Applying a fresh coat of nail polish can provide an immediate mood boost, but it can also be concerning if you suddenly notice your nails aren’t as smooth as they used to be. The appearance of ridges in your nail can often be seen as a sign that you are getting older, or a sign that there is something wrong. These top dermatologists explain what causes fingernail bumps and how you can stop them.
You might be wondering what ridges are in your fingernails.
“Ridges in the fingernails are vertical or horizontal depressions on the nail plate,”Says Angela Kim, D.O., a board-certified dermatologist practicing in Yuba City, California. “Ridges can be longitudinal (vertical lines) traveling from the cuticle to the tips of your nail or transverse (horizontal lines) extending from one side to the other of your nail.”
How do you get nail ridges, and what causes them?
Whether the ridges in your nails are vertical or horizontal can be a clue to what’s causing the ridging.
Vertical ridges on nails: Possible causes
“Just as your skin starts to show age-related changes such as thinning and sagging, nails also show signs of aging,”Dr. Kim. “Longitudinal ridging of nails is usually age-related and usually nothing to worry about.”According to her, there are many factors that could cause vertical ridges in your nails, including decreased circulation, reduced nail growth, and the removal of solvents from manicures.
Horizontal ridges on nails: Causes
Horizontal riding, also called “Hornal Riding” Beau’s lines() can be caused by other factors than age, and most often damage to the nails matrix. “If you are looking at your thumb, the area between the bottom end of the nail where the cuticles are and the thumb joint is where the nail matrix is under the skin,”Dr. Kim explains. “If this area is mechanically traumatized by manicures, a habit of picking or rubbing at the area or inflamed by dermatological conditions such as eczema or psoriasis, horizontal lines can show up.”
Systemic health problems can cause nail matrix damage and horizontal rider issues. Saya Obayan, M.D., M.P.H.Board-certified dermatologist, and Chief Executive Officer of Skin Joy DermatologyAustin, Texas
If you are experiencing ridges, these conditions could be to blame.
How can I get rid of the ridges under my nails?
The most effective treatment for your nail ridges depends on what’s causing them. This is important to remember. It is important to intervene earlyDr. Kim says that long-term trauma may cause damage to the nail matrix, and even permanent deformity. Below are some of the common treatments for nail removal.
Address the root cause
To achieve smoother nails, it is important to treat any systemic disease such as the ones listed above. Dr. Kim believes that overall health and wellbeing will be improved, leading to stronger nails.
It is worth considering supplements
“Vitamin A, vitamin B, biotin, iron and zinc are needed for normal growth of nails, but moderation of these vitamins is key,”Dr. Kim. “Too much of one or more vitamins can lead to serious health issues. High amounts of biotin can also alter thyroid function test as well as cardiac marker screen test for heart attacks. You should ask your doctor before consuming.”
Do your nails need some love
“Just as you would hydrate and care for damaged, dyed hair with conditioners, nails also need tender loving care,”Dr. Kim. Dr. Kim suggests that your cuticles be moisturized. She also advises against picking and biting nails.
Make sure to use a nail polish hardener
Dr. Obayan says she uses nail hardeners known as GenadurTo strengthen nails “Genadur is actually what we call a hydrosoluble nail lacquer, so it goes into the nail and repairs any areas where you might have some damage. It’s kind of like filling in little potholes in the nail,”According to her, Genadur costs a lot so consider an over-the-counter nail hardener, such as Brands Like. Isdin, Sally HansenOr Orly. “A lot of the nail hardeners that you’ll find over the counter are usually going to just provide a coating to the nail as opposed to actually going in there and repairing the nail.”To determine which nail strengthening products are best for you, the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab polled more than 1300 individuals.
Reduce your level of buffing
While it might appear that buffing is the fastest method to fix nail problems, this may not be the best for nail health. “I generally don’t love buffing because it causes destruction to the nail plate, and it can make it thinner and much more likely to break,” says Dr. Obayan. “If you’re going to buff, definitely keep it to a minimum — like maybe just once or twice a month — and always apply a nail hardener immediately after.”
Is it possible to stop nail ridges happening?
Use these dermatologist-approved tips to prevent nail ridges:
Take the rainbow!
“Nail health starts from our insides,” says Dr. Obayan. She recommends eating a diet that’s rich in vegetables and fruit, so you consume a variety of vitamins and minerals. It’s also helpful to limit inflammatory foods such as alcohol, refined carbohydrates and things that are high in saturated fat.
Take good care of your cuticles
“It is important to not remove your cuticles during manicures and to keep the area moisturized,”Dr. Kim. “Protecting the cuticles will protect your nail matrix stem cells so that your nails stay healthy and grow normally. Just like moisturizing your skin can help to protect the skin barrier for healthier glowing skin, you want to give the same tender loving care to your nails and its surrounding skin to keep them hydrated and healthy.”
Do not over-groom
Repeated use of polymer powder, gel nails, or acrylic kits can lead to brittle nails. “It’s really important for folks to not overdo your nails,” says Dr. Obayan. “You don’t have to always have a gel or a powder or a design on your nail. Give your nail a break from time to time and take care of them just like you take care of your body.”Her suggestion is to use a hydrosoluble nailhardener in between manicures.
How do you know when to see a doctor regarding nail removal?
While vertical ridging is usually a sign of aging, horizontal ridging can be an indicator that something isn’t right — whether it’s an internal issue or the way you treat your nails externally. You should also be alert for discoloration or pain around your nails.
“If you notice a change to your nails, the most important thing is to make sure it’s nothing to worry about so go see your doctor,” says Dr. Obayan. They may take photos, consider your medical history, ask about your nail care practices and/or order blood tests to get a better idea of what’s going on. “Board-certified dermatologists are experts of skin, hair and nails and are trained to gather and piece together the puzzle to narrow down a list of potential diagnoses and arrive at the most likely or correct diagnosis,”Dr. Kim says. Your dermatologist can determine the root cause of nailridges and recommend the most effective treatment. Dr. Kim agrees.
Kaitlyn Pirie serves as senior editor for the Hearst Health Newsroom. reportEdits health-related content and also writes them. Good Housekeeping, Prevention Woman’s Day. More than 10 years experience in speaking with top doctors and working on scientific studies that explain how the body works. Kaitlyn uses what she’s learned to create engaging stories that are easy to read about health and medical conditions. An M.S. is also her title. A B.S. is also hers. She also holds a B.S. in magazine journalism at Syracuse University.
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