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Smooth Moves: Nail Ridges 101

Smooth Moves: Nail Ridges 101

Pro tips to say bye-bye to splitting nails!

Seeing lines on your nails where they shouldn’t be? These markings or bumps are known as nail ridges, and they can make smooth polish application difficult to achieve. Nail ridges are common, often happen with age, and having weak or brittle nails can make you more prone to developing them. “The most common reason is overuse of nail polish, acrylics, and/or using products with harsh chemicals that can cause stress on your nails,” says licensed professional medical pedicurist and founder of Medi Pedi NYC Marcela Correa. “Aging is another common contributor. As we get older, our production of Keratin decreases, also decreasing our production of new cellular turnover and changing the appearance of our nail beds. Keratin is a type of protein that forms the cells that make up the tissue in nails,” Correa adds.

The good news? Nail ridges are usually harmless, but it’s important to note which way the lines are running. “Stress, aging, vitamin deficiency tend to produce vertical lines or ridges (running from the cuticle to the tip of the nail),” says Correa. Horizontal lines or ridges on more than one nail can be signs of more alarming underlying causes like an infection or trauma, and should be checked by a doctor.” To be sure, you should still consult with your derm.

Nail ridges can be tough to get rid of, but, that doesn’t mean you can’t minimize their appearance. Here’s how:

Eat Nourishing Foods:

Correa says, “Foods rich in vitamins like vitamin A, B-12, biotin, and zinc (like eggs, nuts, seeds, broccoli, and mushrooms) are easy and yummy foods that are jam-packed with amino acids and proteins. Biotin is especially essential in targeting and promoting nail health [because] it’s great for the keratin production in the body.”

Hydrate Your Cuticles:

Yes, even in the summer, and especially if you’re hitting the beach. Salty air and seawater can dry your skin, hair, and nails. Be sure to replenish moisture and nutrients with cuticle oil to help combat brittleness.

Boost Circulation:

As we age, circulation to your extremities can slow down, causing nails to become more dry and brittle. Keeping up with exercise and massaging your hands can help improve circulation, so oxygenated blood makes its way to your fingertips and nail beds. This can help keep them strong and make them less prone to ridging.

Give Your Nails a DIY Treatment:

Correa suggests skipping color lacquer once in a while and instead, choose a more natural looking mani. “Opt for a DIY manicure that incorporates filing your nails to a healthy length, and applying oils for elasticity, moisture and nail growth.” If you do need to polish your nails, our pick: Makeover Ridge Filler Concealer + Treatment

Don’t File Down Ridges:

We know it’s tempting, but nail ridges are a sign of weak or damaged nails, so filing your nail plate down can only make matters worse. The goal is to build up your nail strength (treatment-infused polishes like the one above can help), so avoid weakening your nails by removing more of their surface.
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