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What Are the Ridges in My Nails and Why Are They Suddenly More Prominent?

The best types of manicures go beyond a beautiful style and exciting expression of creativity and individuality. They can actually be incredibly useful for supporting your nail and cuticle health and preventing complications like inflammation and infections. When you get regular manicures and nail care, you can notice any changes in your nail health that might indicate something larger, which is just one reason why routine nail care is so essential. 

One of the most common changes that can affect our nail is the evolution of ridges. Ridges are usually nothing to be concerned about, but the more we understand what our nails need to be healthy and strong, the easier it is to find the best products for the job and take care of them every step of the way. 

Here at Nailboo, we believe that salon-quality manicures and nail care should be accessible to everyone. That’s why our dip kits are budget-friendly and perfect for at-home application, so proper manicures won’t break the bank or require a lot of regular appointments. Whether you’re dealing with ridges in your nails, brittle nails, or any other complications or concerns that might affect nail health, we’re here to help you get the support and information you deserve. Here’s what you’ll want to consider about nail ridge protection and support. 

What Are Ridges in Your Nails? 

There are many potential reasons you may be notice ridges or lines in your nails, and it’s important to take notice of them. While the most common causes of nail ridges are usually temporary and benign, there are a few common causes that may be more serious, so it’s important to speak to your healthcare provider about the development or evolution of nail ridges. 

Here are some of the potential causes for nail ridges

Aging May Cause Ridges

The most common reason for ridges to develop on the nails or to become more pronounced over time is aging. As we grow older, cell regeneration in our nails, hair, and skin begins to slow, which means the cells in the nails don’t turn over as quickly or replace existing nails the way they usually do. 

Ridges from aging will present vertically, but it’s important to pay attention to any other symptoms or conditions that may be associated with vertical nail ridges. If you notice that the nail changes color, in addition to developing vertical ridges, or that your nails have suddenly become brittle, rough, or painful, it’s important to seek the support of a medical team to determine the root cause. 

Skin Conditions Can Cause Nail Ridges

Your nails don’t exist in a bubble. The nail is very much influenced by the health of the skin, cuticle, and bed around it, and when the skin is dry or irritated, it can very much show up on the nail, as well. The most common skin condition to affect the health of the nail is actually eczema, which comes in many different forms and types, and may be the result of allergens or irritating substances, genetics, and environmental factors. 

There are many reasons to protect your hands from excessive dryness and cracking, and avoiding ridges is one of them. In the winter, particularly, the skin on our hands and fingers can dry out, leading to irritation and side effects like fingernail ridges. 

If you are managing the effects of eczema or if you work in a hobby or career when you come into contact with a lot of chemicals and washing solutions that can cause contact dermatitis, it’s extremely important to keep your hands well-moisturized. This can help to prevent painful cracking and microabrasions and also reduce your likelihood of developing ridges in your fingernails. 

Vitamin Deficiencies May Impact Your Nails

It’s incredibly important to pay attention to your nail health because it can provide important information about your body’s overall health and wellness, particularly where vitamins and nutrients are concerned. There are many reasons we may experience a vitamin deficiency, like a pregnancy, hormone change, or pre-existing condition, and we might not even realize we have one. 

Our nails can help. Iron deficiency will often present as vertical nail ridges, sometimes in tandem with changes to the shape of the nails. Ridges in the nails can also indicate that you’re low on other essentials like protein, calcium, or Vitamin A, which are all essential to keeping your body healthy and safe. A quick trip to the doctor’s office will shed light on the type of vitamin supplements or dietary changes that might help. 

Vitamin deficiency is also why it’s common to see fingernail ridges in older people, who often have vitamin deficiencies as their diets change and their exercise and activity levels decrease. 

Beau’s Lines 

While most causes behind fingernail ridges are benign, there are a few underlying conditions that can lead to fingernail ridges you’ll want to have addressed right away. Vertical ridges should get checked out, just to be cautious, but horizontal ridges are often an indication of something more serious. 

Horizontal lines or ridges are often called Beau’s Lines and indicate an underlying condition that can both stop the growth of the nail and affect your overall health and wellness. One of the most common reasons you may notice that Beau’s lines appear on your fingernails is because of a kidney condition, and by the time the lines develop, it is often a situation that requires immediate medical attention. 

In addition to kidney conditions, Beau’s lines can both indicate acute and chronic health conditions. Thyroid disease and diabetes can both present with Beau’s Lines on the fingernails, and if you are undergoing chemotherapy treatment, you may notice the development of Beau’s lines, as well. Additionally, more acute conditions, like syphilis and the mumps, may present as Beau’s lines. 

Acute Trauma

If you notice damage or changes to one or a few nails, it may be the result of acute trauma, but pay attention to any other symptoms or changes that may be associated with the trauma. While bruising under the nail after a damage or injury is not uncommon, color changes not associated with injury may be an indication of a more complex overall medical condition and should be addressed as soon as possible. 

Nail Health and Support 

Because there are so many potential reasons you may be experiencing ridges on your fingernails, it’s very important to speak with your medical team as soon as you notice them so you can get the healthcare and support you deserve. Most commonly, it’s a result of aging or a simple vitamin deficiency that can be addressed with supplements or changes to your diet. 

In any case, it’s important to maintain proper overall nail care and health with regular manicures and trims. The more you know about the health and wellness of your nails, the easier it will be to determine when it’s time to speak to your doctor about potential overall health concerns. 

Our individual nail needs vary, but you’ll want to make sure you address any signs of irritation or inflammation, keep your nail beds and cuticles clean and allow any injuries or traumas to heal, and let time pass between applying acrylic nails, so that the nails have time to heal and grow strong again. And, of course, you’ll always want to use top-quality products in the recommended way when giving yourself at-home manicures. 



Whatever your nail needs might be, Nailboo has you covered. While there are many different approaches to manicures and nail health and wellness, the most important step you can take when caring for your nails is to allow them to heal and grow strong before applying any powder or polish to the surface. 

Not only do our nails need proper care so they can continue to be strong and durable, but nail health can also provide useful information about our body’s needs and any potential conditions we might be experiencing. Ridges, in particular, are a common side effect of many conditions. Aging and vitamin deficiency are two of the most routine reasons behind vertical nail ridges. Beau’s Lines, horizontal ridges, can form as a symptom of kidney conditions, diabetes, or thyroid conditions. 

When you notice a change in your nails, whether it’s ridges, new colors, or an unusual change in texture, speak to your medical team so you can get the support and guidance you deserve to continue feeling good for years to come. 

And when your nails are happy and healthy and ready for a new shade, then Nailboo has you covered, with easy-to-use and nail-smart dip kits you can try out right at home. Check out our library of nail care guides to get started today. 



Nail ridges: Cause for concern? | Mayo Clinic  

Vitamin Deficiencies - an overview | Science Direct 

By the way, doctor: What causes Beau's lines? | Harvard