Many people enjoy having smooth natural nails, however, for some, they have a nail condition that causes their nails to have ridges.

Ridges on nails or Beau’s lines are horizontal lines on nails that usually run across from one side of a nail to the other and these horizontal lines on nails are often deep indentations in nails that are created by some physical interactions or caused by some sudden changes in health, or by some certain vitamin deficiencies.

Since I assume most people are healthy, so I will go in-depth on different physical causes of lines on nails that are often called beau’s lines or horizontal ridges in nails first.

Ridges on nails that caused by physical interactions

We live in a modern world that requires us to wash our hands several times a day. Most times, we wash our hands with soap and warm water. However, some people might use much stronger soap for their sensitive skin. Together with hot water, they clean our hands but also take away the natural oil on the skin, especially on the cuticle.

This oil is needed for the cuticles to slide or spring back as the nails continue to grow outward. When this oil is missing or dries out, the cuticles are dry and stuck to the nail surface, and move out with the nails. If this situation continues, you will have overgrown and thick cuticles.

When you have this unsightly look of cuticles on your nails, you tend to push them back using your own nails, usually a thick and strong thumbnail. As you try to do so, you inadvertently push on the much softer, nail-forming part of your nails, the nail matrix and nail root. They are located just under the cuticles.

Under normal growth conditions, these parts will create new smooth nails that continue to grow out. However, if you press down to these nail-forming parts with the edge of your thumbnail, you push down and unintentionally alter the soft-young nails underneath the cuticles.

If the pressure is too great or deep, these affected soft young nail tissues can not go back to their original shape. The result is you have an indentation on your nails that are visible when they grow out.

If you do this less often, what you will see is fewer horizontal lines on nails. If you do this more regularly, you will have multiple indentation lines or ridges in fingernails that will make them look wavy or ripples.

In short, deep lines on nails are usually caused by people who try to push back their cuticles with a thin object like a thumbnail and this pressure alters the shape of the soft young nail tissues and creates beau’s line or horizontal ridges in their fingernails.

beau’s lines on thumbnails are more pronounced or visible because cuticles on thumbs are usually dryer than those on other fingers. This extra dryness plus more cuticles on the thumbs make people with dry hands press or push these cuticles back with much higher pressure. Therefore, the thumbnails might experience deeper horizontal indentations or ridges. In some cases, they are the only ones that people push the cuticles back.

Another possible physical cause that can give a thumbnail ridges or beau’s lines is people bite on their thumbnails. they do this without noticing that they are doing it because they might be watching TV or thinking while they are working on their computers.

Beau’s lines treatment from physical pressure

To stop the beau’s lines is to stop the causes that cause your cuticles to dry out.

  1. Stop using harsh hand soaps for your sensitive skin
  2. Stop using hot water to wash your hands
  3. Protect your hands from extreme cold weather.

If you have a habit of pushing your cuticles back with your nails and have beau’s lines, you can prevent your nails from having these ridges by stop pushing your dry cuticles back altogether.

In one month, your nails should grow back flat and smooth. You can tell by looking at your new nail growth from the cuticles.

If the beau’s lines are indeed the result of your own doing, you should see an improved look on your nails.

Hopefully, you only need to do this to get rid of ridges on your fingernails.

Beau’s lines caused by vitamin deficiencies

If you stop pushing your cuticles and you do not see any improvement on your beau’s lines, you can take some over-the-counter multivitamins. Since no two people are the same, no one multivitamin brand will work for everybody. You need to find out which and what brand works on you effectively. Normally, the multivitamin brands all contain these vitamins that help promote nail growth:

  • Biotin
  • Magnesium
  • Iron
  • Zinc
  • Protein
  • Omega-3 fatty acids
  • Vitamin C

Follow the instruction and take them for a month. If your beau’s lines disappear or lessen, it is a sign that your body is lacking some necessary vitamins for your nails.

Beau’s lines caused by underlying health issues

If you follow the above two treatments and your beau’s lines do not get better after two months, then your beau’s lines are caused by some other issues that are beyond the scope of this article. You should consult with your medical experts.


Beau’s lines that are caused by physical interactions or lack of vitamins are not serious. All you need to do is to stop pushing dry cuticles back or supply your body with the vitamins that it needs. Most of these beau’s lines should be temporary and can be treated with the first two methods.

I hope your beau’s lines disappear with the very first one.

Top Photo by Stacey Gabrielle Koenitz Rozells from Pexels

Second photo by Oleg Magni from Pexels

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If you see ridges after you remove acrylics, this articleOpens in a new tab. explains how you got them.

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Articles having medical content shall serve exclusively for the purpose of general information. Such articles are not suitable for any (self-) diagnosis and treatment of individual illnesses and medical indications. In particular, they cannot substitute for the examination, advice, or treatment by a licensed physician or pharmacist. No replies to any individual questions shall be effected through the articles.

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