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Vertical Ridges in Nails: Vitamin Deficiency or Something Else?

5 mins

Iulia Claudia Dumitru

Vertical ridges in nails and vitamin deficiency are generally linked, but can it be another health issue? Find out everything you need to know about ridges on nails and vitamin deficiency.

Vertical ridges on nails can appear due to zinc, vitamin A, and even keratin deficiency, the list can go on and on.

Continue reading to find out what health issues may be causing it, alongside a care routine you should take to reduce their appearance. 

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

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 also be a serious ailment or a hormonal imbalance even. Also, check out levels of iron in your body, since it can be caused by iron deficiency. So, the first step is to find out what vitamin is missing from your body. 

Vertical ridges on nails can, however, be normal. They can be a normal sign of ageing, 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.

nail care routine, vertical ridges on nails

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). 

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.

nail ridges

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

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

Vertical lines on nails, while rarely so, can be a sign of a systemic condition or a vitamin deficiency. Here is how you can tell if lines on nails appear due to vitamin deficiency.

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 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 on nails, you may want to supplement your vitamin B intake. 

ridges on nails

Vertical lines on your nails may signal a serious health issue

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. 
    vertical ridges fingernails, what causes vertical ridges in fingernails
  • Pronounced vertical ridges may signal anaemia or kidney disease.
  • Fungal infections, aka onychomycosis, can create vertical ridges. They are usually accompanied by a change in nail color and texture. The nails become yellowish, brittle, and crumbly. 

    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 ridges on nails to appear.

    Make sure you have all the nutrients your nails need!

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

    vertical fingernail ridges, vertical ridges care

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

    Moisturize the nails to protect the keratin and prevent ridges on the nails from appearing. Alpha hydroxy acids do a great job of 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 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 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 on nails. 

    why not to bite nails, vertical ridges on nails in 20s

    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, and 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 ridges in nails? 

    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 on your nails with some ridge filler or nail polish!

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

    vertical ridges 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!

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    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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    Author: Iulia Claudia Dumitru

    Latest posts:

    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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