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Beau's Lines - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment, Tips

Beau's Lines Picture

Local or global disturbances of the nail matrix result in indentations that run transverse across the nails, depressions of the nail plate and transverse bilateral lines or grooves across the fingernails, disturbances known as Beau's lines or Beau-Reil cross furrows in honor to the German anatomist Johann Christian Reil, who described this phenomenon in 1796, a half century before that the French physician Joseph Honoré Simon Beau.

This disease is usually a sign of a systemic disease of the nail fold, trauma or skin disease but may occur as system insult after chemotherapy, illness or use of drugs or in response to diseases such as syphilis, pneumonia, heart attack, myocarditis or coronary occlusion, uncontrolled diabetes, hypocalcaemia, peripheral vascular disease or illness accompanied by high fevers. Sometimes Beau's Lines are present in newborn infants as a normal condition that will disappear near the end of the first month of life.

In adults, the longitudinal lines are visible until the affected area of the nail has grown out and been trimmed away. It may appear as a result of a temporary cessation in the growth of the nail plate during severe systemic illnesses. Unusual cases of Beau's Lines are associated with transverse grooves on the nails of one extremity and unilateral lines presented after a metaphysical fracture of the distal radius and wrist immobilization.

Beau's lines may be also a sign of malnutrition, zinc or iron deficiency, anemia, any major metabolic condition or a not lasting condition when growth at the area under the cuticle is interrupted by an injury or after a stressful event that temporarily interrupted nail formation. The lines progress distally with normal nail growth and eventually disappear at the free edge.

There is no specific treatment for this condition, but basically routines to obtain relief are necessary to attend to the causes according to the medical prescription in each case. In the battle against Beau's Lines rough ridges, the daily application of an anti-fungal can help along with some basic caring as for weak nails:

- Trim brittle nails after a bath or moisturized it.

- If possible prepare a 15-minute hand-soak oil bath.

- Apply a moisturizer on nails each time you wash your hands.

- Moisturize cuticles and nails at bedtime and cover them with cotton gloves.

- Don't use nail polish remover more than twice a month, touch up the polish.

- Avoid removers with acetone, which dries nails.

When the nails grow the Beau's Lines cause nail splits or tears that can be easily repaired with clear polish or nail glue. Remember to keep your nails short, square-shaped and slightly rounded on top and do not forget to apply a nail hardener. Avoid products containing formaldehyde, sulfonamide or toluene that irritate the skin or cause redness. If nail abnormalities are associated with other symptoms, unexplained or persist, visit your physician.

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