Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated October 13, 2021)
There are two types of ridges that can form on fingernails. Vertical ridges that run the length of the nail are normal and can deepen as we age. Rarely do they indicate an underlying health problem. Horizontal ridges that run the width of the fingernail can be cause for concern. Horizontal ridges are formed when there is a disruption in the growth of the nail. Some horizontal lines are formed due to an injury to the nail bed or a change in nutritional patterns. Once the injury heals or nutritional habits return to normal, the growth pattern should return and the horizontal lines should disappear.
If horizontal lines appear accompanied by other anomalies like discoloration, shape, texture or thickness it would be wise to consult a medical professional. These can be signs that a more serious condition may be going on with your health.
A particular type of horizontal line is called Beau's lines can be caused by trauma, infection or internal diseases. Some of the indicators include:
Symptoms for Beau's lines include crosswise grooves or ridges in the nail bed. They could be symptomatic of malnutrition, zinc or iron deficiencies, anemia or diabetes. They could also be a result of an extended disease like cancer or coronary problems.
Treatment of Beau's lines include: moisturize after each washing, don't use acetone as it dries the nail, don't use polish remover more than twice a month, touch up nail color in between polishes. As the Beau's lines grow out, cut them off. Do not apply acrylic nails on top of fingernails with Beau's lines as infections can occur. With proper care, Beau's lines can be reversed.
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