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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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What causes horizontal ridges on the fingernails?

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Dr. Suma Parinam

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2008

Answered : 1704 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 27 Mar 2017 in Skin Hair and Nails
Question: I have slightly visable white lines on my fingernails that run horizontally across fingernail. what does this mean?
I included a picture.
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Answered by Dr. Suma Parinam 1 hour later
Brief Answer:
Injury or chemical exposure...

Detailed Answer:
Thanks for question. Horizontal ridges or line across the nail are generally not significant alone. If they have other findings then we can correlate it. Nail biting, frequent scratching and sometimes exposure to chemicals cause horizontal ridges. Although a very rare case it is related to arsenic poisoning due to nail polishes and enamels.

Some physicians would not take it seriously if no other significant findings during their examination.

If the nails are paler then it can be due to anemia.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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