthcare professional might remove the nail completely. It can take several months to a year for the infection to go away.
Can you get rid of nail fungus by removing the nail? ›
Nonsurgical (chemical) nail removal is a painless procedure for a fungal nail infection. This technique removes only the diseased and damaged nail, not the healthy part of the nail. It is done in a clinic or your doctor's office. Either the entire nail (avulsion) or part of the nail (debridement) can be removed.What kills fungus fast? ›
- White Vinegar. White vinegar other wise known as Acetic Acid can help eliminate fungus when diluted in lukewarm water. ...
- Listerine and White Vinegar. ...
- Tea Tree Oil. ...
- Urea Paste. ...
- Pau D'arco Tea. ...
- Vicks VapoRub. ...
- Types of Fungal Diseases.
- Aspergillosis. Types of Fungal DiseasesAspergillosis. ...
- Blastomycosis. Types of Fungal DiseasesBlastomycosis.
- Candidiasis. Types of Fungal DiseasesCandidiasis. ...
- Coccidioidomycosis. Types of Fungal DiseasesCoccidioidomycosis. ...
- C. neoformans Infection. ...
- C. gattii Infection. ...
- Fungal Eye Infections.
If left completely untreated, your stubborn fungal skin infection may cause some or the other kind of permanent damage and in some cases your fungal infection may eventually lead to death.What kills fungus in the body? ›
Antifungal medications work to treat fungal infections. They can either kill fungi directly or prevent them from growing and thriving. Antifungal drugs are available as OTC treatments or prescription medications, and come in a variety of forms, including: creams or ointments.How do you get rid of black spots from fungal infections? ›
Home remedies and lifestyle tips
- Clotrimazole cream or lotion.
- Terbinafine cream or gel.
- Miconazole cream.
- Selenium sulfide 1 percent lotion.
- Zinc pyrithione soap.
- High-sugar fruits: Bananas, dates, raisins, grapes and mango.
- Grains that contain gluten: Wheat, rye, barley and spelt.
- Certain meats: Deli meats and farm-raised fish.
- Refined oils and fats: Canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil or margarine.
Antifungal treatments are thought to be effective in treating about 60-80% of fungal nail infections. It can take between 6 and 18 months for the appearance of the affected nail to return to normal, and in some cases the nail may not look the same as before the infection.Can your body fight off toenail fungus? ›
But nail fungus doesn't go away by itself. And if you don't treat it, there's a chance it could get worse. It could spread to other nails or through your body. It could cause pain when you walk.Is hydrogen peroxide good for toenail fungus? ›
Hydrogen peroxide can kill fungus that grows on toenails. You can directly wipe hydrogen peroxide on your infected toes or toenails with a clean cloth or cotton swab. Hydrogen peroxide can also be used in a foot soak.
What is the fastest home remedy for toenail fungus? ›
- Vicks VapoRub. ...
- Snakeroot extract. ...
- Baking soda. ...
- Clean socks and shoes. ...
- Tea tree oil. ...
- Oregano oil. ...
- Other essential oils. ...
- Apple cider vinegar.
JUBLIA (efinaconazole) topical solution, 10%, is a prescription medicine used to treat fungal infections of the toenails.