Hair, Skin & Nails 4 MIN READ 101 VIEWS May 23, 2022

Interesting Facts About Nails You Need to Know

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Facts to Know About Nails

While some prefer to polish and flaunt their nails, others like to keep them rather simple and natural. But either way, our nails play their key role in keeping our fingertips safe. An interesting thing about nail health is that it is a telltale sign of overall well being. Read through to know some interesting facts about nails.

Facts to Know About Nails

Listed below are 9 interesting facts about nails, you might not have known before:

  1. Nails Belong to the Integumentary System

We keep hearing about the digestive system, respiratory system, reproductive system, etc. but do you know anything about the Integumentary system? The role of the Integumentary system is to safeguard the body from any damage or infection. The skin, hair, and nails together form the body’s Integumentary system. 

  1. Nails are Made Up of Four Parts

Another rather uncommon thing about nails is their makeup. Nails are made up of four different parts – the matrix, the nail plate, the nail bed, and the cuticle. The root of the nail is called the matrix. The pale, crescent-shaped portion, called the lunula, is the visible part of the matrix. Any injury to the lunula impairs nail growth. Also, any change in the lunula is indicative of an underlying health condition.

Nails are made up of a protein called keratin. The keratin cells in the matrix are compressed together to become hard and flat, forming the nail plate. Underneath the nail plate is the nail bed which has the sensory nerve endings and tiny blood vessels that give nails their typical pinkish colour.

The cuticle is the semi-circular skin around the nail and is positioned just above the matrix portion. Cuticles play a crucial role in maintaining nail health as they moisturise the nails and keep environmental infections out. 

  1. Nails are Dead but They Still Grow

Nails grow under the skin. But as new cells develop, they push the old cells out. These old cells that are pushed out through the skin become the visible portion of the nail but they are dead. The illusion that they are growing is because they are being pushed out regularly. The fingernails grow about 3.5 mm each month, while the toenails grow at the speed of 1.5 mm each month. Also, the middle fingernail grows the fastest; the thumbnail grows at the slowest pace.

  1. Nails Need Time Off from Regular Polishing and Nail Art 

To let your nails remain healthy and grow well, they require an occasional break from nail polish application or having artificial nails attached. Using these products regularly, without any breaks can harm the nails.

  1. Onychophagia is a Common Problem

An uncommon fact about nails is Onychophagia, the habit of biting nails. An estimated 30% of the people are nail biters. Although the exact reason why people bite their nails is not known, getting bored, being frustrated, and trying to concentrate is among the top ones. Another interesting thing about nails is that feeling anxious and nail-biting is believed to be closely associated but this isn’t really the case.

  1. Good Diet is Important but Not Enough 

Good nutritional intake and overall well-being is the most important factor in nail growth. But other things also affect nail growth. One of the interesting things about nails is that the nails of your dominant hand grow faster. 

Also, nails grow faster in the summer season than in winter. Understandably, good nail care is an important aspect of nail health. Another amazing fact about nails is that typing and tapping with nails can further stimulate nail growth. 

  1. Your Nail Texture is Genetic

Whether your nails are thick and hard or thin and fragile will depend upon your genes. But ageing and the onset of medical conditions gradually begin to alter the texture of your nails.

  1. Nail Colour Provides Clear Health Insights

The nails are typically pinkish, thanks to the countless capillaries that provide blood to the nail bed. But a change in nail colour can be a telltale sign of an underlying medical condition. 

  • Yellowish-brown or green nails indicate a fungal infection
  • Yellow nails indicate under or overactive thyroid, psoriasis, or diabetes
  • Over-curving of the nail plate with thickened cuticles indicates lung or heart disease, liver ailment, or inflammatory bowel disease. 
  • Two-toned nails that are whitish at the base and turning pink, brown, or red from the middle indicate kidney and liver disease. 
  • Nails that are majorly white with only a small part that appears normal are an indicator of liver disease. 
  • Nails with white spots indicate a certain kind of trauma to the nails.
  1. Nails Do Not Grow After We Die

A common myth about nails is that they continue to grow even when a person is dead. However, this is not true. Nails require nutrition, blood supply, and oxygen to grow. Once these elements aren’t available, the growth stops automatically. But there’s a reason behind the myth. After death, the skin begins to retract. This gives the illusion that the nails are growing.


The colour or condition of nail paint you apply or the shape you choose to trim them in define your personality traits. But how well they grow and how strong they are will indicate your inner wellbeing. Nails, though made up of dead cells, can be indicative of your mental and physical health. So, don’t ignore these facts about nails and take good care of your nutrition and hygiene. Consult a doctor if you begin to see changes in your nails. You Should avoid Nail biting also because it is harmful and symptoms of onychophagia.

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