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A 53-year-old member asked:

The top of my big toenail is turning white and flaky. there is no pain or injury. it does not seem to be infected. the nail isgetting very thin and peeling. what could it be?

5 doctor answers8 doctors weighed in
Dr. Michael Fisher
Dermatology 33 years experience
Onychomycosis: White superficial onychomycosis (wso) is caused by fungal invasion of the superficial layers of the nail plate to form "white islands" on the plate. It accounts for only 10 percent of onychomycosis cases. In some cases, wso is a misdiagnosis of "keratin granulations" which are not a fungus, but a reaction to nail polish that can cause the nails to have a chalky white appearance.
Dr. Andrew Schneider
ABPM 25 years experience
Damage or fungus: The white flakiness can be due to a couple of issues. One is the possibility of a superficial fungal infection. The other is possible damage from chemical in toenail polish and remover. A podiatrist can help figure out which it is and offer recommendations.
Dr. Jeffrey Kass
Podiatry 29 years experience
There are : Different types of toenail fungus. You may have superficial white onychomysosis. Do you wear nail polish? Many polishes contain harmful chemicals like formaldehyde or toluene...May pay to stop using them for a while if you do. There are other causes and a podiatrist should be able to help you.
Dr. Amira Mantoura
Podiatry 36 years experience
Fungus?: Flaking, white, brittle, loose toenails can be infected with fungus. A podiatrist can diagnose this and maybe treat it if caught early. If the condition has been present for 30 years then it is very difficult to clear.
Dr. Frank Kase
Podiatry 46 years experience
Probably it's a fungal nail infection: The most common reason why a nail becomes white and flaky is due to fungus in the nail. However, the only way to determine whether or not there is a fungus and the nail is by doing a fungal nail culture. Many times there is no pain with a fungal nail. There are now many great treatments for the eradication of fungal nails including topical medicine that is either over-the-counter or prescription,
Dr. Glynis Ablon
Dermatology 30 years experience
this sounds like white superficial onychomycosis and topical antifungals will usually work well (gels or solutions are best
Nov 22, 2014

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