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Why Do My Nails Have Ridges

What Are These Horizontal Ridges In My Nails

Do You Have These Horizontal Ridges On Your Nails?-Palmistry

Horizontal ridges on the nails can represent very benign causes. The most common cause of horizontal ridges on the nails is called Beaus lines. Horizontal ridging of the nails is trauma to the nail matrix, which is located just behind the cuticle. There are also a few, rarer nail conditions that can portend liver or kidney issues. Nail changes are worth getting checked out by a board-certified dermatologist.

People are often surprised to learn how frequently nail changes can be associated with different medical conditions. Whether its color changes, lines , splitting of the nails, small pits, or even changes in nail shape, there are thousands of different reasons why your nail might be looking strange compared to what youre used to. Some of these reasons can be very serious, life-threatening and require immediate medical consultations, such as nail melanoma. Other changes, such as splitting of the ends of nails or some superficial white dots, can be related to mild physical damage from washing hands or getting manicures. In this article, were going to talk about horizontal nail ridges why they happen, what can cause them, and how to treat them.

What Do Nails Look Like With Anemia

Brittle Nails: Anemia or Thyroid Disease

Anemia is a condition where your body lacks enough hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. While fatigue is the leading sign of anemia, this condition can also show itself through brittle or spoon-shaped nails called koilonychia.

How To Fix Ridges

As you can see, not all ridges of nails are harmful sometimes they are just a sign that you have been putting your hands through a lot recently and therefore had to put them under a lot more stress.

In this case, try to take better care of your hands by moisturizing them regularly and giving them the TLC that they deserve!

If your ridges are due to aging then there is nothing you can do about it so enjoy life and appreciate the time that you have right now.

However, if your ridges are due to psoriasis or some other health condition then there are a few things you can do

Check out our tips below!

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What Do Horizontal Nail Ridges Mean

Ridges in fingernails that run side to side are less common and might give you more pause. Also known as Beaus lines, they could signal disease or just be a remnant of an old injury, says Dr. Lee. They arise because there is a temporary stop in nail growth in the proximal nail matrix, where the fingernail is made, she says. They are most often benign and due to mechanical trauma: manicures, jamming your finger in the door, etc.

Sometimes, though, they point to a skin disease like eczema, psoriasis, or chronic paronychia , so inspect your skin and fingertips for signs of redness and rash. Your dermatologist might be able to offer a treatment option. While youre at it, look into these things your nails can reveal about your health.

What Causes Vertical Lines On Nails

Do You Have These Horizontal Ridges(Lines) On Your Nails ...

Vertical nail ridges are most common in older people, as the production of new cells slows down.

Our nails grow as living cells group together and multiply beneath the skin, pushing the older cells out into the thing we recognise as our nail. This renewal process reduces as we get older, causing the nails to grow unevenly.

Whilst getting older is a good excuse for most things, it is not the only reason for ridges forming in your nails.

This can also be an indication that your body is lacking something important such as iron, protein, calcium, zinc or even vitamin A.

You can also create ridges in your nails through a trauma or injury. This can include hitting the nail, potentially causing a bruise to form underneath the nail, leading to swelling and a change of shape to the nail.

This might mean that you also notice brown spots forming, which will gradually heal. If this is the case, you should allow any injuries to heal and see if the ridge grows out.

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Symptom: Brown Vertical Stripe On The Nail

This may be a sign of melanoma. While you may think the deadliest type of skin cancer always shows up as a mole or dark spot, it can actually start in the nail.

Only about 1 percent of all melanomas in Caucasians occur in the nail, but if youre African-American, 20 percent of melanomas start there, Rich said.

In more advanced cases, it can spread on to the cuticle area or the skin around the nail. Thats an ominous sign its means its growing and spreading, she noted.

Hormones and certain medications can also make pigmented bands in the nails, but be especially watchful for nail cancer symptoms, such as a brown or dark stripe that goes from the cuticle out to the free edge of the nail, especially one thats getting wider.

If you have brown fingernails and the discoloration is round, as opposed to linear, it could be another condition. For example, brown spots on nails, especially if they’re pitted, could be a sign of nail psoriasis.

Course of action: Get any brown pigmentation on your nail checked out by a dermatologist.

What Do Fingernails Look Like With Liver Disease

Changes in the color of your nails can sometimes be a sign that you have a disease or medical condition. Nails that are entirely white except for a small band of pink or brown at the tip are called Terrys nails. Theyre most often seen in people with severe liver disease.

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Dont Mess With Your Cuticle

You can prevent traumatic ridges by not picking or shoving your cuticle back. The cuticle is the only barrier the fingers have to keep dirt and infections out of the tissues of the fingers, says Dr. Shainhouse. Not only can an infection cause damage to the nail matrix and potentially deform your nail, but the act of pushing back the cuticle can bang it up, creating a permanent ridge template for all future nail growth.

Wear Gloves When Doing Housework

Do You Have These Vertical Ridges On Your Nails?-Palmistry

This might not be something you’d think about on a daily basis, but excessive exposure to water and harsh chemicals might wreak havoc on your nails and worsen already-ridged nails. Plus, think about how often you wash your hands.

“Wearing gloves with housework or any wet work will prevent excessive influx and effluent of water into the nail,” Stern notes. “Water absorption can weaken the bonds between nail cells, causing peeling, ridging, and breakage.”

Take care of your nails and the environment with these reusable and biodegradable household gloves.

Be judicious with gel and powder dip nail trends. Sure, the polish lasts for weeks, and it seems to make nails harder and less prone to breakage while you are wearing it, Shainhouse allows. But these kinds of polish trends might ultimately damage your nail plate.

It’s not that gel necessarily makes ridges worse it’s really the damage nails undergo during the removal process that strips nails of oils and keratin. “Usually, a long soak in acetone is required for a soak-off gel to be removed, and that amount of acetone exposure will exacerbate brittle nails,” Stern says. “Other methods of removal, such as aggressive scraping or filing, can also damage the nail but in other ways.”

Check ingredients: If the product requires removal, it is by definition a polish and not a treatment, and therefore it might exacerbate the issue.

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Can Fingernails Show Heart Problems

Nail clubbing is when a nail curves under at the tip of the finger. It could indicate heart disease, inflammatory bowel disease, lung disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, or HIV/AIDS. Puffy redness near the cuticle can indicate inflammation, a bacteria or yeast infection, Lupus, or other connective tissue disease.

Symptom: Small White Spots On Nails

Many people think the spots are related to a vitamin deficiency, but thats a myth, Rich said. The condition, called punctate leukonychia, is actually due to some kind of minor trauma when the nail is being formed.

Course of action: Wait the spots will vanish as the nails grow out. You’ll see them for a while because it takes about six months to grow a new fingernail from start to finish.

Very yellow nails that are thick and slow growing may be associated with lung problems, Rich noted. If you have yellow nail syndrome, you may also experience excessively curved nails and see them separate from the nail bed.

Course of action: See your doctor.

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Diagnosing The Cause Of Fingernail Ridges

Sudden changes in your nails should be examined by your doctor. If you damaged your nail in an injury, you may wait to see how the nail and your finger heal for a few weeks before deciding whether to see a doctor.

However, you should see your doctor as soon as possible if the injury resulted in:

  • a clean or ragged cut through your nail
  • a crushed nail
  • a nail being torn off
  • bleeding under your nail

During your appointment, your doctor will examine your nails and ask about any other symptoms youre experiencing.

Your doctor may order urine and blood tests if they suspect kidney disease, diabetes, or nutritional deficiencies.

If it appears the ridges are the result of a skin condition, a dermatologist can start you on a treatment plan.

If the cause of your fingernail ridges is unclear, your dermatologist may take some fingernail clippings to have them analyzed in a lab for signs of infection.

Take A Break From Polish Altogether

What Those Vertical Lines On Your Nails Mean About Your Health

Going without nail polish keeps drying chemicals off your nails and prevents the staining that some polishes cause. Plus, you won’t need to use acetone-based nail-polish removers, the moisture-sapping enemy of already-parched nails.

“Go natural and healthy with our self-care routines, and take a break from the salon, chemicals, and all of that time and expense,” Stern says.

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How To Treat Fingernail Ridges

Give your nails some TLC, Rodney says. That means avoiding harsh manicures, especially ones that involve grinding the nail surface. Use moisturizing soap, avoid over washing, dont bite or pick at them, and avoid damaging your cuticles.

If the ridges are accompanied by brittle nails, dents or changes in color on multiple nails, speak with a doctor immediately, she adds. It could be one of a range of conditions that you should address ASAP.

Keeping nails short helps minimize trauma, Hirsch says. Also, moisturize often, since dehydration can cause ridges. Sleeping with gloves on over heavy moisturizer is one way to help.

Fingernail ridges that seem to appear out of nowhere or horizontal ridges on multiple nails are signs its time to visit your dermatologist, Hirsch says, or, if ridges come with other issues, like sudden weight loss, or seem to get worse over time.

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How Do I Get Rid Of Ridges On My Fingernails

If you’re experiencing vertical nail ridges and would rather not, follow Dr. Chen’s tips for smoothing out those lines:

  • Take a multivitamin. If your nail ridges are due to vitamin deficiency, Dr. Chen says a multivitaminmay be beneficial, but always consult your doctor before making any changes to your regimen.

  • Drink water. Water is baaasically the answer to 99 percent of beauty questions, and this is no different. Dr. Chen explains that drinking lots of water and staying hydrated could actually prevent nail ridges from forming as a result of dehydration. It’s that simple, people.

  • Moisturize. Another way to keep your nails healthy and hydrated or help them out when they’re feeling particularly parched is with a little moisturizing. Dr. Chen recommends using nail and cuticle oils to help replenish your bodys natural oils and aid in the growing out process.

  • See a doctor. If you’ve tried all of the above and still aren’t seeing any kind of improvement or more nail ridges are forming , make an appointment with a dermatologist for diagnosis and a custom treatment plan.

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    Moisturize Your Nails Regularly

    Keeping your nails hydrated with a hand cream or oil can minimize the appearance of ridging and protect the keratin of the nail, says Donna Hart, MD, board-certified dermatologist at Westlake Dermatology in Texas. Use a moisturizer than contains ceramides or alpha hydroxy acids, which trap in moisture and nourish your nails, such as Aquaphor Healing Skin Ointment.

    If your nails are also on the brittle side, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends moisturizing your skin and nails thoroughly before bed and wearing light cotton gloves to help your nails absorb the moisturizer while you snooze.

    Causes And Symptoms Of Ridges In Fingernails

    Do You Have Vertical Ridges On Your Nails Cause

    Many reasons lead to ridges in fingernails. At times skin conditions such as eczema and skin dryness can also lead to this condition. If the body doesnt have sufficient calcium, zinc, protein, or vitamin A can even lead to fingernail ridges.

    1. Vertical Ridges

    These ridges are furrows that begin from the tip of the fingernail and run down to the cuticle and are at times termed as longitudinal bands or striations.

    Minor vertical ridges are common in old people probably due to cell turnover slowing. This happens when new skin cells formed below the surface of the skin come up to replace the dead cells that are cast off from the top.

    If you see other signs such as texture or color changes in nails, it could be due to health conditions. In 20-nail dystrophy or trachyonychia, the ridges could be seen with alteration in color to the nails, or the nails could become brittle or rough.

    Iron deficiency anemia can even lead to vertical ridges and modifications to the nails that make them spoon-shaped or concave.

    2. Horizontal Ridges

    The Beaus lines or deep horizontal ridges are generally signs of a grave condition. They could halt the growth of the nail until the existing condition is cured. It may also indicate acute kidney disease. Besides, when horizontal lines are present on all nails i.e. 20 nails it can be a sign of:

    • Mumps
    • Thyroid disease
    • Syphilis

    Chemotherapy can even lead to this condition besides ridges in fingernails due to thyroid are also common.

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    Why Do My Fingernails Have Ridges

    #1: The natural way!

    It all comes down to genetics! Many people are born with layers of material that cause their fingernails to grow in a certain shape or way. Its nothing to be ashamed about everyones nails are different and just because you have ridges doesnt mean that you are flawed!

    #2: Your skin layer is growing too quickly.

    If your fingernails grow too fast then the skin underneath will not be able to keep up, causing it to stretch out and create different layers along your nails.

    #3: Dry skin.

    When your hands are too dry, they will begin to flake and the ridges on your nails may be a sign that your fingernails are actually really dry. Try moisturizing your hands a little more often to help improve their condition.

    #4: Damage!

    If you have been pushing down hard onto something or if you have been hanging onto something with a bit too much pressure, then your nails may have been put under a lot of stress and damage which can lead to the ridges.

    #5: Age.

    As you age, your skin will begin to thin out so if you are noticing this happening to your nails, then the ridges could be a sign of aging!

    #6: Too much polish.

    If you are constantly repainting your nails or if you have been able to chip away at the paint after only 1 day of it being on, then this could be another cause to the ridges! Try applying nail polish more sparingly and try opting for a matte coat instead its just as pretty but lasts much longer!

    #7: Hard water.

    #8: Dehydration.

    #9: Some medications.

    Add A Ridge Filler To Your Mani Routine

    Unfortunately, nail polish doesnt hide ridgesit can actually draw more attention to them. Ridge fillers, followed by nail polish, can help smooth out the look of nail ridges, says Dr. Shainhouse. Ridge fillers operate much like a base coat that settles into the nooks and crannies of your nails, giving you a smooth canvas to work with. Try OPI Ridge Filler next time you want to get your mani on.

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    Why Do My Nails Have Ridges And Split

    How do I stop my nails from splitting and ridged?

  • Keep your fingernails dry. Repeated or prolonged contact with water can contribute to split fingernails.
  • Practice good nail hygiene. Keep your fingernails neatly trimmed, and round the tips in a gentle curve.
  • Avoid harsh nail care products.
  • Apply a protective layer.
  • What does it mean when your nails split vertically?

    Vertically splitting nails is a condition known as Onychorrhexis. It’s commonly caused by overexposure, through constantly washing and drying hands, whether just through daily life or frequent manicures, making them dry and brittle.

    What are you lacking if you have ridges in your 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. Hormonal changes can also cause ridges to appear.


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