The True Significance of the Ridges on Your Fingernails

The True Significance of the Ridges on Your Fingernails

If you have noticed grooves in your fingernails, you are not alone. A study published by Canadian Family Physician reveals that approximately 20% of adults will experience brittle nails with ridges or splits as a natural part of the aging process. These ridges are typically vertical and appear as small raised stripes running from the base to the tip of the nail.

By running your finger over the nail, you can feel the textured pattern of the ridges. However, there are certain circumstances in which nail ridges may indicate a health concern, depending on recent events that may have affected the nail bed, as stated by Arlington Dermatology.

Whether you are concerned about maintaining a smooth manicure or identifying potential medical conditions early on, having the right information is crucial. So, what exactly causes nail ridges? And if you have them, how can you minimize their appearance and determine whether you should consult a doctor or dermatologist?

Vertical nail ridges are a normal consequence of the natural loss of moisture that occurs during the aging process. Generally, they are not a cause for concern beyond their cosmetic impact, according to Mayo Clinic. On the other hand, horizontal ridges are a less common occurrence that can indicate various health issues. Deep horizontal nail ridges, also known as Beau’s lines, often signify an interruption in nail growth.

According to the Cleveland Clinic, this interruption can be caused by factors such as nail root injuries, illnesses or infections, severe stress, skin conditions affecting the nail area, deficiencies in vitamins or nutrients, or reduced blood flow to the nail. Any acute illness that leads to a high fever can exert enough stress on the body to disrupt nail growth. Additionally, chronic diseases like diabetes or hypothyroidism can also interfere with nail growth.

Beau’s lines can be a classic symptom of a protein or zinc deficiency. While many believe that those following a vegan diet struggle to consume enough protein, zinc is actually more likely to be lacking in a plant-based diet.

If you notice horizontal ridges on your nails and you are vegan or have not experienced a finger injury or high fever recently, it is advisable to consult a doctor about your nutrition. A board-certified dermatologist who specializes in skin and nail disorders is more likely to recognize Beau’s lines than a primary care provider.

Once you have ruled out any health concerns related to your nail ridges, or have received medical advice, you can address any cosmetic worries.

Avoid buffing down the ridges on your nails, as this can weaken the overall nail. Instead, consider using a high-quality product like the OPI Ridge Filler as a base coat before applying nail polish. Ridge fillers work by filling in the recessed areas of your nail ridges, creating a smooth surface for your nail polish to glide on and hide the ridges beneath.