Everything You Need to Know about Vertical Ridges on Nails

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If eyes are the window to the soul, then fingernails are the window to our physical health. By examining your nails, you can actually discover many underlying health issues. The color, smoothness, and thickness of your nail can all reveal things about your health. If you are experiencing spots, fissures, or nail ridges, you may be able to learn more about your body. Both vertical ridges on nails as well as horizontal ridges can tell you a lot about the state of your health. Read on to discover both the causes and remedies for nail ridges.

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Causes of Vertical Ridges on Nails

Vertical ridges on nails are the ones most commonly seen, and those can result from a variety of things. Most of the time, these ridges in fingernails are harmless and are usually the result of aging. In the same way, that skin or hair shows signs of aging, fingernails do too. Experts believe vertical ridges on nails develop as the result of the slowing of cell turnover. Cell turnover occurs when the new skin cells that are produced below the surface rise to take the place of dead cells. When this process slows, it can lead to signs of aging, including some nail disorders.  In addition to vertical ridges on nails, you may also see a change in the thickness of your nail, as well as more brittleness and the tendency to break more easily.

There are a variety of other causes of vertical ridges on nails. Anemia, which is when the body is iron deficient, can also trigger vertical ridges and other changes to your nails. This is because our nails are made of keratin, a protein that relies on a healthy intake of vitamins to flourish. This is why often hair and skin problems develop from vitamin and nutritional deficiency.

You may have experienced a splinter hemorrhage in your nail before which is a tiny blood clot that can create vertical discoloration. This and other nail issues such as nail ridges or changes in nail texture can result from trauma to your nails. Most often when you damage your nail in an injury, you can wait for it to heal without worry. However, if the injury caused severe damage like a ragged cut through the nail, a crushed or torn nail, it may be necessary to see a doctor.

Medical Conditions That Cause Vertical Ridges

Those with skin conditions like psoriasis or eczema may also see evidence of nail ridges as a symptom. Digestive disorders like Crohn’s, celiac disease, or ulcerative colitis may also lead to vertical nail ridges. This is because digestive disorders make it difficult for a person to absorb nutrients from their food.

Other medical disorders such as trachyonychia (a nail disorder), peripheral vascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis also cause vertical nail ridges. If you experience ridges along with other symptoms like rough or brittle nails, you may have a medical condition and should see a doctor.

A Note on Horizontal Nail Ridges

Horizontal ridges on the nails are a different story. Called Beau’s lines, these ridges are deep and are often the sign of a serious condition. Beau’s lines often stop nail growth and will lead to the appearance of deep lines across each nail. If you develop horizontal line ridges, seek medical attention as you may have kidney disease, mumps, thyroid disease, diabetes or syphilis. This nail disorder can also be the result of chemotherapy treatment. The only way to treat horizontal ridges on nails is to seek treatment for the underlying cause of changes to your nails.

Treating Vertical Ridges on Nails

Because vertical ridges on nails are usually no cause for alarm, treating and preventing them can be easy. Making everyday adjustments to your lifestyle and small changes to your beauty regimen will see your nails happier and healthier than ever.

Because nail issues are often the result of nutritional and vitamin deficiencies, eating a balanced and healthy diet may be the first step toward preventing fingernail ridges. Drink plenty of water and foods rich in vitamins. Eating foods rich in omega three fatty acids like fresh fish or nuts will help as well. You may also try a multivitamin supplement to help fuel your body with your recommended daily allowance of vitamins and minerals.

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Often these ridges result from a lack of the body’s natural oils, so moisturizing your nails and hands is often the key to success. You can apply a variety of oils to your nails including vitamin E oil, coconut oil, olive oil, or jojoba oil to help prevent nail ridges from forming. There are even a few specially formulated nail oils available to help nourish your nails. To get the maximum benefit from the oils, massage them into your nail beds and cuticles. This will increase blood circulation and help prevent other issues like hangnails and cracks.

Be sure to protect your nails when you are using harsh chemicals or doing manual labor. Wearing protective gloves when cleaning or gardening can help keep your nails protected from drying agents. You can also take extra care when using hand cream, being sure to massage the cream around your fingernails.

Nail Care for Vertical Ridges

If you are already experiencing vertical ridges on your nails, try to use a nail buffer to smooth them out. Be extremely gentle with the nail buffer to protect your already fragile nails. To buff your nails safely and give them a great natural shine, remember a few things. Only buff your nails in one direction. Use a coarser buffer for more pronounced ridges and smooth buffer for those that are less pronounced. But always be very gentle, and use a polisher when you are finished buffing to help them maintain a natural shine.

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If you want to fill in the vertical ridges on your nails once and for all, you may try a ridge-filler designed to smooth out the nail bed. A ridge-filler looks like regular nail polish and can often be used as a base coat for nail polish. Without a ridge filler, regular nail polish will reflect light and actually draw attention to the ridges. But a ridge filler will settle into your nails and make them look smooth and even. Try this one from Nailtek or this one from OPI that are both top rated on Amazon.

Nailtek Foundation No.2 Ridge-Filling Nail Strengthener Base Coat, 0.5 Fluid Ounce
  • For soft, peeling nails
  • Fills unsightly ridges, masks nail imperfections and nail damage
  • Strengthens the natural nails

Conclusion

Even though vertical ridges on nails are not cause for concern, they can be annoying and ruin a classic manicure. Understanding more about nail ridges and trying out these remedies will help you to have strong and healthy nails. Try them out and let us know how they work!

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