Keratin Granulations or Nail Fungus?

Keratin Granulations or Nail Fungus?


Do you have keratin granulations or nail fungus? Usually if polish is removed, 95% chance that this is something called a keratin granulation.


 What Are Keratin Granulations?


Keratin Granulations are white smudge marks on your nails that usually occur after you take off your nail polish, but are luckily very treatable!


  • Nail polish polish contains compounds like acetone.
  • These compounds can dehydrate the nails underneath them leading to a protein called “keratin” to dehydrate.
  • These keratin molecules can clump together creating white smudges.
  • These are white fragments that are like curled up cottage cheese on top of your toenails and fingernails.
  • This can sound really gross but don’t worry, this is usually something that you don’t really have to worry about.
  • Simply moisturizing your toenails will result in an excellent recovery of keratin granulations.
  • Toenail and fingernail fungus usually appears more green or yellow in almost all cases.
  • There is a type of nail fungus called white superficial onychomycosis, but this is really much less likely to be your problem.


Keratin Granulations or Nail Fungus?
Keratin granulations are much more common than toenail fungus after toenail polish removal!


Are Keratin Granulations Dangerous?

  • This condition is not very dangerous, it is basically just a fancy way of saying that you have dry nails.
  • The only downsides to not doing anything about it is that your nails are more brittle and more likely to chip in the future.
  • Think of this as being a completely cosmetic problem only.


Keratin Granulations or Nail Fungus?
Keratin Granulations are not dangerous. Just cosmetic!


Symptoms Of Keratin Granulations:


Keratin granulations can manifest themselves in the following ways:


  • White nails.
  • Dry and brittle nails.
  • Nail polish was just recently removed.
  • No pain or irritation.
  • Nails were previously healthy.


Keratin Granulations

Keratin Granulation Treatment Guide.



Why Favor Keratin Granulations Over Nail Fungus?


It is very difficult to know for sure without testing. But I recommend to initially assume the diagnosis of having keratin granulations:


  • If your toenail is white, it is overwhelmingly keratin granulations.
  • It still could be toenail fungus, but it likely is not.
  • Try to treat the keratin granulations for 2 weeks, if treatment resolves your white toenails then it was keratin granulations.
  • If it does not resolve after 2 weeks, then it is likely toenail fungus.



Can it be Fungus?

Rule #1: If your toenails are thick and yellow. It is toenail fungus!



Rule #2: If you have white on top of your toenail, it can be toenail fungus – but it probably is not!
The differential diagnosis of keratin granulations is a fungus called white superficial onychomycosis which should be treated by a podiatrist.

  • Luckily superficial white onychomycosis is the most easily treated fungus.
  • It can be treated very easily which topical anti-fungal medication.
  • It is extremely difficult to tell whether you have keratin granulations for sure rather than nail fungus.
  • Yet studies show it is rarely superficial white onychomycosis in these cases(using nail polish).

Since superficial white onychomycosis is not extremely urgent- try to cure your keratin granulations for a week and if they start to get better than you know it was not fungus.



Keratin Granulations Treatment:

  • Keratin Granulations are very easily taken care of through moisturizing your nails with cuticle wax, oils and simply avoiding nail polish for a little while.
  • It is not necessary to buy anything expensive or online; it is fine simply using a product like Vaseline or any other petroleum oil in most circumstances.
  • So get yourself some petroleum jelly at your corner store and just apply it to your nails at night when you won’t be using your hands. In 2 weeks you should be in great shape!


For more:



Treatment Guide Video
  • Make sure it’s not toenail or fingernail fungus and that it really is dehydration of your toenail or fingernail.
  • Once you know its just dehydration and damage, then you should have no problem moisturizing the site.
  • If it does seem green or yellow with very thick toenails, this makes it much more likely to be toenail fungus.