Causes of Lines on Nails, Beaus Lines, Horizontal and Vertical Lines, How To Get Rid Of the Ridges on Nails

Do you find yourself with lines on nails? In this article, we are looking at the causes of such lines, vertical and horizontal lines, beaus lines and finally how to get rid of them.

What causes ridges in your fingernails?

As a general rule, all people have subtle fingernail ridges, so small that you have to really inspect them at a very close range so that they can be seen.

Lines on nails

Lines on nails

If they are very clear to be seen, then they can imply something is not okay.

  1. Age

“There are several reasons which have been put forward explaining the ridged lines on nails, but the most common of them is usually the aging,” as explained by Dr Phoebe Rich, who is a clinical adjunct professor of dermatology stationed at Oregon Health Science University.

“As people get old, the nail matrix will then be atrophied in their respective areas, leading to longitudinal ridging of such nails. They appear like wrinkles.

  1. Vitamin deficiency

When you take a balanced diet, which is rich in Omega 3 fatty acids and also the whole grains that is combined with the regular vitamin E hand, nail massages are said to be the best cures that can be applied for fingernail ridges.

  1. Rheumatoid arthritis

Vertical ridges might also be brought about by the nail injury and some of the illnesses, which include rheumatoid arthritis. You should ensure that you confirm this with a health professional.

  1. Lichen Planus

This is a rare but if the lines have appeared and also grown pronounced quickly or even over a short period of time, then they could be an indication a very rare condition known as the lichen planus, which normally leads to a skin rash also. Consult a doctor if you have any concerns.

  1. They are harmless

Jessica Krant, who is a fellow of American Academy of Dermatology and also an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at SUNY Downstate Medical Centre, says: “Lengthwise ridges, if evenly spaced over a nail, are very common and harmless, and usually associated with the normal ageing and nail’s increasing inability to retain some amount of moisture.”

Dark vertical lines on nails

In most of the cases, you don’t have to get worried about black streaks in the fingernails.

That is mostly true if the black lines appears to be vertical. Horizontal lines, however, might indicate that you have an underlying health condition, like elevated stress levels or even the cardiac problems.

Lines on nails

Lines on nails

Vertical lines might be because of the hereditary reasons which don’t need any kind of treatment, the side effect of rheumatoid arthritis, or due to the nutrient mal-absorption or even the kidney issues.

Why Do Your Fingernails Have Black Vertical Streaks?

  1. Lack of Nutrition

Your nails might also give you insight into whether you are getting enough amount of nutrients, especially the proteins and calcium.

You might have also noticed that white lines on your nails if you are experiencing a zinc, protein, or iron deficiency. Mild green streaks might indicate hypersensitivity.

  1. Bleeding

Bleeding underneath the nails is called a splinter hemorrhage and this can happen to you leading to dark red lines.

It can happen because of the blood vessel inflammation or even the capillary damage and might affect multiple nails. The blood traces might appear in color as brownish or reddish in addition to being blackish.

You should ensure that you seek medical attention if the bleeding that is under your nails is accompanied by symptoms such as elevated bleeding, bruising, or fever.

  1. Fungal Infections

Fungal infections are mostly considered a very common cause of the black streaks in fingernails. They might also lead to your nail to thicken, thus creating an obvious or a severe deformity within the nail.

  1. Melanonychia

This fingernail condition usually includes black lines on nails, nail discoloration, and excessive pigmentation. It is very much common in people who are older and also dark-skinned.

It might also be because of some medications, underlying medical conditions, injury to the nail bed, UV light exposure, or pregnancy.

  1. Nail Injury

Injuries to you nail might also lead to the black lines. They typically start at the bottom area of nail before moving itself upward. It is possible that this particular lines form when a wood splinter or even any other foreign material is lodged inside the fingernail.

  1. Melanoma

This skin cancer include subungual melanoma which is usually characterized by black streaks in fingernails. It might as well cause dark pigmentation of skin by the border of the nail.

Beaus nails

Beau’s lines, as they are known, happen much when the nail matrix is injured and the growth of nail is slowed. This then leads to grooves in surface of nail plate thus affecting finger- as well as the toenails, this particular condition is commonly brought about by an injury like slamming a finger in door or just dropping a heavy object on a nail.

Lines on nails

Lines on nails

Transverse ridges might as also be an indication of a systemic illness—which is an illness affecting the entire body rather than one organ—or even of a congenital disease, which implies that it was acquired during the body’s development in uterus.

Whatever the reason for slowing of nail growth, it will lead to the transverse ridges on the nails, which appears similar to the pale bands that are lying horizontally across the nail plate.

They first appear at the moon and progress with the growth of nail. In cases where the ridges are not brought about by a systemic illness or even the congenital disease, Beau’s lines can grow out with the nail and then disappear.

Fingernails take about nine months—about a millimeter per week—to grow out fully, with the middle fingernail growing rapidly, and toenails take about 18 months to grow out. With this in mind, through measuring the distance from the transverse groove to cuticle, you can estimate the date of the injury or even an illness.

What Causes Beau’s Lines

Beau’s lines are due to several conditions, which range from minor to severe. The common causes are the local injury or even an exposure to the severe cold, both of which usually decrease the blood flow to nail matrix.

Any kind of injury to the nail matrix slows cell division in matrix, leading to the transverse ridges appearing. An example is with the athletes who do long-distance running—they normally find Beau’s lines on toenails from repeated smashing of the distal edge into the front of shoe while they are running or kicking.

Vertical ridges on nails vitamin deficiency

  • Your fingernails might also divulge information about your general health. Because nails grow out very quickly, they normally show visible signs of the nutritional problems before other tissues do that.
  • Fingernail ridges may also indicate vitamin or even the mineral deficiencies and the general malnutrition or several other illness if they are horizontal, but are benign if they run vertically.
  • Nutritional deficiencies can also lead to the fingernails becoming misshapen, discolored or even brittle, breaking much easily. See your doctor if you see any of the indicated changes in your fingernails.
  • Other nail deformities might also be a sign of nutritional deficiency. Either iron deficiency or high iron levels can lead to koilonychia, which is a medical term that is used for spoon-shaped nails.
  • Spoon-shaped nails might also be a normal variant in some of the infants, but they do change with age. Some of the infants with koilonychia have iron deficiency, so see your baby’s doctor if you notice any of the nail changes.
  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency can also lead to nail discoloration, which includes, brownish or blue-black streaks that are not associated with ridges. Brown, white bands can also imply a case of malnutrition. Entirely white nails might happen in zinc deficiency, while the low calcium can lead to the variable white nails.

Horizontal lines on nails

Horizontal nail lines usually run from one side of the nail to another. While they are forming within or even on surface of nail itself, these particular horizontal nail lines are known as Beau’s lines.

When they are deeper and formed under nail, they are known as the Mees’ lines. So here are what the horizontal lines on your nails might imply about your health as well your well-being:

Underlying health conditions

  • It can really sound scary, but most conditions that are associated with the horizontal lines on your nails are the conditions which you are already aware of having.
  • According to Dr. Audrey Kunin, “Sudden illness (such as a heart attack), malnutrition, and also the pain as well as the stress of carpal tunnel syndrome is able to stop nail growth. When the nail starts to grow out, it might cause horizontal lines.”

Arsenic poisoning, Renal failure, or Chemotherapy

Lines on nails

Lines on nails

  • Arsenic poisoning, renal therapy, as well as chemotherapy might also lead to horizontal lines running across the nail (Penn State Hershey School of Medicine).
  • But, unlike trauma or even the malnutrition, these particular issues will form much deeper the lines within nails, as opposed to lighter surface lines which are Beau’s lines.
  • It is also advisable that if you have the lines to ensure that you see a physician immediately, especially if you have several other symptoms that are associated with heavy metal poisoning.

Ridges in nails thyroid

  • Decreased thyroid production might cause ridges in nails. Women who are over the age of 50 have tare at a higher risk of developing this problem.
  • Hypothyroidism cannot lead to noticeable symptoms in early stages, or the symptoms might be subtle on another factor, as advised by the Mayo Clinic.
  • If the condition is not identified and then treated, however, it can lead to serious problems that are beyond weak and brittle nails, like the joint pain, heart disease and infertility.


Thin and brittle nails are one of the earliest indications of hypothyroidism. The nails will be slow-growing, soft as well as indicate pale nail beds, according to “The Women’s Guide to the Thyroid Health,” by Kathryn R. Simpson, doctor at SUNY medical hospital.

A person also can have ridges in nails, and white, crescent-shaped area that is at the base of nails can get lighter or disappear.

  • Effects

People suffering from hypothyroidism also are at a higher risk for fungal infections in the nails and the ingrown nails. Such problems are an indication of hypothyroidism.

Other early warning signs which can come together with thin, brittle nails which includes constipation, increased sensitivity to extreme temperatures, heavy menstrual periods, weakness as well as the pale or even a dry skin, the National Institutes of Health advises.


The reduced blood circulation which comes along with impaired thyroid function is one contributor to thin as well as the brittle nails. Inadequate protein synthesis that are in the body also can influence growth of the nail.

Poor protein synthesis because of the hypothyroidism is due to the general slowing of a person’s metabolism, according to doctors.


Medication is usually used in treatment of the hypothyroidism. In majority of cases, thyroid levels usually normalize with such given treatment, and nails can start growing normally again.

The medications, however, might be required for the rest of a person’s life, the NIH advises. Use of a skin-softening cream after bathing, clear nail polish which has protein and the vitamin biotin can also strengthen nails, according to the doctors.

How to get rid of lines on nails

    • Eat a healthy diet and take multivitamin making sure that you are getting enough amount of Omega 3 fatty acids (1/4 cup walnuts a day or even a fish oil capsule should thus do the trick).
    • Lubricate your nails daily through rubbing of jojoba or vitamin E oils on cuticles
    • Take extra care in massaging of hand cream around your fingernails
    • Wear gloves when using household soaps as well as the chemicals for cleaning
    • Gently buff the ridges away



  1. Is Black Streaks in Your Fingernails a Cause for Concern:
  2. What is Beau’s Lines:
  3. Beau’s Lines:
  4. Do Vitamin Deficiencies Cause Fingernail Ridges:
  5. Brittle Nails & a Decreased Thyroid:
  6. Fingernail Ridges – Make Them Go Away:
  7. Fingernail ridges: What they mean and how to treat them:



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