Q&A

My client has unusual ridges on her nails. What could be causing them?

Q.

Q. I have a healthy-looking, nineteen-year-old client who has never worn artificial nails. When she first came to my salon, I examined her nails and noticed she had unusual ridges on three of her nails. Her nails were otherwise healthy. She is thin and only remembers to eat one meal a day. She is supposed to take vitamins, but she doesn’t. She became concerned by my questions and called a registered dietician and her elector. They told her the ridges could be caused by malnutrition, or at worst, be early signs of cancer. I need to give her peace of mind. What are the ridge cause by?

A.

Q. I have a healthy-looking, nineteen-year-old client who has never worn artificial nails. When she first came to my salon, I examined her nails and noticed she had unusual ridges on three of her nails. Her nails were otherwise healthy. She is thin and only remembers to eat one meal a day. She is supposed to take vitamins, but she doesn’t. She became concerned by my questions and called a registered dietician and her elector. They told her the ridges could be caused by malnutrition, or at worst, be early signs of cancer. I need to give her peace of mind. What are the ridge cause by?

A. Ridges in natural nails are normal. I am not aware of anyone who developed ridges on their nails because they had cancer. Nor am I aware of any cases where nail ridges were caused by malnutrition. Additionally, you say the client appears healthy, and signs of malnutrition would not be limited to the nails. Someone who is malnourished is very unlikely to appear healthy.

It is interesting that in the second of the two pictures you drew, the ridges were located further down the nail. This indicates that the ridges an; growing out, and I would not be surprised if the ridges completely disappear as a new nail plate replaces the old.

I believe the ridges in this woman’s nails are a temporary phenomenon that resulted from a brief malfunction of the nail matrix. In any case, a few ridges in one nail should not cause; concern. Please reassure her that she doesn’t have cancer and remind her to eat fruits and vegetables. She’ll be fine.

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The ferrule is a metal ring or cap placed around a brush shaft to reinforce and hold the hairs of a brush in place.
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