The structure of our fingernails reveals a lot about our health. Likewise, having ridges in nails could be a sign of an underlying disease. Ridges are formed when our nails do not have enough nutrients to produce new cells. With the lack of nutrients, the nails start to deform instead of growing. Let’s get deeper on this topic.
Types and causes of ridges on nails
Fingernails are composed of living skin cells in the fingers. Skin conditions such as eczema and skin dryness can cause ridges in nails. When the body is suffering from a state of lower nutrients, such as deficiency in protein, calcium, zinc, or vitamin A, can also be the roots of the ridges.
Also known as longitudinal striations or bands, these are wrinkles or furrows that begin at the tip of the fingernail and down to the cuticle. The vertical ridges are caused mostly to the older age group as their cell turnover slows down. Cell turnover is an activity during which old cells are replaced by new ones.
- Change in color or texture of nails
- Thicker or thinner nails
- Fragile body and splitting of nails
- Rough and brittle nails
Ridges that appear alongside rough and brittle nails might be due to a medical condition. In such a situation, the doctor’s consultation is advised. So, what causes ridges in fingernails?
What causes ridges in nails?
- The person might be suffering from Trachyonychia or 20-nail dystrophy, due to which color change takes place.
- Iron deficiency in one’s body causes ridges in nails and tends to change the shape of the nails to concave or spoon-shaped.
- Iron deficiency causes a low amount of red blood cells which gives rise to Anemia. Suffering from anaemia can cause ridges due to insufficient blood supply to the fingernails. It makes the ridges deeper and more visible by changing the color of the nails as well.
- Splinter haemorrhage is small blood clots that run vertically under the nails. The damaged blood vessels cause ridges on the nails. In severe cases, bleeding is caused by haemorrhage. In this case, the expert’s consultation is necessary.
- The other medical conditions that can cause ridges are peripheral vascular disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
Horizontal nail ridges
Horizontal ridges in fingernails are also known as Beau’s lines. These are deep horizontal lines that run across the fingernails and often serve as symptoms of serious diseases that require diagnosis and treatment.
Formation of horizontal nail ridges can serve as symptoms of the following diseases:
- Acute kidney diseases
Chemotherapy is like a trauma to the nails. This treatment forms red or brown spots underneath the nails. In case you haven’t been under any therapy and still getting spots of different colors, this can be a sign of a serious disease such as endocarditis and melanoma.
- Digestive disorders:
Disorders such as Crohn’s disease, celiac disease, and ulcerative colitis cause difficulty to organs while absorbing nutrients from food. Due to insufficient absorption of nutrients, the body is unable to make new cells to replace the old ones. This causes the nails to suffer from ridges.
Incidents as simple as dropping a heavy book on the fingernail can cause bruising. This is followed by reddish-brown spots underneath the nails, which will heal themselves.
If the spots of any color appear without even going through any sort of incident, it might be a sign of a serious disease.
As getting ridges in nails is a sign of some disease, usually curing or treating that disease also cures the ridges. For instance, if someone is getting ridges on the nails due to a deficiency of iron in the blood, they should treat themselves with iron supplements. The supplements will help in generating fresh blood that will create new cells for the formation of nails. In this way, the ridges will clear out from the fingernails.
If the ridges on the nails are not a sign of any medical condition and do not require any medical attention, you can get rid of those following these steps:
Keeping your nails hydrated is as important as keeping your body. Moisturizing the nails with cream or oil minimizes the ridges and eventually cures them. it also protects the keratin of the nails, hence, preventing them from any other damage.
It is advised to use a moisturizer that is rich in ceramides or alpha hydroxy acids, which nourishes the nails.
- Keep your nails dirt-free
Since childhood, we are advised to keep our nails short. it not only prevents dirt from getting into our mouths but also prevents the nails from any kind of trauma generated from day-to-day work.
Make sure to clip the nails at least once a week using a standard clipper. Carefully clip only the white parts (Dead cells part) and do not clip below them. You might end up hurting the flesh below the nails.
Avoid using a trimmer to level your nails, as they are not good from the pink parts of the nails.
- Protect the cuticle
Picking or shoving the nails harms the cuticles. To prevent traumatic ridges, avoid doing those. As a cuticle is the only barrier between dirt and tissues of the fingers, messing with it can cause infections. Infections can cause damage to the nail matrix and deform the nails.
- Reduction in water exposure
Washing fingers frequently has a bad effect on the nails. It often steals the natural oil and emollients from the nails. It results in excessive dryness and in some cases, hand eczema.
If the water exposure is too much while doing daily jobs, try covering your hands with silicon gloves. This reduces the contact between your fingers and water.
- Ridge filler
Using a ridge filler can help in filling the gaps between the nails. This can be used before the application of nail polish. It can give a smooth finish.
- Biotin supplements
Reports say that consuming these can help to get back the strength of the nails. These also help to generate new cells for nail formation. It advised not to consume these without consulting a dermatologist.