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Beau’s Lines: Signs, Causes, Treatments and Prevention

Last Updated on June 25, 2022
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written by nail expert Jess Rowley

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Horizontal Ridges/Beau’s Lines: Causes, Treatments, And Prevention: 

Struggling with horizontal ridges on your pretty nails and looking for ways to cure them and prevent them in the future?

These are the worst!

These horizontal ridges are known as Beau’s Lines, they are most commonly found on our toenails but can appear on our fingernails too– they may even make your toenails appear thick.

But it’s not all bad news, I’m here to help. I will give you all the best tips and tricks to help cure and restore your pretty feet and fingernails to their former glory.

But wait let me tell you something:

Healthy nails are smooth and flat and do not have discoloration, marks, or ridges. If you develop these ridges often maybe it’s time to consult the doctor– nails do say a lot about your health!

But it’s not all doom and gloom, sometimes nail ridges are caused by a little nail trauma and tend to go away with some simple cures.

Let’s jump into everything you need to know!

beaus lines

So, What Are Horizontal Ridges?

Beau’s lines are horizontal ridges going across your nail, which can be an indication of something more serious, but let’s get down to the basics.

Beau’s lines most commonly occur when the nail growth is disturbed by the nail matrix (the area where the new nail emerges from).

Beau’s lines are often multiple deep lines going across the nail, they can appear on both your toes and fingers, typically toenail ridges are harmless and just caused by minor things like:

– Trauma or overly long nails

– Caused as a result of injury

– Simply from being on your feet all-day

In more serious cases it could indicate something potentially more serious, like an underlying condition. For example diabetes, coronary thrombosis, myocarditis, or even a result of chemotherapy. 

The best thing I would do is to consult your podiatrist if you’re even slightly worried, it will definitely put your mind at ease but in most cases, they’re nothing to be worried about.

What do Beau’s lines look like?

Beau’s lines are intentions and ridges, that develop in a horizontal direction along with the nail. They usually run from one side of the nail to the other one.

You may find Beau’s lines only on one fingernail or toenail (as a result of trauma) but they can develop on multiple at once.

Causes and symptoms of Beau’s Lines:

Beau’s lines are a result of trauma, malnutrition, or a sign of an underlying health condition.

If you suffer from eczema then you may be prone to dry fingernails and toenails which causes ridges. The best way to tackle this is to keep your hands and toes moisturized every day to hold in the moisture to prevent cracking.

If you have a vitamin deficiency, in calcium, zinc, or vitamin A, you may notice ridges appearing in both your toenails and fingernails. It can be a simple cure of taking your vitamins on a daily!

Other causes may be caused by the habit-tic deformity which is a source of habitual trauma to the nail matrix. This occurs when the person picks at or rubs the central cuticle with a neighboring finger. It is most commonly found on the thumb.

Here are some other causes of Beau’s lines:

Subungal hematoma: The hematoma presses into the nail matrix, causing pressure on the production of the new nail cell.

Onychia: This is the inflammation of the matrix- you may notice pus-forming and in some cases even a loss of the nail.

– Chemotherapy: Chemotherapy can actually cause beau’s lines, it may even cause discoloration in both your fingernails and toenails.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome: This is a condition caused by compression of the median nerve in the carpal tunnel. It can affect nail growth and may cause horizontal ridges and lines going across the fingernails and toenails. 

– Ageing: As we get older, our nails start to break down and thicken, this may cause horizontal ridges to occur as the nails thicken. The best way to tackle this is to buff your nails until it reduces the appearance of these ridges. 

Result of a manicure: If your technician is quite aggressive when it comes to filing, trimming, and applying acrylic. Prolonged exposure to acrylics can cause beau’s lines as it puts a lot of pressure on the nail matrix. 

If more than one line appears on your nail it could indicate a repeated trauma or injury to the nail, or a sign of an infection.

If you have an idea why these lines have been caused (such as hitting your nail) then this may well be the reason, but if it is an infection you should seek treatment as soon as possible. 

Are Beau’s Lines Common?

It is something we don’t often talk about but it really should be normalized, let’s be honest! They’re more common than you may think

We put our toes and fingers through a lot on a daily so it’s understandable that they suffer from trauma, from doing sports, or even just being on your feet a lot.

If you have any worries it’s always good to consult your doctor in case of any cause of concern.

How Can I Cure Horizontal Ridges at home?

There are lots of ways to cure beau’s lines and horizontal ridges at home but first things first you need to get down to the root of the cause.

If it’s caused by injury or by being on your feet all day it may go away on its own, but a top way to help is to keep your nails moisturized.

If your nails are dry they become brittle and become prone to these sorts of ridges, therefore the best cure may also prevent these ridges from happening in the future.

It can be as easy as taking nail vitamins!

You can also help cure  beau’s lines by buffing the ridges with a nail buffer or file to smooth out the nail ( this is best if these ridges have been caused by nail thickening as a result of age).

If none of this helps then again maybe consult a doctor or podiatrist.


Best Products To Help With Beau’s Lines:

Dr. Frederick’s Original Gel Toe Caps: This one really helps with Beau’s lines found in toenails as a result of trauma. These really help keep your toes safe, secure and safeguard them against trauma that can cause ridges in your toenails.

They can be worn with shoes while doing exercise or just around the house while doing chores. These are brilliant for preventing ridges, and protecting them while they heal. Check them out here!

Cuccio Natural Milk & Honey Cuticle Oil: Nothing is more nourishing and hydrating than getting yourself a good cuticle oil. You may only use this for a manicure if at all but they’re brilliant for keeping your nails strong, hydrated, and prevent ridges. 

Cuccio is brilliant as it uses a natural complex of rich oils that help to moisturize, protect and nourish dry, cracked nails. This is brilliant as a cure or as prevention from toenail ridges. I absolutely love this formula.

Barielle Hydrating Ridge Filler: Another way to prevent horizontal ridges or beau’s lines is through using a hydrating, strengthening base coat that will help to fill in ridges and prevent them from chipping during your manicure and in general.

It also adds an extra layer of protection to your toenails from everyday abuse, like bashing your toe on the corner– we’ve all done it, and ouch!

This base coat from Barielle is a must-have in your kit, it was made to treat dehydrated, ridge-filled nails by moisturizing them with silk protein fibers. It works wonders!

Now nails grow very slowly, it can take 6-9 months for a nail to grow out, if you treat the cause (whether it’s an underlying health condition, malnutrition, or trauma) Beau’s line’s should disappear.

It’s also important to eat a balanced diet, rich in vitamins and taking additional supplements to boost healthy and strong nails.


Whatever you decide to use on your nails, we all need to remember that they deserve a lot of TLC. Our feet and hands go through a lot, from being on our feet all day, vigorously washing our hands, or just from bumping our hands and feet.

If you begin to notice your nails looking quite damaged, dry, or discolored then make sure you nourish them first and if they don’t get any better then consult your doctor,

In 2021 we need a routine for everything, from skincare to nail care, incorporating 5 minutes to hydrate your nails every day will make the world of difference.

Let’s keep our tootsies and fingertips beautiful and look after them together!

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