Many of us obsess about our nails. Caring for them with nail and cuticle cream, regular manicures, painting them with the season’s colors, and visiting nail spas to get pretty art done- is something we indulge in at one point or another. But despite all of this care, we notice that our nails start showing horizontal ridges that mar the beauty of your well-maintained nails. These lines are called Beau’s Lines (1). Beau’s lines are usually flat or sloping depressions in the nail and can be seen in the fingernails, toenails, or thumbs.
Beau’s Lines can also significantly occur along the running nail bed, which can cause the moon-shaped white portion of the nail at its origin. The term Beau’s Line was derived in 1846 by the French physician Joseph Honoré Simon Beau, thus the name (2). It primarily occurs when the growth of the nail slows down due to various health-related factors that affect the nail’s matrix. Scroll down to know all about Beau’s Line –
Symptoms of Beau’s Lines
The primary symptom of Beau’s Lines is the occurrence of single or multiple horizontal lines going across the nail. The ridges usually start occurring over a small nail area and then eventually elongate to cover the entire nail plate. However, what might begin as a minor line or dent may turn into a more visible depression and can sometimes affect all of your nails. Since nails grow slowly, about three millimeters per month, Beau’s Lines that affect the nail matrix won’t register in the nail plate for weeks or months.
Beau’s Lines are completely harmless and will eventually grow out as your nails grow.
Causes of Beau’s Lines
While Beau’s Lines are harmless and nothing to worry about, let’s examine the underlying causes. (3)
Even minor injuries can lead to the appearance of Beau’s lines. When Beau’s lines manifest in a single nail, it is often linked to localized trauma impacting the nail matrix. For instance, a bump against a hard or sharp surface or a nail getting caught in a door can form ridges. In these instances, Beau’s lines develop as the nail’s regular production of new cells is disrupted due to the injury.
2. Extreme Weather Conditions
The other causes of Beau lines could be extreme cold, hot weather, or even fever. In such cases, from the Beau’s Line, it is possible to measure the time since new nail cells were not produced. The nail grows at a rate of 0.1 mm per day. Depending on how far Beau’s Line is from the cuticle, it is possible to calculate the number of days since new nail cells were produced.
3. Zinc Deficiency
Zinc deficiency could also be a significant reason for Beau’s lines (4). Include food that contains zinc, proteins, and other nutrients in your diet when your nails slowly start developing fine lines. Also, if they occur in all your nails, do not brush them out as something that can be covered with nail polish, or try to heal them using any nail cream. Ridges along all the nails point to some systemic disorders like heart trouble, measles, extreme fevers, or side effects of some drugs. If highly neglected, it may also end up causing fierce, brittle nails that tend to break easily.
Some vegetables that contain zinc are lentil sprouts, spinach, green peas, mushrooms, lima beans, broccoli, okra, and sweet corn.
Inflammatory conditions such as psoriasis (5) may also cause infection around the nail plate. Other generic causes include common side effects of chemotherapy, nutrition, or vitamin deficiencies, illnesses accompanied by high fever, metabolic imbalance, and reduced blood flow to the fingers.
How to overcome Beau’s Lines
If Beau’s lines appear, wait to determine if they are temporary. If they result from a known injury, wait until the pain diminishes before considering a nail enhancement to conceal the lines as they grow out. Applying a bright nail color can help camouflage the imperfection. Beau’s lines will naturally grow out without requiring specific treatment. However, if there is persistent pain or soreness, it’s advisable to consult a doctor, as it could indicate an underlying medical condition, such as the illnesses above.
Treating Beau’s Lines At Home
If you are sure it’s the harmless version of Beau’s lines and you do not wish to cover it up, then here are a few tips that you can try at home –
1. Moisturize and hydrate your nails thoroughly. This can help minimize the appearance of ridging while protecting the natural keratin layer of the nail.
2. Avoid keeping long nails as they risk breaking or getting painfully chipped while doing daily chores.
3. Do not bite or pick the skin around your nails, as this might weaken your nails.
4. If you wish to camouflage the uneven texture of your nails, you may buff them gently to even it out a bit.
5. Treat the cuticles gently and with love. Cuticles work as a barrier for the fingers to keep dirt and infections out of the tissues of the fingers, thus reducing any further damage to your nails.
6. Reduce water exposure as it often strips off the natural oils and emollients from your skin, resulting in dryness and brittle nails.
7. Maintain a nutritious and vitamin-loaded diet. Increase the intake of leafy and green vegetables containing zinc and other nutrients.
Beau’s Lines are the horizontal ridges or lines that appear on fingernails and toenails thus making your nails slightly brittle and easily breakable. This nail condition is completely harmless and the lines eventually grow out when the nail lengthens naturally. It is caused due to everyday casual injuries like hitting or bumping your nail against a hard surface or accidentally jamming it between the door’s hinges. These little incidents and injuries can attribute the nail matrix by stopping the production of new cells in the nails. Other reasons why this could happen are zinc deficiencies, common side effects of chemotherapy, vitamin deficiencies, or reduced blood flow to the fingers, metabolic imbalance, and illnesses accompanied by high fever. Beau’s Lines do not need any specific medical treatment until you feel unbearable pain for a longer period of time.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How Does One Identify Beau’s Lines?
Beau’s lines are horizontal or sloping depressions in the nails. They can be multiple fine lines, just a few lines, or transverse depressions.
Is Beau’s Line Dangerous?
Not at all; Beau’s lines are harmless and nothing you should be worried about.
Can Fungus Cause Beau’s Lines?
Yes, sometimes fungal growth or fungal infection can also cause or aid in increasing Beau’s lines.
How Long Does It Take For Beau’s Lines To Completely Heal?
It takes around 5 to 6 months for your nails to grow out ultimately, thereby eliminating the infected nail to grow out.
Does Beau’s Lines Need Immediate Medical Treatment?
No, there is no need to visit your doctor if Beau’s lines nail isn’t hurting. Follow the tips above and let your nails breathe without medicines or chemicals.
- Why Do I Have Ridges in My Fingernails? – healthline.com
- Beau’s lines – Wikipedia.org
- By the way, doctor: What causes Beau’s lines? – health.harvard.edu
- Fingernails: Possible problems – mayoclinic.org
- Nail involvement in psoriatic arthritis – ncbi.nlm.nih.gov