Vertical ridges and streaks on your fingernails are caused by different things. Your nails need blood, just like the rest of your body. Dark brown, black or gray streaks may occur on your fingernails or toenails as vertical, rather than horizontal lines.
If they are particularly dark in color, running from the tip of your nail to your cuticle, they may be because of dilated or burst capillaries. In most cases, lines like these typically occur because of an injury and are usually completely normal.
However, if you haven’t recently hurt your finger or toe and have lines like these along your nails, it may be unrelated to blood-flow issues. Some of these dark lines may be a sign of melanoma. Unlike other types of melanoma, this type — known as acral lentiginous melanoma (ALM) — isn’t related to sun exposure. ALM is a specific type of melanoma that appears on the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet, or under the nails.
Vertical lines in fingernails are most likely to be of concern when you haven’t had any injuries or impacts but the area surrounding the streak has damaged your nail. If you see any vertical, brown lines that run into your cuticle, contact your dermatologist as soon as possible to have a professional exam and diagnosis.
The fingernails and toenails are made up of keratin, just like your hair. Keratin is a protein, and healthy oils and fats are also needed to keep the skin, hair and nails moisturized and strong. A varied diet rich in vitamins, antioxidant fruits and veggies, protein and minerals is key for healthy skin, nails and hair. Minerals like calcium, copper, iron, magnesium, sodium and zinc are particularly important for your nails. However, it’s not just these minerals that make a difference — other nutrients like biotin, folic acid and protein are just as important to nail health.
If you’re deficient in certain nutrients or have ongoing health issues, you may see changes in your nails that include discoloration, ridges or lines in fingernails. Some lines in fingernails can signal serious health problems, while others are simply due to impact or injury. However, with the exception of zinc, folic acid, iron or protein deficiencies. nutrient deficiencies are unlikely to be the cause of your fingernail ridges.*
Your fingernails can say a lot about you, including whether or not you’re consuming enough vitamins and minerals. Getting insufficient amounts of certain B-complex vitamins can cause ridges in your fingernails. However, lack of certain minerals and protein, as well as various health conditions, can cause these lines in fingernails too.
Deficiencies in zinc, folic acid, iron and protein may cause fingernail ridges. The appearance of your nails may also indicate that you’re experiencing other health issues, like psoriasis or kidney problems. ~LivingStrong
**Should you have any issues or concerns with skin, hair or nails, please consult your physician.
*The cuticle and proximal nail fold is often called “the cuticle” and is often cut as part of the manicure service. The cuticle should be removed by soaking the fingers in warm soapy water, and a cuticle remover used to help lift the sticky cuticle from the nail plate by pushing and lightly scraping(…yes) but not cutting.
*Please see photo
Fingernail: A fingernail is produced by living skin cells in the finger. A fingernail consists of several parts including the nail plate (the visible part of the nail), the nail bed (the skin beneath the nail plate), the cuticle (the tissue that overlaps the plate and rims the base of the nail), the nail grooves (the skin folds that frame and support the nail on three sides), the lunula (the whitish half-moon at the base of the nail) and the matrix (the hidden part of the nail unit under the cuticle).
An appendage of the skin, this horny,translucent plate protects the tips of fingers and toes. The nail is composed mainly of keratin. A healthy nail should be whitish and translucent in appearance, with the pinkish color of the nail bed below showing through.
How does one begin? Some may want to take a whole day? Some, those of us that work all day, take a room a day, maybe a Saturday or our one day off. And, some may do it the Mary Kay way. . . The 5 a.m. Club. Or it could be the 4 a.m. Club. It would depend on what time your day starts. It would mean that you have to get up one hour earlier to do your cleaning for that one club hour. I can’t even now imagine those with CHILDREN. How long will this take with you doing it the Spring Cleaning way? It will depend on whether or not you linger or reminisce when you find something you use to wear or your child use to play with or made for you from the second grade(they are now 30). It’s been a while.
No matter your method of cleaning. We have to be mindful of the care of our hands, nails and cuticles. Cleaning supplies and just plain old neglect can wreck havoc on the skin of our hands during this time of year. Our skin and nails have gone through the cold, dry season to now be dried out even further with cleaning chemicals and harsh soapy water.
The key to all this drying out is moisture, moisture, moisture, not grease or lotions filled with more chemicals and alcohol. Try natural oils such as coconut, olive or jojoba added to your favorite lotion if you must. ALWAYS wear gloves when cleaning with chemicals and cleaning detergents, you’ll be glad you did.
Healthy, happy nails! Check out the healthy cuticles
Healthy nails are not . . .
Purple nails – When nails turn purple or blue, says Dr. Graf, it could be a symptom of Raynaud’s. The syndrome causes blood vessels in the fingers and toes to spasm, and while it’s usually just a benign inconvenience, Raynaud’s can also be an early symptom of more serious disorders. This can also be a sign of poor circulation.
Dark Spots – Those small, vertical plum lines you see running along your nails? They’re called splinter hemorrhages, and sometimes they can be chalked up to a run-of-the-mill injury. However, says Dr. Graf, it’s important to pay attention. “If you see dark, longitudinal lines, those are definitely things to get checked. They could be birthmarks, but if they go below the nail plate, they need to be evaluated for melanoma.” These tiny blood clots are also loosely associated with a host of other health issues, from lupus to heart inflammation, so schedule an appointment to rule out anything serious.
If a dark stripe or band suddenly appears at the cuticle or on in the nail plate, get it checked out.
If any of these apply to you, please see a licensed manicurist or podiatrist for advice.
There are some conditions that may be helped by visiting your pedicurist on a regular basis, not just when you have to or some special occasion.
Think About It: Does your outer appearance match who you are on the inside? You are the only one that can really see you.