Nail Ridges: The Latest Sign of Aging

Down in the Valley, the Valley So Low

Amid pressing national concerns, I’m dealing with yet another personal aging crisis — nail ridges. Happily, at least, I’ve found a song to accompany me in my misery.

The song? “Down in the Valley.” an old-time country hit which I now relate to because 1. I’m old and 2. I’m feeling “down in the valley, valley so low” all because of these ugly nail ridges/valleys.

Nail Ridges and Aging

Now, about the crisis: My recently appearing and very ugly nail ridges run from the cuticles to the tops of my nails. And, to make matters worse, I don’t just have them on my fingernails. I’ve got them on my toenails, too!

Worry-wart me checked with my doctor, because nail ridges, especially horizontal ones, can indicate serious medical conditions. Happily (?), my ridges are “just” a “normal” sign of aging. Like I need another sign of aging, right?

Decrepitude, Not Disease

So, add this to the catalog of previously unknown insults and injuries that accompany old age — along with thinning (make that disappearing) lips and wobbly earlobes

Ridges or as I call them digit wrinkles, are simply — and depressingly — depressions in the nail and are often associated with white spots and visible lines. They can feel uneven or bumpy. Happily, at least, they aren’t painful.

The Cause?

“The skin under the nail plate loses some structural integrity and becomes wrinkled, much like other areas of aging skin,” says Los Angeles-based board-certified dermatologist Tsippora Shainhouse, MD.

And while it’s not always possible to prevent the unsightly ridges, you can try.

To start, here are seven tips, in case, like me, you are feeling “Down in the Valley” about the problem. But I must warn you, the first three suggestions really must be saved for when we emerge from another struggle — the one against spreading and contracting COVID-19.

Seven Tips to Nail Ridge Salvation or at Least …

1. To reduce the brittleness that causes ridges, avoid excessive hand washing.

While we cannot do this right now, we can refuse to wash dishes, floors, and windows! Make other sheltering-at-home family members do those tasks. Your beautiful hands and nails will thank you!

          2.   Try to avoid excessive hand sanitizing which also can dry out nails.

Again, we cannot stop sanitizing our hands in this COVID ERA but we can reduce the need to use sanitizer by limiting the objects we touch especially when out and about. Make others open doors for you! Act like a queen and require your non-nail-ridged nail subjects to open them for you. (Bowing is optional!)

Nail-saving tips we CAN implement right now include:

3.  Keep your nails hydrated with a hand cream or oil, which can minimize the appearance of ridging and protect the keratin of the nail.

Of course, figuring out which hand lotion to use may be a challenge, but so be it. We already spend a fortune — and hours — agonize over our face creams choices. Now, oh, joy, we can do the same over hand creams!

4. Avoid excessive buffing of nails (and floors).

Avoidance is easy and also, a delight! Consider this another opportunity/excuse to avoid household chores. To ensure familial support for your nail-saving decision, ask a dermatologist for a note or quote from this blog!

5. Maintain a healthy diet.

In my case, I feel all that is required to improve my diet is adding walnuts or pecans to my weekly brownie recipe. No need to go overboard on the healthy eating thing!

6. Consider going naked for three to four weeks — at least from a nail polish standpoint!

 Maybe — for the sake of “modesty,” shine, strength, and style, apply a daily keratin treatment! (Count that as a bonus tip!)

7: Apply ridges fillers which operate as a base coat and filler all in one.

Many consider this a critical weapon in their arsenal to combat brittle, ugly nails.

The Battle of Nail Ridge Valley

As for me, I am absolutely declaring war on nail ridges!

And as in any good war, I’m going all out. I’ve bought enough bottles of nail filler that I’ve created my own strategic reserve. In fact, I’ve bought so much of the stuff, it’s competing for shelf space with all the toilet paper I’m hoarding in the garage!

I’ve also downloaded Burl Ives’ version of “Down in the Valley” as my go-to inspirational battle song.

Yes, I’m ready for this latest battle, the Battle of Nail Ridge Valley, against old age. It’s every oldster for her/himself! Yes, vanity, thy name is Karen Michelle Galatz. Charge (it)!

Handsome Hubby Weighs In

Meanwhile, Handsome Hubby is mystified about my latest aging crisis. He says it’s not like anyone but I notice my “ridgified” nails. He says that if beauty is in the eyes of the beholder or in this case, the back-scratching recipient. So, for him— the obvious back-scratching recipient, my nails/skills are just as just lovely as ever!

6 replies
    • Karen Galatz
      Karen Galatz says:

      I would DEFINITELY recommend consulting a dermatologist, plastic surgeon, or, at the very least, drug store clerk before trying out that “unusual” idea! Thanks for the funny!

  1. Karen Pollak
    Karen Pollak says:

    I use European secrets Hoffers Chloice. A small inexpensive container of 1 oz. lasts a very long time. Rub into nails often.

  2. Barbara Gerstein
    Barbara Gerstein says:

    Oh, no. Another normal sign of aging. I eat lots of fruits and veggies. I use Aquaflor on my hands and nails whenever I wash my hands. I don’t wear nail polish. I eat nuts and wheat germ. I guess I am not 40, 50, 60 or even 70 anymore…so I will just continue thinking I am and not worry about another sign I’m not.


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