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Vertical Ridges on Nails: Vitamin Deficiency or Something Else?

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Vertical ridges on nails may be a sign of a vitamin deficiency. They can appear due to zinc, vitamin A, vitamin B, vitamin B12, and even keratin deficiency.

But, vertical nail ridges can appear due to hormonal shifts, certain autoimmune conditions, and other medical conditions.

Make sure you can differentiate. Here’s how to know!

Table of Contents:

  • Are vertical lines on your nails normal?
  • Vertical lines & horizontal lines on your lines: what do they mean?
  • How to tell your vertical ridges on nails mean a vitamin deficiency?
  • Vertical ridges on nails due to vitamin A deficiency
  • Vertical ridges on nails caused by vitamin B deficiency
  • Vertical lines on your nails may signal a serious health issue
  • How to take care of vertical ridges on your nails
  • Take care of your diet: make sure you have all the nutrients your nails need!
  • To heal vertical ridges on your nails, moisturize the area!
  • Make sure to keep your nails neat!
  • Don’t pick your cuticles, and don’t bite your nails!
  • Prevent eczema by limiting your water exposure
  • Choose a treatment that can make your nails strong!
  • Splurge on biotin!
  • Do you want to hide your vertical ridges? Gently buff them away!
  • Fill those ridges with some ridge-filler or nail polish!
  • And even better: give your nails a break!

Are vertical lines on your nails normal?

What causes vertical ridges on nails? 

The underlying cause may vary.

It can be mineral deficiencies or protein deficiencies. It can be a deficiency in vitamin A or a zinc deficiency. It can be a serious ailment or a hormonal imbalance even. 

Vertical nail ridges can, however, be normal. They can be a normal sign of aging, for instance. If you’re not in the category of nail wrinkling (yes, the nails age just like your skin!), you may want to investigate.

Vertical lines & horizontal lines on your lines: what do they mean?

Horizontal lines, from side to side, can appear due to nail trauma (picking the nails, getting the finger caught up in the door). 

nail ridges

They can also appear after serious stresses affect the body (fever, infections, illnesses) and the nail stops growing for a short time. That pause in growth causes a horizontal line.

Vertical lines run from your cuticle to the tip of the nail. Their causes vary from aging to dehydration of the nail plate, from excessive water exposure to skin conditions or a lack in your nutrition.

ridges on nails

How to tell your vertical ridges on nails mean a vitamin deficiency?

Vertical ridges, while rarely so, can be a sign of a systemic condition or a vitamin deficiency. Here is how you can tell.

Vertical ridges on nails due to vitamin A deficiency

Brittle nails accompanied by vertical ridges can be signs of a deficiency in vitamin A, calcium, and zinc. 

Vertical ridges on nails caused by vitamin B deficiency

A change in texture and the presence of deep longitudinal lines on the nails can be signs of vitamin B deficiency. 

If your nails become soft, breakable, they don’t grow as they used to, and they change their appearance, showing vertical ridges, you may want to supplement your vitamin B intake. 

Vertical lines on your nails may signal a serious health issue

What autoimmune disease causes ridges in fingernails? 

Is there a hidden ailment that makes your nails brittle and weak? 

Here are some tips to guide yourself into seeking medical help:

  • Ridging and brittleness can be a sign of eczema, a thyroid disease (hypothyroidism), or an iron deficiency. 
  • Weak, soft nails that break and ridge horizontally can manifest due to harsh chemicals. But they can be signs of deficiencies in Vitamins B, fatty acids, calcium, or iron.
  • Peeling and ridging can be a sign of iron deficiency, biotin deficiency, or dehydration. 
  • Pronounced vertical ridges may signal anemia or kidney disease.
  • Vertical ridges, white lines or spots, and inflamed skin are signs of fungal infection of zinc deficiency. 
  • Vertical ridges can be caused by lichen planus, an autoimmune condition that attacks nails and mucosal surfaces. 
  • Certain skin conditions may cause your nails to develop vertical lines. Psoriasis is one of them. It manifests by vertical ridges accompanied by discoloration, brittleness, dehydration, fissures, and nail spots. 
  • If you have a peripheral vascular disease, you may notice longitudinal ridges on the nails due to the affectation of the blood vessels. 
  • Liver disease and anemia can also manifest on your nails. Nails become brittle, and showing lines are usual signs. 
  • Fungal infections, aka onychomycosis, can create ridges. They are usually accompanied by a change in nail color and texture. The nails become yellowish, brittle, and crumbly. 
  • Many other diseases can show up on your nails, including a type of skin cancer. Melanoma can show as a vertical ridge of a brown hue. Nails can split on that ridge, and the dark nail can progress to make the cuticle and the surrounding skin appear darker.

How to take care of vertical ridges on your nails

If you rule out serious ailments, here are some life hacks and health tips that can help diminish or stop your nails from ridging. 

Vertical Ridges on Nails: Vitamin Deficiency or Something Else?


Take care of your diet: make sure you have all the nutrients your nails need!

Nail health is in correlation to nutrient deficiency. Having a healthy diet and keeping hydrated can help your nails remain healthy too.

To heal vertical ridges on your nails, moisturize the area!

Moisturize the nails to protect the keratin and prevent ridges from appearing. Alpha hydroxy acids do a great job in sealing moisture and nourishing the nails. You can find them plentifully in this Apple Cider Vinegar Foaming Body Wash. 

Make sure to keep your nails neat!

Shorter, neat nails are more protected from nail trauma. On the other side, over-trimming nails is also a bad habit. So, make sure to cut your nails when you can clearly see a white tip but don’t go overboard as to remove all the white.

Don’t pick your cuticles, and don’t bite your nails!

To prevent ridges on fingernails, a good rule of thumb (#wink) is to stop picking at them. Constantly picking or biting your nails will cause them to grow irregularly. 

Leaving your cuticle be can also help. The cuticle is there to stop infections and dirt away from the nail matrix. Pushing back the cuticle or picking it can create ridges. 

Prevent eczema by limiting your water exposure

Not only a well-balanced diet can keep nails healthy. Balance is key in every aspect. For instance, excessive exposure to water can strip the hands and nails of their natural oils and emollients. 

Nails will become dry and brittle. The skin can develop eczema, which in turn will affect the nails. 

Choose a treatment that can make your nails strong!

Brittle nails that often break or split and that develop ridges can benefit from topical nail hardening treatments. 

In the short term, such solutions might be effective. But in the long run, they can make your nails even worse. 

Such treatments contain formaldehyde. A natural approach may be of better use. Vegetal oils can keep your nails strong and nourished while keeping your cuticle sealed. 

Essential oils can contribute to hand health and moisturization as well. Lavender, Rose, Rosemary, Geranium are a couple of effective essential oils for nail health.

geranium essential oil

Splurge on biotin!

If you are wondering, “What vitamins should I take for ridges in nails?” We have one suggestion. 

You’ve probably heard of biotin and its correlation to nail health. 

Does biotin help nail ridges? 

Biotin strengthens the nail plate and aids nail growth. Vitamin B7, aka biotin, is essential in nail health.

Do you want to hide your vertical ridges? Gently buff them away!

That’s not a cure, nor a treatment of a cause, but merely a quick fix. 

Gently buffing your nail surface can be a solution to hide those ridges.

Don’t overdo it so you won’t cause nail splitting. Once a month tops!

Fill those ridges with some ridge-filler or nail polish!

If you want to hide those ridges and apply some nail polish, make sure to choose a light one that goes easy on your nails. 

Starting with a ridge filler will make your nails’ surface even since it will act as a coating for your nails. 

And even better: give your nails a break!

However, focus on giving your nails a breather from nail polish, fillers, acrylic, or gel procedures. 

Such techniques make your nails ridge, and they dehydrate them. They thin out the nail bed, making your nails brittle and weak.

While it can be easier to hide an issue and look for a quick fix, we recommend you dig deep into the problem and look for a solution. 

Taking care of yourself can be a splash of red nail polish on a bad day. But let it be choosing health on the inside, that shows on the outside!

Iulia Claudia Dumitru

I feel happy when I get to tell meaningful stories. About people. About the world. About life. About what people need to feel good. Healthy food, a balanced lifestyle, a grateful approach to relationships with others and ourselves. That is how I keep myself grounded and purposeful. That is how I aim to contribute: striving to make ourselves the best we can. Creating life in the little things. Living every day with the joy, wonder, and curiosity of a child. Trying to #seeKbeauty. Inside and out.

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