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Nail Grooves / Depressions

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What are nail grooves / depressions and what causes them?

The condition renders to the changes in the nail matrix and nail bed, which can be damaged or affected chemically, biologically or mechanically. Whilst slight vertical grooves / depressions on the nail are normal and highlight the ridges of the nail bed, there are certain things to look out for which may indicate the nail is suffering from a condition. When vertical grooves / depressions appear more prominently this could be a sign of ageing or could indicate the client has a health condition such as dermatitis, eczema, anaemia, vitamin or nutritional deficiency. Nail delamination, dryness and colour changes could accompany the condition.

Horizontal depressions can be Beau’s lines that may indicate a serious medical condition, including anaemia, cardiovascular and thyroid conditions, syphilis or diabetes. Some medical treatments can also cause this condition e.g. chemotherapy. Nail salons using dangerous practices, such as an e-file manicure or an aggresive cuticle removal can be a cause due to traumatisation of the lunula area. They can also be caused by a swelling of the PNF either due to inflamation or an allergic reaction.

Who do they affect?

Every individual will experience a different combination of nail depressions; they can appear vertically or horizontally and are as unique as fingerprints. The condition is more common in seniors.

How can nail technicians help?

Nail depressions are a common cosmetic problem. If  grooves are deep the cause should be discovered first. When horizontal lines are the result of mechanical damage, it is important to eliminate the mechanical factor and allow the nail to grow out along with the line.
Grooves / depressions should never be buffed away as this can seriously thin the the nail plate and cause more problems. Sometimes ‘ridge fillers’ can provide a special base coat to help solve the problem. If the condition of the nail is appropriate, coatings such as UV gel polish or enhancement products can mask minor grooves. If the condition is a result of mechanical damage, the ‘massage and warm’ procedure can help to recover the nail.

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