Nails are more than just the decoration of your fingertips! They play a crucial role in the human body, preventing the entry of infections and the development of several diseases.
However, we know very little about nails, and that’s because this area is still poorly understood. However, some interesting facts can share.
1. The nails are a complex structure
Nails, just like skin and hair, are part of the body’s covering system, which protects internal organs from damage and penetration of infections. Specialists divide them into 4 structural units: the nail matrix, the nail plate, the nail bed, and the cuticle (the skin around the nail).
The nails begin their growth from a small “pocket”, which is at the bottom of the nail bed. It is called the matrix. A pale crescent-shaped pit is its visible part. If the matrix is injured, the nails can’t grow normally. That’s why you shouldn’t gel nail polish under the cuticle.
Nail plates comprise keratin, a special protein. Directly underneath them is the nail bed. It never sees daylight, unless the nails are traumatized, or some disease develops. The skin at the base of the nail bed is called the cuticle. It can be “living” and “non-living”.
2. The growth rate depends on many factors
On average, nails increase in size by 3-4 millimeters per month. But they don’t always grow at the same rate. Researchers have found that during daylight hours and in summer, the nails grow faster, and in the dark and winter, they grow slower.
They think it’s because of the “sunshine” vitamin D. When your body gets enough of it, your nails grow faster.
3. Men have to cut their nails more often
And not only because they rarely grow their nails. They grow their nails faster than women do (and so does their hair).
And if we talk about general trends for both sexes, both men and women have the fastest- growing thumbnails and the slowest-growing little fingernails.
4. The visible part of the nail is the dead part
The part of the nail that we can see is the dead structure. The living cells of the nail plate are in the matrix, at the base of the nail bed. As the nail grows back, the new cells push the old cells outward. By the way, this is the reason it doesn’t hurt us at all to file or trim our nail plates.
5. White spots on the nails do not show a calcium deficiency
“Most often their occurrence is because of domestic trauma,” says dermatologist Nina Roos. – It’s not uncommon for such spots to appear on the nails of people who suffer from onychophagy (the habit of biting their nails). ” Fortunately, they’re harmless and go away without a trace as the nail plate grows back.
6. Many people bite their nails
It is still unclear why this happens. “The “ standby” explanation is that it happens most often when the person is upset or depressed, bored or, on the contrary, concentrated on something, or simply feels “out of place.
It is estimated that between 20 and 30% of the world’s population bites their nails regularly. However, we cannot call this habit harmless. Nail biting is fraught with gastrointestinal problems, and damage to the teeth and gums, not to mention the “aesthetics” of the result.
7. For the nails to grow well, they need blood
Under the nail bed are tiny blood vessels called capillaries. The blood flowing through them helps the nails grow and gives them a pinkish hue.
Researchers have noticed that a good diet rich in protein and vitamins helps nails grow faster.
8. The growth rate of nail plates is not the same
Whether a person is left- or right-handed, their nails grow faster on the dominant hand. Scientists link this to the fact that it is more active.
Another interesting fact is that people who play the piano also grow their nails faster. So do those who work at the keyboard. It’s all about the fact that such activities improve blood flow, which stimulates active nail growth.
9. Stress can stop nail growth
Any stressful situation slows down the growth of nail plates or can even temporarily stop it. When your nails grow again, they may show a horizontal streak – the “borderline” of the condition. It will go away without a trace when the time comes.
10. It is good for the nails to “breathe.”
For nails to be healthy, it is necessary to take breaks from wearing gel polish. This is the conclusion reached by researchers.
Wearing the coating negatively affects the processes of formation and growth of the nails, while a “vacation” is favorable to them.
11. The strength of the nails largely depends on genetics
Whether a person’s nails are as strong, thin, or long depends on a hereditary factor. However, a person’s age, health, and diet also play a role.
12. fingernails can provide information about diseases
Statistically, about 10 percent of all dermatological problems are related to the nails. And the color of the nail plates is crucial in making a diagnosis. For example, nails of yellow, brown or green hue show a fungal infection. Sometimes, yellowish nails can be a symptom of thyroid disease, psoriasis, or diabetes.