Guest Writer 300

Ridged nails? Here’s why – and how to treat them

By Guest Writer | 09 January 2021 | Expert Advice, Feature

Nail Ridges

Scratch Stars Natural Nail Specialist of the Year 2019 & CND education ambassador, Helen Burton-Ward, shares what causes nail ridges, as well as how to treat and manage them…

Helen Burton-Ward

There are many types of nail ridges that nail professionals face on a daily basis. Understanding how to correctly care and treat the different types will help to maintain the health of the nail plate and prevent any conditions worsening unnecessarily. There are many types of ridges that occur naturally but also some that are inflicted by mechanical or environmental factors.

Rings of fire
Rings of fire will appear as a red ring on the nail plate near to the proximal nail fold, are usually accompanied by a dip or ridge and are caused by the improper use of a file or e-file on the nail plate (usually to blend an enhancement or a quick-fix to remove a cuticle) – both of which are unnecessary and avoidable. Ensure you remove non-living tissue safely and correctly and don’t allow your e-file to come into contact with the nail plate or hand file aggressively (240-grit only on the natural nail!).

Be cautious when applying coatings to damaged nails. An already compromised nail will not hold product too well as as it may also be sensitised to light-cured product, resulting in an exothermic reaction (heat spike). Keep the nail short, as it will be thin, and recommend a nail treatment while also implementing a thorough aftercare plan, ensuring the client invests in a suitable cuticle oil.

Habit tic
Habit tic presents a series of horizontal ridges across the nail plate (often the thumb), which are a result of continuous (habitual) picking of the proximal nail fold. Advise your client of the damage being done and that it will normally correct itself but do not attempt to buff the ridges out, as this will only thin the nail. You can safely apply product to these nails and, often, using a product to smooth out ridges may prevent or discourage further picking.

Habit tic

Age-related ridges
These ridges occur longitudinally down the nail plate and usually affect only a few nails; usually the same nail on each hand will be affected, such as both thumbs, both ring fingers, etc. These ridges cannot be corrected and may also worsen with time. Again, do not attempt to buff the ridge out. Instead use a product designed to camouflage these ridges such as CND RidgeFx or CND Base Wear Extender, as both have been specifically designed to smooth and perfect the nail plate.

If the ridges are deep, it may make the nail prone to splitting at the free edge. In these circumstances, an enhancement coating may be better suited to your client’s nail needs but a thorough consultation will identify their needs.

Age-related ridges

Beaus lines
Beaus lines appear as horizontal ridges across the nail and will normally affect all 10 nails. Beaus lines occur due to the body’s response to ill health or a dip in the immune system whereby the matrix slows in its production, which results in a visible ridge.

The condition will usually grow out upon the client’s recovery. Again, do not attempt to buff the ridge out, as this will further thin the nail plate. In some instances you may be able to apply a nail coating, however ensure you are performing a thorough consultation and assessing any potential health conditions that may be a contraindication.