Beau's Lines (Horizontal Ridges) on Nails Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Do you have horizontal ridges on your nails and are wondering what they are? Known as Beaus lines, these ridges could be caused by trauma, systematic diseases, skin disorders as well as nutritional deficiency. We delve into the causes, treatments, home remedies and preventive measures to help you deal with Beau’s lines

Beaus Lines

Beau’s lines are transverse of horizontal depressions that form on the nails. First described in 1846 by a French physician named Joseph HonorĂ© Simon Beau, they can form on the toenails, fingernails or all nails. These depressions could easily be confused for ridges. 

Although anyone can experience beaus lines, persons that encounter forceful pressure on the nails, people on certain drugs as well as cancer patients are more predisposed to experiencing the condition.

Beaus Lines Symptoms

The symptoms of beau’s lines on nails include:
  • Horizontal grooves extending across the entire breadth of the nails.
  • Growth of multiple nails from a single nail bed.
  • Persons experiencing Beaus nails as a result of dermatological problems may experience rippled nails as well.

Beaus Lines Causes

What causes beaus lines? Beaus lines are as a result of injuries on the nail matrix resulting in slowed nail growth. With time, grooves form on the nail plate surface. A number of things could contribute to this. 

They occur when the body stops to produces nail cells. This could be for only a short time. Prolonged duration of the same result in prominent ridges. Once production of nail cells resumes, nail growth also occurs. This is when Beaus lines appear due to the interrupted nail growth.


Beaus lines could form when there is injury on the toe. This could be from trauma such as when something falls on the toe nails, hitting the nail with a hammer or when a door slams on a finger. Repetitive local injury on a nail will result in multiple lines on one nail.

Nail Infection

It is possible for beaus lines to occur when the nails get infected. Bacterial infection will see a color change in nails, pain around the skin of the nails as well as formation of ridges on nails. Fungal infections will cause changes in shape, texture and color of your nails. In addition, viral warts could see a change in the shape of the nails.


Kidney disease could result in accumulation of nitrogen waste products. This in turn results in nail damage which might be manifested by formation of Beau’s lines. Thyroid diseases on the other hand could make nails brittle right from the nail bed. Other diseases that could lead to ridges on the nails include liver disease.

Skin Disorders

Conditions such as Psoriasis may see pitting or lifting of the nails from the nail bed. Skin cancers affecting areas close to the nails or on the fingertips could also result in formation of beaus lines. Aggressive cases of melanoma will not only result in horizontal nail ridges but darkening of the cuticle and pigmented streaks on the nails.


Patients on chemotherapy drugs may experience Beaus lines while undergoing treatment. In addition, some aggressive antibiotics may see a patient’s nails lifted from the nail beds resulting in horizontal ridges.

Normal Aging

It is possible for individuals to develop Beaus lines as a result of the normal aging process. These horizontal ridges may form as a result of weakened health systems in the body.

Nutritional Deficiency

Nutritional deficiency as well as malnutrition will see the body’s nutritional requirements not being met. Vitamin A, zinc and protein are crucial in nail growth. Their deficiency could lead to unhealthy nails which may be seen by formation of Beaus lines.

Beau Lines Caused By Stress

At times, people get stressed and adopt unhealthy habits. Some of these may include nail biting and picking. When this becomes an obsessive habit, it could cause the gnawed nails to form beau’s lines.

Beau Lines Fingernails Treatment

Beaus lines on fingernails or toenails can be treated by dealing with the cause. Where the cause is a health or skin condition, it will be important to seek medical attention. Where the cause is trauma, some home remedies will be sufficient. We look at some of these below.

Beau’s Lines Home Remedies


The nails, just like the skin, require to stay hydrated to be healthy. This will prevent them from dryness and being flaky. Apply nail moisturizer regularly and ensure you rub it in on the nails, cuticles and surrounding skin. This will help reduce the occurrence of beaus lines.


Keep your body well hydrated by drinking enough water. This will be of great help to the overall health of your body.

Conceal the Ridges

Once the ridges form, there is no way of getting rid of them apart from waiting for them to grow out. However, using nail polish can help camouflage Beau’s lines. Use a qualified nail technician to ensure that the application does not worsen the condition. Alternatively, settle for nail enamel to conceal the lines.

Preventive Tips for Beau’s Lines on Nails

  • Start by trimming any brittle nails immediately after taking a bath as opposed to when they are dry. Follow this up by moisturizing lotion and ensure it reaches the corners of the nails.
  • Any time you wash your hands, follow it up with a moisturizer to ensure your nails stay healthy.
  • Before going to bed, apply a moisturizer and cover your hands with gloves.
  • Regularly soak your nails in olive oil to keep your nails strong.
  • A foot soak in salty warm water after which you wipe off thoroughly and apply antiseptic can help in treating beau’s lines.
  • If necessary, take zinc and multivitamin supplements to have healthy nails.
  • Avoid picking, biting the nails of skin surrounding the nails.
  • Avoid wearing tight fitting shoes as they could result in Beaus line on toenails.
  • Avoid excessive use of nail polish as it could dry out the nails. Give your nails breaks between applications. In addition, avoid using vanish removers with acetone.



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