top of page

Caring for Ridged Nails


Ridges on the nails can occur due to various factors, including changes in the nail matrix or damage to the cells responsible for nail growth. Here's an explanation of how ridges form and why they may appear on your nails:


1. Nail Matrix and Cell Production: The nail matrix, located beneath the cuticle, is responsible for producing new cells that form the nail plate.


2. Tubular Structure: As new cells are produced in the matrix, they are arranged in a tubular structure that extends from the base of your nails towards their free edge. This tubular arrangement helps maintain strength and integrity as new cells push older ones forward. As they grow, gradually hardening and forming the visible part of the nail. When the nail matrix is damaged and no longer producing cells in a particular tube, it can create a weak spot in the nail structure. The surrounding nail tubes, which are still actively growing and pushing against each other, can cause the ridge to lift up or become more pronounced.


3. Ridge Formation: If there is damage or disruption to the area where cell production occurs (the matrix), it can lead to irregularities in cell formation and alignment within these tubes. This disruption can result from trauma, nutritional deficiencies, certain medical conditions, or simply natural aging processes.


4. Resulting Ridges: When there is a disturbance in cell production or alignment within these tubes, it can manifest as ridges on your nails—either vertical ridges running from cuticle to free edge or horizontal ridges spanning across your nails.


5. Preserves Nail Strength: Avoiding excessive filing of ridges helps preserve the overall strength and integrity of your nails. When you file off the top surface of a ridge, it can open up the vacant, tubular section where cells are no longer being produced. This can weaken not only that specific area but also compromise the structural stability of the entire nail.


By refraining from aggressive filing, you allow your nails to maintain their natural thickness and robustness. This is particularly important for individuals with already weakened or brittle nails, as excessive filing can further compromise their strength.


Instead, focusing on gentle buffing techniques and using a ridge filler allows you to smooth out ridges without compromising nail structure or risking unnecessary damage.


6. Vertical ridges: Are considered a normal part of aging and may become more prominent over time. Horizontal ridges (also known as Beau's lines) typically indicate temporary disruptions such as illness, injury, severe stress events like surgery or chemotherapy treatments.


It's important to note that while some ridge formations may be harmless cosmetic concerns, significant changes in nail appearance should be evaluated by a healthcare professional if you have any concerns about underlying health conditions.

bottom of page