Written by Anza Goodbar (last updated August 27, 2021)
I went in for surgery several years ago. As part of my pre-op visit the nurse asked me to remove the polish from my nails. I thought that was odd. She went on to explain that while I was under anesthesia, the doctor would be monitoring my blood gasses and color of the fingernail was a good indicator that the procedure was going well
As I have grown older, I have discovered that the fingernails can be a hint of what other ailments may be going on in my body. Changes in my nail texture and strength can tell me about my diet. I always know when I'm not eating right; my fingernails tell me right away.
Vertical ridges can be normal. They usually grow more apparent as we age. Most manicurists will buff the nails to minimize the appearance of the ridges. Covering them with nail polish should pose no problems. It may be recommended to avoid polish remover with acetone as it is a drying agent which may increase the appearance of ridges. Only change polish twice a month and use clear or sheer colors.
Horizontal ridges can indicate more serious health conditions. If they appear, you should seek medical advice as a precaution. Horizontal ridges can indicate:
Ridges in fingernails are common and are only an indicator of what might possibly be going on with your health. Having a good diet and taking a multi-vitamin can correct many issues with fingernails. Fingernails are made mostly of protein, adding protein to your diet can help speed nail growth. Gelatin tablets can also stimulate nail growth. Ridges are caused from excessive dryness or an interruption in the growth of the nail. This can also be brought on by a nail trauma.
Once the reason for the ridges is discerned, the nail will grow out and the ridges will disappear over time. Using cuticle oil or cream 2-3 times each day at the base of the fingernail will help feed the nail and stimulate growth.
Nails should be treated with care. To prevent drying, wear gloves when doing dishes or cleaning. Harsh chemicals found in cleaning supplies and dish soaps can dry nails and cause ridges. Moisturize after cleaning and washing your hands. Once a week, slather on a heavy cream and sleep in a pair of gloves. Over time this will help reduce vertical ridges if the ridges are brought on by excessive dryness.
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