Now, call me an old stick in the mud, but I've never worn shellac gel.
But as a Podiatrist, I do know about foot pain and corns.
I see plenty of white chalky spots on toenails after removing polish.
(This is almost always after I've drilled away day-glo shellac)
I also witness the ensuing toenail fungus.
So, what are these white dots and spots? Are they serious? (No)
Are they a sign of something far more stubborn coming down the pipeline? (Possibly, yes)
What Causes White Spots On Toenails After Removing Polish
Ripped, Stripped And Dry
You just took off your shellac polish and now have a ton of white spots on your nails. They always remind me of those "calcium spots" we had as kids.
Funnily enough, I don't see much written about it in the marketing blurb. But it does happen.
(On fingernails as well as toes, btw)
Now, there's nothing wrong with these gels, shellacs and whatever else...
Provided it's not on your toenails forever.
Those chalky scratches are an early sign of corruption. That bright blend of industrial chemicals leeches moisture and vitality from your toenails.
Left on for too long, it strips your toenails of their protective layer.
When I treat hardcore gel-wearers, it's even worse: the nail buried under looks like a withered husk.
Your toenails are built-up of three separate micro-thin layers called lamina.
These sandwich together which is why nails rip down in sheets. You then apply gel nail polish, get it UV heated and treated and boy does it last.
The thick polymer starts to leak into the nail.
As well as that, the tough coating stops it and dries it out; it's like going to Morocco and using window sealant as sunscreen.
Oxygen-starved and thirsty, white marks appear as the top lamina layer begins to thin and fail.
The Big (Shellac) Cover Up
Some go for shellac as their toenails are already wrecked and wreaked with fungus.
They're ashamed of it looking ugly and want to cover it up. I totally get that.
But the onychomycosis (the offical name for it) isn't going anywhere.
It'll keep spreading down and out in your nail.
Eventually, you'll have as much gel or polish as you will nail. In fact, your toenail will be shellac.
At this point you may as well go the whole hog and ask them for sponsorship.
For Lasting (Fungal) Nails That Shine
A fungal toenail infection looks almost identical to the white spots and scratches.
It's also far, far more common on toes than fingers. After all, it stems from Athlete's Foot.
Unlike a dried-out toenail, a fungal infection isn't so simple to remedy.
How You Catch A Fungal Nail Infection
You know that same crusty file and white sanding block used on a zillion other people?
The application of gel itself is tricky. Moisture gets caught between polish layers, the ideal breeding ground for fungus.
Your now super-porous toenail is helpless against marauding yeast.
It then gets a helpful layer of dent-resistant glue on top, to keep it nice and safe, while it settles in.
How To Tell If White Spots Are A Fungal Infection
Leave your nails the hell alone for the time being. This is all about time and if the white marks develop.
If the chalk white spots start to fade, you should be good.
If they don't go after a few weeks then keep a careful eye on changes to their size and color.
Red flags are any brown or yellow streaks, as well as flaking or spots that combine.
Chronic Fungal Nail Infections From Shellac
Fungal nail infections stay surface layer for a good length of time. But, like all good times, that comes to an end.
The fungi yeast spreads down deeper.
Tell-tale signs of this are yellow and brown streaks. You'll also notice obvious cracks, flakes and crumbling.
But What If It's a Calcium Deficiency?
I get asked this quite a lot particularly by pregnant patients, for obvious reasons.
There's a saying in medicine, "if you see hoof-prints, think horses, not zebras".
In other words, let's go with what's more probable.
If you take the polish you've worn for weeks off, it's probably a dried-out lamina.
That's not to say it definitely isn't a lack of calcium (or zinc, or psoriasis), but let's start at the basics.
How To Treat White Spots On Toenails After Removing Polish
White spots on your toenails after removing polish is easy to resolve.
You do nothing 'cept add a few drops of healing liquid.
Ease off the gel for a few weeks. Let your toenails breathe.
Rehydrate and return them to shiny and smooth with Gehwol Nail Care.
This is what I use in clinic for drought-ridden shellac ravaged toenails.
White Spots On Toenails After Removing Polish
The good news is that white spots on toenails after removing polish are easy to resolve.
You literally just leave them alone to breath and give them a helping hand to re-hydrate.
But remember: it's an important indicator that you need to space out the pedicure visits.
At least ones that involve gels and such.