Your fingernails are comprised of the nail plate, the hardened area of keratin typically thought of as the fingernail. The nail plate rests on the skin of the nail bed and is surrounded on three sides by nail folds. It is held in place by a wedge of skin at the base of the nail known as the cuticle. These small but dynamic body parts protect your fingertips, allow for easier grasping and maneuvering, and allow you to scratch an itch. Your fingernails can also provide clues to your health and proper body functions. Watch out for the following changes in your nails and be aware of what these changes can signify.

8. Vertical Ridges

Fingernail Ridges

Vertical ridges are lines that run up and down the nail from the tip to the base. These ridges can develop as a normal part of aging. As your body ages, it becomes more difficult to maintain hydration, and your nails, as well as your skin, can show signs of dryness. To keep your fingernails well hydrated, be sure to drink plenty of water. When applying hand cream, rub the moisturizer into your fingernails as well as into your skin. Include fresh fruits and vegetables in your diet. The biotin found in avocados, eggs, cauliflower, and fruits may help nourish and strengthen your fingernails.

7. Horizontal Ridges

The Nails

Horizontal ridges, known as Beau’s lines, are lines that run from side to side across your fingernails. These lines may be signs of a previous injury to the nail bed, or they may be signs of an underlying problem. Horizontal nail ridges may indicate the presence of thyroid disease. The thyroid gland is responsible for producing hormones that regulate many body functions, including the integrity of the skin epidermis. Horizontal ridges may also be a symptom of psoriasis, a condition in which the skin develops rough, scaly patches. The American Academy of Dermatology lists laser treatments, corticosteroids, and a vitamin D medication as interventions for nail psoriasis.


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