You may never notice your nails until your mom says to trim them off, or your friend says to have a mani. But, you will be surely interested in nails after knowing that fingernails are made of the same protein that forms hair and the outer part of your skin. Yes, nails are made of alpha keratin, a tough and protective layer of protein. This keratin protein is found in our hair and skin. Sounds unbelievable? Nature is mysterious like that. Diamond and Graphite, two completely different things are made of the same Carbon. So, nothing to wonder if nail, hair and the top layer of our skin are made of a similar thing.
What Are Nails Made of?
The anatomy of the nails isn’t as complex as other body parts. Since this is not a biology lecture class, I am going to discuss a simplified anatomy of nails for your better understanding. The basic components of nails are free edges, nail plate, nail folds, nail bed, cuticle, lunula etc.
- Free edge is the extended part of the nails that grow past the nail bed.
- The nail plate is the outer layer of the nails that we can see.
- The skin that surrounds the nail plate is nail fold.
- The skin that underlies the nail plates is nail bed.
- The cuticle is the tissue at the base of the nails that hold the nail plates.
- Lunula is the visible part of the matrix which resembles a half-moon at the bottom edge of the nails.
- Matrix is the invisible part of the nails which is responsible for producing nails.
How Do Nails Grow?
It may seem like fingernails and toenails grow from the cuticle in naked eyes. But, there is a hidden biology behind the whole process.
Nails have their origin underlying in the nail root. This is the matrix that has nerves, blood vessels, lymph and other required organic compounds to create the nails.
The mechanism of the nail formation is quite simple. Old cells are altered with new cells. When new cells grow at the root of the nails, they push out the old cells. The new cells get hardened because of the keratin. The newly formed nail becomes visible to us as nail plates. As there are blood vessels beneath the nail beds, the nail plates take the lite pink color. Fingernails don’t grow fast. The rate is approximately 2.5 millimeters per month on average.
Infographic on ‘What Are Nails Made of?’
It is not a must to know what are nails made of, but if you are curious about something we will let you know that. Because there is no better teacher than curiosity. As you know the basic things about the nails now, hope it will help you take the best care of your nails.