Ridges in Fingernails: Why Do I Have Them and How Do I Get Rid of Them

What's the deal with ridges in fingernails?

painting ridge filler on finger nails
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One of the most common complaints people have about their fingernails are the ridges. There are so many speculations as to why people get them, from aging to nutritional deficiencies, but what's the real answer? Why are you getting those ridges? Are they something to worry about? Can you stop them from growing? And most importantly, can you hide them?

Who gets ridges on their nails? 

Many people! In fact, fingernail ridges are very common.

They appear more as you age, but they can happen to people of all ages. Ridges aren't limited to your fingernails. They can also appear on your toenails.

Does having ridges mean that I'm missing something in my diet? 

Probably not. As you get older your body's natural oil production slows down, causing ridges to form due to a lack of moisture. You might also notice your skin and hair are drier than in the past, too. Your nails can also become brittle or start peeling as you age, but maintaining a healthy diet can certainly make a difference in improving your skin, hair and nails. 

Is it something to be concerned about? 

If your ridges run vertically from your cuticles to the tips of your nails, you likely have nothing to worry about. This is a normal part of aging. If your ridges run horizontally it could be related to a medical condition, a vitamin deficiency or nail trauma, so be sure to see your doctor if you think you have reason to be concerned.

Is there anything I can do to make the ridges stop growing? 

As noted, one of the primary reasons why ridges form in the first place is due to the absence of the body's natural oils. Moisturizing your nails with nail oil, vitamin E oil or even olive oil can help prevent ridges in your nails. As an added bonus, the oil will benefit not only your nails, but your cuticles as well, giving you younger looking hands.

Get OPI Avoplex Nail and Cuticle Replenishing Oil on Amazon.com.

Is it OK to buff the ridges out? 

Absolutely. Just be careful to not file too hard or for too long or you could cause trauma to the nail and nail bed. You can use a 4-way nail file smooth and buff away ridges and give your nails a beautiful, healthy shine. Polish is not necessary! Get Jaylie 4-Way All-Purpose Nail File on Amazon.com.

You could also invest in a battery-operated nail buffer that will save you lots of time.The Finishing Touch Electronic Nail Buffer will file, buff, and shine your nails in seconds. It's also great for pedicures. Get Finishing Touch Electronic Nail Care System on Amazon.com.

Is there anything I can do to hide the ridges? 

Many nail care companies make special polishes specifically for hiding ridges. They're often called "ridge filler." The polish is used just like a base coat, except it fills in the ridges and makes your nails look smooth and even. Many nail salons incorporate ridge fillers into a manicure. It's definitely a product worth picking up. 

Check out two of my favorite ridge filler nail polishes on Amazon.com: 

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