How Does a Fingernail Grow?

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Where the fingernail grows from

  • If you look at your fingernail you will see a half moon shape that is lighter in color than the rest of your fingernail. This is called the lunula or matrix and the point from which your fingernail grows. This fingernail root is partially covered by the fingernail cuticle and is produced from living cells within the finger.

Parts of the fingernail

  • The fingernail has many parts. The main part of the nail, which is the part we refer to as the fingernail, is actually called the nail plate. It is made of hardened protein and is similar to the hoof of an animal. Next, there is the nail bed, which is under the fingernail, the cuticle that protects infection from getting under and around the nails, and the nail folds on the side, which keep the nails in place.

How the fingernail grows

  • As the cells in the finger produce new keratin to form the fingernail, it gathers at the base of the nail plate and is eventually pushed up and out. At new fingernail materials is pushed out, old fingernail material is pushed past the end of the fingertip making the fingernails longer. This dead fingernail material can then be cut or groomed. For this reason, the only way to improve fingernail growth is to improve nutrition.

Fingernail growth rate

  • Fingernails tend to grow slowly and at the average rage of .01 mm a day. Of course, different people's fingernails grow faster or slower. Fingernails tend to grow faster than toenails, and fingernails on the dominant hand also grow faster probably because of greater circulation.

  • Photo Credit Image by A.Hermitt
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