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What Causes Vertical or Horizontal Ridges on Nails?

Vertical or horizontal ridges on nails are tiny raised lines that run up and down the length of the nail or across the nail. Vertical or horizontal, ridges can develop due to underlying medical conditions, trauma or aging. Many people notice that their vertical ridges accentuate as they age, and it is a normal process. Longitudinal ridges and brittle nails are describes by a medial term, onychorrhexis. They can appear because of aging or accompany certain chronic diseases.
What Causes Vertical or Horizontal Ridges on Nails? What Causes Vertical or Horizontal Ridges on Nails? Picture

Unlike longitudinal ridges, Beau’s lines are horizontal lines that transverse depressions and may be confused with nail ridging. They are associated with many conditions such as infections, malnutrition, a previous injury, certain medication and metabolic problems. If you suspect this type of nail ridge, seek advice from a doctor. However, if your ridges are vertical, meaning they run from up and down, there is probably nothing to be concerned about. They are just a normal part of aging.

Ridges on nails do not necessarily mean that you are missing something in your diet. A common cause is lack of moisture from your body’s natural oil. Applying olive oil, nail oil or vitamin E oil can help prevent nail ridges. Moreover, it will also benefit your cuticles and make them less visible. Because many people don’t like how ridges on nails look, they buff them out. However, you must be careful not to file for too long or press too hard, because it can cause trauma to the nail bed and nail. The ridge is the thinnest spot on the nail, so buffing can split and exacerbate it.
What Causes Vertical or Horizontal Ridges on Nails? What Causes Vertical or Horizontal Ridges on Nails? Picture

If you are not able to buff them completely, you can apply a special nail polish for ridges. Usually it is white and you will see the word ridge written on the bottle. You can use this special polish as a base coat or just leave it like this. However, not all ridges on nails are normal. If you notice the following, don’t try to cover them up and consult a doctor:

  • Bleeding around the nails
  • Thinning or thickening of the nails
  • Changes in nail color
  • Separation of the nail from the surrounding skin
  • Redness, swelling or pain
  • Changes in nail shape, such as curled nails

Tips for healthy nails

Trim and file your nails regularly. Trim your nails straight across with clippers or a sharp manicure scissors. Then round the tips in a curve and file them in the same direction. It may be easier to do this after you take a bath and the nails are softer.

Keep your fingers clean and dry. In order to prevent fungi, bacteria and other microorganisms from growing under your nails, keep them clean and dry at all times. When you are cleaning, washing dishes and using chemicals, wear cotton-lined rubber gloves.

Moisturize. Either you use hand lotion or cuticle oil, make sure you rub it on your cuticles and fingernails.

Protect your nails. To prevent your nails from getting damaged, don’t use them as a tool to pole, pry or pick something.

Don’t bite your nails, hangnails or cuticles. If you bite your nails, hangnails or cuticles, you could damage the nail bed and allow fungi or bacteria to enter.