Beau’s Lines 101: Causes, Treatments & Who’s At Risk

If you have indentations on your nails – both fingers and toes – in the form of a deep, grooved line straight across, you have Beau’s lines. It’s not too big of a concern if you have this issue, although your cosmetic concerns are quite justifiable. These grooves can give your nails an uneven appearance, affecting most of your manicure sessions and more. In this article, we will discuss Beau’s Lines – its causes, treatments and more.


What Are Beau’s Lines?

beau lines on fingernails

Like most inventions and discoveries, Beau’s lines are named after Joseph Honoré Simon Beau, the first physician who described these indentations all the way back in 1846. If anything, Beau’s lines shouldn’t be confused with lines that grow vertically from your cuticles. Beau’s lines are strictly horizontal in appearance with ridges that you can feel from your nails.

Additionally, Beau’s lines also shouldn’t be confused with a condition known as Muehrcke’s lines, which shows grooves that form under your nails and cannot be felt externally or physically. So, what are the causes of Beau’s lines? Why do they form?

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Causes of Beau’s Lines Formation

Beau's Lines Formation

If you have recently hit your nails hard against something or injured your fingers or toes, Beau’s lines could form at the injured areas. However, these lines could also appear due to more serious underlying health conditions. These health issues usually affect more than just a single part of your body. In fact, most of the diseases that cause the formation of Beau’s lines affect your entire body!

You might have Beau’s lines if you have a severe infection such as pneumonia or measles if you are malnourished or progressing diabetes. Generally speaking, Beau’s lines can form as a result of diseases that are severe enough that even your nail’s growth plates are affected, so you might want to reflect on your health condition if these lines pop out of nowhere on most of your nails!

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Before you start looking for Beau’s lines treatments, do keep in mind that these grooves are totally harmless and will go away on their own as they grow past your nailbed and onto your nail’s edges.

Beau's Lines Treatments

Since Beau’s lines form due to underlying diseases, treatments are more geared towards the actual root of the problems rather than curing the ridges. As an example, if you have had a proper diagnosis of diabetes and later developed Beau’s lines, having a better sugar intake control could help to prevent these ridges from developing further.

Nevertheless, if you are looking for ways to get rid of these lines, you can always buff your nails with an emery board to smoothen out some of the ridges. Take care not to press down on your nails too much! If you do, you might end up damaging your nails further, and this is the last thing that you would want if you were looking for a solution in the first place.


Who’s at Risk of Beau’s Lines?

Anyone can get Beau’s lines, especially if it’s due to trauma or injuries. However, you have higher chances of getting these lines if you are undergoing chemotherapy, malnourished or are suffering from other systemic diseases. Similarly, after younger children have experienced an onset of fever in Kawasaki’s disease, Beau’s lines can form on their nails approximately a month or two later.

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In short, Beau’s lines are horizontal grooves that can be felt on the surface of your nails. It’s not much of a concern if you have one or two after injuring your nails, but if you have plenty of these across your nails, it could be a sign of some serious underlying health conditions and you should consult a doctor for a check-up as soon as possible.

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