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What are the Causes of Ridges in Fingernails?

12 June 2020
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A wide variety of health effects can cause fingernail ridges, but they are not typically a significant cause for concern. The most common reason for nail ridges to appear is ageing, as slower cell turnover begins to take effect. However, damage or trauma to your nails can also cause nail ridges, but this is usually temporary as your nails heal. 

Typically, your nail ridges are divided into two main types: vertical and horizontal. Vertical lines are more common and often require no specialized treatment, but horizontal ridges, especially deep ones, should be examined by your doctor or dermatologist. 


Reasons for Nail Ridges

Vertical Ridges

Vertical ridges are typically characterized by lines running from the tip to the cuticle of your nail. Often, a deficiency in key minerals, such as protein, calcium, zinc, or vitamin A, can cause these ridges. Nails are made from keratin, a substance naturally grown in your body, a lack of these minerals can cause ridges, brittleness, or softness in your nails.

Furthermore skin conditions, like eczema or psoriasis, can cause nail ridges. These conditions will cause other adverse effects as well, and you will have to consult with your doctor to come up with a suitable treatment plan if it’s necessary. Finally, iron deficiency may lead to vertical ridges as well, in a similar fashion to other mineral deficiencies.

Vertical ridges on the fingernails

Horizontal Ridges

Horizontal ridges run side-to-side on your nails and can be a severe cause for concern. For instance, a condition referred to as Beau’s Lines can cause horizontal nail ridges as the growth of your nails is impeded for a length of time. Similarly, several health conditions can cause horizontal lines, such as diabetes, thyroid disease, syphilis, and acute kidney disease. 

If you are unaware of the source of your horizontal lines, you should seek the opinion of a doctor or dermatologist to receive treatment and additional information.


Treatment and Repair of Nail Ridges

As mentioned above, nail ridges are not necessarily an indication of serious medical concern, but you can still seek to better them or reduce their appearance. Nail repair gel may have some effect, but emery boards will reduce the appearance significantly. 

As well, introducing mineral supplements into your daily intake has also proven beneficial in reducing the effects of nail ridges. Additionally, you should seek the advice of a dermatologist for treatment and diagnosis, which may include a specific nail repair gel. Still, they will have experience and education to assess and treat your nail ridges properly.


Dr. Mitchell Kline and Dr. Jeremy Green are widely recognized as two of the most admired and trusted dermatologists in the world. Due to our patented Drs. Kline + Green™ product line, we can provide instant nail repair relief. To enjoy beautiful clean nails, place your order today. You won’t be disappointed.

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