The majority of nail ridges are vertical and resemble thin, raised stripes going from the nail's base to its tip. You can feel the ridged pattern if you run your finger over the nail.
However, there are some situations in which nail ridges may be seen as a sign of a health issue, depending on recent occurrences that might have had an impact on your nail bed.
Vertical nail ridges are a typical side effect of the moisture loss that happens as people age. Generally speaking, they pose no danger beyond aesthetic value.
Horizontal ridges are rarer and can indicate health issues. Beau's lines, or deep horizontal nail ridges, indicate interrupted nail growth.
According to the Cleveland Clinic, an injury to the nail's root, an illness or infection, severe stress, a nail-area skin condition, a vitamin or nutrient deficiency can cause this.
Once you've determined that your nail rides aren't a health concern, you can address your cosmetic concerns.
Rather than spending time buffing your nails before painting them, consider purchasing a high-quality product like OPI Ridge Filler to use as a base coat.
Micro-particles or protein fibers in ridge fillers are what smooth out the uneven surface of your nails. Nail polish will go on more smoothly and the ridges will be concealed.