Goodskin Dermatology

Symptoms, Diagnosis, and Treatment for Beau’s Lines

They’re an eye sore — the ridges in your nails and their abnormal thickness make you uncomfortable. Is everyone staring at your hands?

The unruly horizontal nail lines are more common than you might think. With many potential causes, it’s likely you know someone else experiencing the same thing.

Although these pesky lines can’t be fully treated, there are many ways to manage the symptoms and prevent Beau’s lines from reoccurring. 

Learn all about Beau’s lines including the many potential causes, how to be properly diagnosed, ways to manage it at home, and more.

Table of Contents

beaus lines nails treatment

What Are Beau’s Lines?

Beau’s lines are lines that run horizontally across your nails. They can appear on both your fingernails and toenails and might just affect one nail, a few nails, or all of them.

Commonly, people experience Beau’s lines on their thumbs and big toes.

If you suspect you may have Beau’s lines, contact Goodskin Dermatology today for a comprehensive evaluation.

What Are the Symptoms of Beau’s Lines?

Symptoms for Beau’s lines tend to vary because Beau’s lines can be caused by many different things.  

The first symptom many notice is the ridges that appear on the nail. However, another common symptom you may see is discoloration or yellowing of the nails, similar to a fungal infection.

What Causes Beau’s Lines?

If illness or stress interrupts your nail growth, Beau’s lines can occur because your body temporarily directs its energy away from growing your nails.

But illness and stress aren’t the only causes of Beau’s lines. So, why am I getting Beau’s lines?

If you’ve experienced an injury that has damaged your nail matrix, have long-term health problems that interfere with the blood flow to your nail matrix, experience severe skin conditions that damage the nail matrix, or are deficient in vitamins and nutrients, it may lead to Beau’s lines.

Illnesses That Might Cause Beau’s Lines

Some common (and not-so-common) illnesses are known for causing Beau’s lines to occur:

  • COVID-19
  • Heart attacks
  • High fevers
  • Measles
  • Mumps
  • Pneumonia
  • Strep infections

When your body is focusing on fighting off serious illnesses, it directs its energy to do that instead of growing your nails. The temporary stop in nail growth creates the horizontal line that appears with Beau’s lines.

Injuries That Might Cause Beau’s Lines

If you experience any trauma or injury to your nail matrix, Beau’s lines can also occur as a result of the injury. Injuries can include:

  • Dropping something heavy on your finger or toe
  • Exposure to cold temperatures
  • Slamming your finger in a door
  • Manicures or the use of artificial nails

Depending on the injury type — dropping something or slamming your finger — Beau’s lines may occur from impact. For trauma like cold exposure or manicures, Beau’s lines occur as a reaction to the experience.

Health Problems That Might Cause Beau’s Lines

Any chronic condition that interferes with blood flow to your nail matrix can cause Beau’s lines. 

These might include:

Skin Conditions That Might Cause Beau’s Lines

Eczema and psoriasis — common skin conditions that cause patches of raised, red, itchy skin — may cause Beau’s lines as your body works to fight the autoimmune conditions.

Vitamin Deficiencies That Might Cause Beau’s Lines

Those deficient in zinc or who don’t eat enough protein might experience Beau’s lines. 

While your body is being depleted of proper nutrients, it stops focusing on growing your nails. Once those nutrients are consumed at proper levels again, nail growth typically resumes.

beau's lines treatment

How Are Beau’s Lines Diagnosed?

Although Beau’s lines typically aren’t harmful — they’re just a sign that you’ve recently experienced an illness or nail damage — you might still be interested in an official diagnosis. If you’re unsure why you’re experiencing Beau’s lines, don’t ignore your symptoms because they can be a sign of a more serious illness, like:

To receive an accurate diagnosis of Beau’s lines, you’ll need to visit your healthcare provider or a dermatologist. They’ll examine your nails and take a health history for an accurate diagnosis. They’ll also assess the thickness and number of Beau’s lines that appear to provide clues about the cause. 

For example:

  • A single Beau’s line on one nail might indicate an isolated injury to that finger or toe.
  • Beau’s lines on all of your nails could point to illness or stress.
  • Multiple Beau’s lines on each nail might mean repeated illness or trauma.
  • Thicker Beau’s nails could be a sign of long-lasting illness or trauma.

How Are Beau’s Lines Treated?

If you notice the ridges in your nails, you’re probably wondering what the treatment of Beau’s lines is.

Unfortunately, there is no treatment for Beau’s lines, and those ridges are there to stay until your nails eventually grow out. Typically, if recovering from an illness or receiving treatment for an underlying cause, this growth can take about six months.

Once they’ve grown out, you can treat the underlying cause to keep them from coming back again. 

Goodskin Dermatology is a multi-location dermatology clinic that provides a wide range of dermatology-related services to the Portland Metro area. If you need a Beau’s line diagnosis and treatment option, contact us today.

*If you have peripheral artery disease, please discuss treatment options with your healthcare provider.

**Please note that treatments may vary depending on the condition and individual patient. Always consult with your healthcare provider to see which treatment is recommended.

Medical Management of Beau’s Lines

Once a healthcare provider can narrow down the cause of your Beau’s lines, it can likely be managed. If your cause is related to illness or stress, healthcare providers will work with you to heal those symptoms thus leading to the management of Beau’s lines.

For example, a cancer patient may experience Beau’s lines from the chemotherapy used to treat the chronic illness. Once chemotherapy is complete and the nails begin to grow again, the ridges will eventually grow out and can be cut off entirely. By treating the illness, the patient can manage their Beau’s lines.

At-Home Management of Beau’s Lines

You can work to keep your nails healthy daily by:

  • Applying creams and moisturizers for skin conditions
  • Avoiding manicures, artificial nails, or harsh products that may cause trauma
  • Managing your nutrition to help with blood sugar and nutrient and vitamin deficiencies
treatment of beaus lines

Goodskin Dermatology Provides High-Quality, Patient-Based Care for Beau’s Lines

We get it, those pesky ridges in your nails can be an eyesore. Although there’s no treatment for Beau’s lines, Goodskin Dermatology can help you treat the causes and manage the symptoms.

As skincare and health professionals, Goodskin Dermatology has treated patients in four offices across the Portland Metro area. Our goal is to provide the best dermatology-related services to our patients, helping them feel beautiful in their healthy skin.

We know how to properly identify ailments, what triggers them, suggest prevention and management methods, and offer treatment options to alleviate your symptoms.

At Goodskin Dermatology, we provide a wide array of care pertaining to:

  • Skin conditions
  • Skin cancer
  • Cosmetic services
  • General dermatology
  • And more

Contact us to schedule an appointment today.

The content in this blog should not be used in place of direct medical advice/treatment and is solely for informational purposes.