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Why do stretch marks appear on the nails

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Nails can be a mirror of our general health. When stretch marks appear on the nails, some essential condition or terrible habit manifests itself in our fingers. The causes can be multiple: hereditary diseases and systemic infections. However, in most cases, when stretch marks appear on the nails, it is due to a poor diet that causes deficiencies in both vitamins and minerals.

Specific traumas, contact with chemicals that damage our nails, or bad habits such as biting can be another cause. Below we will explain the most common types of stretch marks on the nails, giving you the reasons for their appearance and why stretch marks appear on the nails.

Longitudinal stretch marks

Longitudinal stretch marks are pretty frequent; they cross the surface of the nail from the base to the end, with different depths depending on the case. Certain diseases aggravate these stretch marks, such as lichen planus or rheumatoid arthritis. Other conditions such as warts or cysts can compress the womb and lead to cracks.

If the longitudinal stretch marks have a regular shape and are not very pronounced, it is something normal that should not cause concern; another thing is if they become worse and deform the nail. One of the most severe cases of longitudinal striae is the so-called Héller middle canaliform dystrophy. This condition manifests itself with a large groove in the midline of the nail, from which ridges arise that curve backward and adopt a shape similar to that of an inverted pine.

Although the thumb is usually the most affected, it can occur on any finger.

Causes of transverse stretch marks

The transverse striae grow from one side of the nail to the other, following the margin of the lunula. Depending on the case, it can be found in isolation or spread throughout the pin. This type of stretch mark is called Beau’s lines, and depending on how severe and how long they last, we will evaluate their severity. Why do stretch marks appear on the nails?

  • Severe or acute fever.
  • Nutritional deficiencies.
  • Use of cytotoxic drugs.
  • Skin conditions such as psoriasis, lichen planus, or eczema.
  • Because of the bad habit of pulling the cuticle back.

Pitting and nail depressions

There are more and less deep ones, in more or more minor irregular contours, with characteristics in common and others that are different, but depending on which diseases they manifest in the nails in the form of pitting and depressions on the nail surface. Below we list the primary conditions that include these changes in the nails among their symptoms:

  • Psoriasis
  • Eczema
  • Lichen planus
  • Alopecia areata

In the case of psoriasis, these depressions are much more rugged, while with lichen planus, the created lines are much narrower. These diseases can also cause distinct stretch marks on the nails in the form of pitting that resembles the surface of a sewing thimble.

Nail dents

Nail stretch marks in the form of dents do not respond to systemic diseases but result from trauma, shocks, and merely physical conditions. These dents are very common among people who bite their nails, but also in those who have used artificial nails or have suffered trauma to the nail surface.

When a nail has been injured or broken, a new nail grows. The growth of this new nail implies that the old one must be replaced, being pushed upwards until the regeneration of the new one is complete and disappears. However, when the new nail is born brittle or soft, it does not have enough force to push the pin upwards, and from the effort, it tends to bend over itself, causing dents.

The same happens if artificial nails are used for a long time, and the growing pin does not have the strength to grow and produces stretch marks on the nails.

How to remove stretch marks on nails

Depending on the case, you can choose one solution or another; even in some, there will be no possible solution. Here we explain some of the ways to eliminate stretch marks on nails :

  • If the stretch marks are not too deep and the pin is thick enough, the surface can be polished to smooth it.
  • If you use enamel, you can apply an anti-stretch enamel beforehand so that the noise under the paint is not noticeable.
  • In the following FastlyHealarticle, you will find home remedies for nail stretch marks .

Parts of the nail

The nails are made up of different parts, among which the following stand out:

  • Nail plate or visible part of the nail.
  • The nail bed area of ​​the skin on which the pin is located.
  • Matrix, the area below the cuticle.
  • Lunula, whitish crescent-shaped curved area.
  • Cuticle, the tissue that folds over the nail plate.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Why do stretch marks appear on nails , we recommend that you enter our Skin, hair and nails category .


  • Fingernails tend to grow faster (2 to 4 millimeters each month) than toenails (about half). This growth is usually maintained throughout life, except for some diseases.


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