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Preventing Fingernail Ridges

author image Carolyn Williams
Carolyn Williams began writing and editing professionally over 20 years ago. Her work appears on various websites. An avid traveler, swimmer and golf enthusiast, Williams has a Bachelor of Arts in English from Mills College and a Master of Business Administration from St. Mary's College of California.

Fingernail ridges are a natural part of aging, in some cases. In other cases, they are a symptom of an underlying health condition. If your doctor rules out health problems, you can minimize the ridges to ensure that your nails remain smooth and attractive.

Check Your Diet

Ridges may appear if your diet is low in protein or fresh fruits and vegetables, or if you don't drink at least eight glasses of water every day. Focus on foods that are iron-rich, full of zinc and contain vitamin B. Good nutrition helps prevent ridges from forming and may minimize existing ridges.

Normal Ridges

To minimize normal ridges, buff your nails with an emery board in only one direction to avoid chipping or breaking the nail. This creates a smooth, polished surface.

Ridges Related to Health Issues

If the ridges have appeared suddenly, it's time to visit your doctor. Ridges are sometimes a symptom of iron deficiency, circulation problems and thyroid problems. In particular, horizontal ridges (ones that go across the nail from side to side, rather than the more usual up and down) are a sign of a condition known as Beau's lines. These ridges may also be dark and deeply grooved. Such ridges can be a symptom of malnutrition or diabetes and require an immediate consultation with a doctor.

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