Nail pitting - a disorder in the fingernail

Nail pits - fingernail disorders

Nail pitting


What is nail pitting?

Nail pits are small, round depressions on the surface of the nail plate. They are usually due to disease in the proximal matrix, or sometimes, the proximal nail fold. And the arrangement of the depressions in the surface of the nail is presumably due to the extent and location of the disease in the nail matrix.

Random pits in the nail can be seen as an idiopatic finding. When the pitting is uniformly distributed, giving the entire nail plate a roughned appearance, it is called trachyonychia.

Treatment of nail pits should be directed to the matrix of the nail.

What causes nail pitting?

Nail pits are usually the result of:

• psoriasis (10-50% of patients have nail pits);
• alopecia areata;
• eczema;
• Reiter’s syndrome;
• incontinentia pigmenti;
• in children nail pitting can be a normal condition of the nail (not caused by a disease).

Nail pitting – a disorder in the nail

PHOTO – Nail piting in fingernails:

Nail pitting in the ring finger nail

Common diseases in the fingernail & toe nail!
News about fingernails!
Fingernails are the barometer of your health!


Beau line - a disorder in the fingernail

Beau's lines - fingernail disorders

Beau lines


What are Beau lines?

Beau’s lines are horizontal grooves in the nail plate that represent an arrest or slow-down in the growth of the fingernail (more specific: the nail matrix).

The depth and width of the Beau line reveals the abruptness and duration of the causal event, and Beau lines move distally with the growth of the nail plate.

This finger nail condition was named by a French physician, Joseph Honoré Simon Beau (1806–1865), who first described the condition in 1846.

What causes Beau lines?

Beau’s lines are usually caused by:

• a sever medical event;
• allergic reaction to medication;
• infection in the nail fold;
• skin disease;
• systemic disease;
• or a serious trauma.

Beau line – a fingernail disorder

PHOTO: Beau lines in various fingernails:

Beau lines in various fingernails

Fingernail disorders in the hands of children!
Fingernail disorders in elderly patients!
Michael Jackson had abnormal fingernails!

The nail plate is the actual 'body of the nail'.

The nail plate – or ‘body of the nail’ – is a protective shield, shielding the delicate tissues of the underlying Nail Bed!

The overall growth speed of the nail plate is approximately 3mm in a month – though this speed varies from person to person. And growth speed also varies with lot’s of (im)personal circumstances such as: age, health, food intake, climate, seasons. So, it may take up to 6 months to grow a full nail plate, which implicates that the fingernail can mirror diseases of the nail back to 6 months!

Substances included in the nail plate are:
• Translucent keratin;
• Water (10-30%);
• Calcium (0.1%).

A technical description of the ‘nail plate’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:

“The nail plate is the smooth translucent structure that is the end-product of the keratinocyte differentiation in the nail matrix. It derives its normal color appearance from the underlying structures: pink from the vascular nail bed and white from the lunula and from air under the free edge of the nail.”

“The bulk of the nail plate comes from the nail matrix, and damage with scarring to the matrix can result in a permanent nail plate dystrophy, like a split or ridge. The surface of the nail plate is normally smooth and may develop longitudinal ridges as part of the aging process. Nail hardness is due to the disulfide bonds found in the keratin in the nail plate.”

The natural color of the nail plate is pink - a sign for having health fingernails.


This blog will include a daily news report about how your fingernails relate to your health! The content will relate to a mix of news, research and basic knowledge about nails. And for sure the focuss will be to bring the most interesting & innovating news about the human fingernail!

Over the past years I have collected a growing database of facts about the human nail – and there is a continue stream of fingernail reports on the internet around the world. Now the time has arrived to present this database about fingernails to the world!

This blog will likely be updated on a daily basis. Often the content will be related to specific aspects of the human nail – such as: the nail plate or the surrounding nails folds. But sometimes the report will be focussed on an aspect of the fingernail that relates to how we use our fingernails in daily life!

I hope you will enjoy this “fingernail-trip” focussed on the many fascinating aspects of your finger nails.

Martijn van Mensvoort, MSc.