Vertical nail ridges are distinctive lines that almost look like flat sections on your fingernails. Unlike regular nails that are smooth all over, with no distinctive lines, vertical nail ridges make almost your nail bed look like it has corners.

Types of Ridges in Fingernails

There are two types of nail ridges—horizontal nail and vertical.

Horizontal nail ridges go from one side of your nail to the other, while vertical nail ridges go from the tip of your nail to the bottom. Both types of ridges in fingernails indicate that something is impeding the nail matrix from proper nail growth, which can include exposure of the nails to harsh chemicals, a deficiency in specific vitamins, and more.

What causes ridges on fingernails?

There are different causes of different ridges in fingernails—vertical ridges are generally less of a concern than horizontal nail ridges.

Horizontal ridges: Causes

Horizontal nail ridges (also known as "Beau's Lines) are usually signs of illness, injury, or skin condition. If these types of ridges occur, you should consult with your doctor. Some causes may include:

  • Diabetes

  • Zinc deficiency

  • parathyroid disease

  • Syphilis

  • Respiratory conditions

  • Other illnesses

Vertical ridges: Causes

Vertical ridging (also referred to as longitudinal striations or bands) is more common and less of a concern. They're usually a sign of aging because the cells are less efficient at turning over new cells.

When vertical ridging also occurs with other symptoms (e.g., brittle nails, a weak nail plate), this could be the result of improper nail care or a vitamin deficiency.

How to get rid of vertical ridges in fingernails

There isn't much you can do to treat nail ridges if they result from the natural aging process. However, you can cover them up to improve how they appear. Sometimes applying a coat of nail polish isn't enough since the polish may not be thick enough to mask the ridges. The good news is you can use a ridge filler to smooth out your nails and have them look as good as new.

The Smooth Rocket Ridge Filler was made solely to minimize the appearance of ridged nails and works like a charm. After applying it to your nail surface, you can use any polish you like over the top. Easy peasy!

How to prevent nail ridges

Although you can't stop the aging process, which can sometimes be the only reason you've got vertical lines in your fingernails, there are things you can do to prevent nail ridges due to things like nail trauma and improper care.

Use a Nail Treatment System

Nail treatments are designed to help keep your nails healthy, repair damage, and make your nails strong again. The Rocket Nail System comes with four items that encourage healthy growth:

  • Nail Fuel strengthener

  • Nail color

  • Cuticle oil

  • Nail Fuel remover

This system will repair, harden, and restore even the most damaged nails.

Care for cuticles

Moisturizing your nails regularly helps to prevent splitting and brittle nails by keeping the surrounding skin healthy. A cuticle oil applied daily (before you go to bed is best so you don't wash it off) is the best way to keep your nails and cuticles healthy.

Limit Your Use of Alcohol-Based Hand Sanitizers

Alcohol-based hand sanitizers not only wreak havoc on your nails if used regularly, but they'll also dry out your hands. Try not to use too much of them. When possible, wash your hands, then moisturize your hands with hand lotion right after.

Maintain a healthy diet

Certain vitamins are essential for healthy nails, including:

  • Zinc

  • Iron

  • Vitamin A

  • Vitamin C

  • Vitamin D

Ensuring you have optimal amounts of these may help prevent and treat ridges.

Consider taking biotin supplements

Biotin supplements are known for encouraging healthy nails (and healthy hair). They're made up of amino acids and proteins that support the production of the protein that forms the cells in your nails (i.e., keratin). If you take pretty good care of your nails but still have problems with vertical nail ridges, biotin may help.

Avoid artificial or harsh nails

The best way to care for your nails is to avoid harsh false nail systems, including dip powder nails, acrylic nails, gel nails, and artificial nails.

Not only does the application of these products damage your nails (e.g., from buffing), but your nail beds are also likely to be damaged during the removal process, especially if you don't have them removed by a professional.


What Causes Vertical Fingernail Ridges?

Vertical lines in fingernails may be caused by the natural aging process (i.e., your cells don't repair themselves fast as they used to), exposure to harsh products or chemicals, or artificial or false nail systems.

When should vertical nail ridges be treated by a healthcare provider?

You should see a healthcare professional if the vertical ridges in your fingernails are accompanied by other nail changes, such as shiny or brittle nails. These could be signs of a medical condition.