Sir Arthur Conal Doyale has said, "By a man's finger nails, a man's calling is plainly revealed!" It is not just this, a person's nails can reveal more than mere occupation, interest or behaviour; but it also reveals the health problem he/she might be suffering from. Is it something strange to believe? Well! To make this clear we will have to go through the current article which talks about Beau's lines, also called the horizontal ridges on the finger nails or one of the illness known as Beau's illness. This article will focus on the facts of beau's lines on nails where we will study about the causes, symptoms, along with the treatments and home remedies, and the preventive measures for the same.

Beau's Lines

An Overview on the Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

Ridges on nails are the parallel lines on the nails that may either run in a vertical way or in horizontal way. Though vertical lines or the vertical ridges are common and not much to worry about, the horizontal ridges on the nails can be the signs of some underlying dangers. These horizontal lines are known as the Beau's lines which are also as the Beau's illness in most cases when there is a formation of a bulge in the shape of a moon over the nail plate in a parallel and horizontal manner running from one side of the nail to the other side. It is always advisable to meet an expert professional once these horizontal or the Beau's line starts appearing on your nails as they may be alarming signs of some threatening health issues. There are various factors leading to the Beau's lines which include an injury, infection, disease, disorder or an ill health condition in the affected person. Usually the Beau's line occurs after the nail slows or stops growing.

Symptoms in Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

Here are some of the noted symptoms of the Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails.

  • The most important symptoms for the Beau's lines on the nails are the horizontal lines or the horizontal ridges over the nail from one end to the other end.
  • One of the symptoms of Beau's Line or Horizontal Ridges may be the growth of multiple nails from a single finger root.
  • There is an extension of the grooves across the nail plate all throughout its breadth.
  • There may be symptoms of rippled nails in Beau's illness. Usually patients with Dermatitis suffer from such a kind of symptom in the Beau's lines on the nails.
  • One more symptom in beau's illness where though the nails have normal color the tissues formed just beneath the nail is blue in color.
  • Sudden appearance of puffy nail folds on the nails can be symptoms of the Beau's illness.
  • The symptoms of Beau's Lines may be seen on the finger nails in hands as well as on the toes in the feet.

What can Cause Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails?

Here in this section of ours let us look at the most important causes of the Beau's lines on nails. We will study the causes under the following categories for a better understanding.

  1. Injury
  2. Diseases/Disorders
  3. Infection
  4. Medication
  5. Poisons
  6. Normal Aging
  7. Malnutrition and nutrient deficiency.

Injury as a Cause for Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

  • There are chances of occurrence of the Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails with a long-term exposure to the nail polish or moisture which causes the nails to peel and turn brittle
  • Crushing the base of the nail may cause a deformity in it permanently.
  • Some people have a habit of biting nails. This may also sometime cause the occurrence of Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Beau's lines or the Beau's illness also occur in the toe nails in most of the athletes who are in to running, because of the constant rubbing of the nail with the shoe.
  • There are also chances for the appearance of the Beau's Lines on the nails with continuous picking or rubbing of the skin behind the nail.

Infection as a Cause for Beau's Lines or Vertical Ridges on Nails:

  • Bacterial infection can cause the Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails which may result in change in the nail color, painful nails or pain in the surrounding skin of the nail, nail ridges etc
  • Yeast or fungus infections also causes the nail illnesses including symptoms of nail color change, texture and shape change of the nails
  • Certain infections like the infections of the heart valve may also cause problems in nail or nail bed like the appearance of the red streaks or the splinter haemorrhages in the Beau's illness
  • There are also viral warts causing a change in shape of the nail.

Diseases that can Cause Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

  • Kidney disease, liver disease, thyroid disease, diseases of skin, skin cancers, various surgeries, certain disorders, various other conditions can also cause the appearance of the Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails.
  • Kidney diseases can lead to a growth of nitrogen waste products in the blood that can cause nails to damage or show symptoms of the Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Brittle nails or the spitting of the nails from the nail bed can be caused with some of the thyroid diseases like hyperthyroidism or hypothyroidism.
  • Liver disease can also cause the nails to be damaged.
  • Skin disease like Psoriasis may cause pitting, or lifting of the nail from the nail bed or any of the severe symptoms in Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Deadly skin cancers near the nail or the fingertip can cause problems of Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Certain surgeries can cause horizontal ridges or the Beau's lines on nails.
  • Disorders in the body which affects the amount of oxygen in blood may be one of the causes for Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Sometimes aggressive melanoma can cause the formation of a pigmented streak on nails, nail ridges and darkening of the cuticle.

Poisons as a Cause for Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

  • There are chances for the appearance of the white lines and the horizontal lines or the Beau's lines over the nails due to toxins or poisons like arsenic
  • There are also possibilities of growing blue nail in Beau's illness with excessive intake of silver.

Medications that can Cause Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

  • It is already known that patients suffering from cancer undergoing the chemotherapy treatment suffer mostly from the Beau's lines on the nails. It clearly depicts chemotherapy medications are one of the causes for Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Certain antibiotics also cause Beau's illness with symptoms of lifting of nail from the nail bed

Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails as a Result of Normal Aging:

Normal aging affects the growth and development of the finger nails and the toe nails. There are chances with growing age, people may find the signs and symptoms of Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.

Malnutrition and Nutrient Deficiency as a Cause for Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

Malnutrition and lack of certain important nutrition in diet can cause Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.

  • Deficiency of zinc can cause Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails
  • Vitamin A deficiency also leads to Beau's illness or Beau's lines
  • Proteins are important for good nail health. A deficiency in protein can cause the occurrence of Beau's lines.

Who are at Risk for Developing Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails?

If you are eager to know about who the people and under what circumstances one get encountered with the beau's lines, then here below is the list to find them out.

  • Anyone belonging to any age can get encountered with the Beau's lines or the Beau's illness
  • Forceful pressure on finger nails because of any reason can lead to the Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on nails.
  • Cancer patients taking chemotherapy treatment are more likely to be affected with the Beau's illness
  • People taking some special drugs can also meet the effect of the Beau's illness

When to Reach a Doctor?

Make sure you are visiting the doctor in case you start experiencing the following symptoms

  • A new or a widened dark streak on the nail
  • Appearance of clubbed nails and distorted nails
  • In case there occur pale and horizontal ridges on the nails.
  • If you have blue nails.
  • If pits occur on your nails
  • In case there are white lines below the nails or in case there are white nails.

Treatment and Home Remedies for the Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

"There are diseases, there are ill conditions, there are problems; and there are treatments, remedies and solutions!" here are some of the best possible treatment methods for treating the Beau's lines or the Horizontal Ridges on the nails.

  • A multi-vitamin and zinc supplement must be taken as prescribed by the doctor
  • Trim the brittle nails soon after taking bath and moisturize them in a way that the moisturizing lotion reaches all the area around the nail corners
  • It is ideal to wash and apply moisturizing lotion every time you wash your hands in case there are noticeable symptoms of the Beau's illness or Horizontal Ridges on hands
  • Make sure you are applying moisturizer before going to bed and cover the nails and the affected portion with hand gloves.
  • Soaking hands or feet in warm water with a spoon of salt in it for at least 10 minutes and then wiping up properly for applying an antiseptic solution in the affected area of the hand or feet, in the finger nails or the toe nails can help you treat the Beau's lines or the Horizontal Ridges in some ways at home.
  • Soaking the hands in Olive oil can also help in strengthening the nails.

Though these are some of the treatment ways for Beau's lines you can try out at home, it is always recommended to meet an expert doctor soon with the appearance of the Horizontal lines or the Beau's lines on Nails. The doctor will look for the respective underlying health issues causing the Beau's line with appropriate medical tests and diagnosis and go for the essential treatments to eradicate the health problem and the symptoms of the Beau's lines on nails.

Best Preventive Measures for Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

"We cannot avoid diseases and ill health conditions, but we can surely take the essential measures to prevent us from their danger." Here below are some of the most effective preventive measures for the Beau's lines or the Horizontal Ridges on the nails.

  • Do not pick or bite nails or the skin behind the nails which can cause the occurrence of the Beau's lines on nails
  • Do not wear the tight fitting shoes which can cause the symptoms of Beau's lines or the Horizontal Ridges on the toe nails.
  • Take enough of diets rich proteins, vitamins, zinc etc
  • It can also be an effective preventive measure to take multi-vitamin and zinc supplements.
  • Make a habit of applying moisturizing lotion in your hands and feet along with the finger nails and the toe nails after cleaning them with warm salt water and wiping the moisture out before bed.
  • Do not make an excessive use of nail polish which can dry out your nails or cause Beau's lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails

FAQs on Beau's Lines or Horizontal Ridges on Nails:

  1. Why is the Name Given Beau's lines to such a condition in Nail?

    The French Physician named Joseph Honore Simon Beau at first described about the condition of the horizontal ridges or the Beau's lines on the nails during the year 1846. This is the reason why the name comes as the Beau's lines.

  2. What are the Alternative Names of the Beau's lines?

    Beau's lines are also known by some alternative names like Spoon nails, Leukonychia, Brittle Nails, Fingernail abnormalities, Koilonychia etc

  3. Who is at a Great Risk of Growing the Beau's lines on Nails?

    Though people of all ages can have the Beau's line, the most common ones to get these horizontal ridges on their nails are the cancer patients who take the chemotherapy treatments.

Conclusion:

Make sure to reach a doctor for immediate diagnosis and follow up treatments for the Beau's lines on nails in case you start experiencing the symptoms, especially the appearance of the horizontal white lines on the nail plate. Also do keep a note to take all the essential preventive measures for keeping away from the occurrence of the Beau's line on finger or the toe nails.

Written, Edited or Reviewed By:

, MD, FFARCSI

Last Modified On: May 13, 2016

Pain Assist Inc.

Pramod Kerkar
  Note: Information provided is not a substitute for physician, hospital or any form of medical care. Examination and Investigation is necessary for correct diagnosis.

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