The approximate weight of a nail is 1 gram.
So, what could a 1g fingernail do to our body? Let us tell you – they aren’t there to serve only decoration purposes.
Indeed, our precious cuticles are usually taken lightly, as we don’t pay them much attention. However, there are more than what you assume.
In today’s post, we’ll reveal 7 surprising facts about this small but mighty body part and get it the recognition it deserves.
7 Interesting Facts About Human Nails
Nails possess 4 primary parts
Like skin and hair, nails are members of our integumentary structure, which serves as the first shield against any harm and injury. 4 fundamental elements of nails (including the cuticle) are:
- The matrices
- The nail plates.
- The nail beds
- The skin surrounding the nails.
Nails’ cells constantly develop from the matrix, a small region at the base of your nail bed. The noticeable section of the matrix is the whitish, crescent-shaped area called the lunula.
The nail will not function properly if this part is damaged (a wounded lunula might lead to a broken nail), and abnormalities in the lunula’s look could also be indications of medical problems (we’ll cover this one later on).
Nail plates and nail bed
Keratin is a compound found within nail tissues (similar to hairs). When these keratin layers move outward of the matrix, they harden, flatten, and consolidate, finally producing the nail plates, the firm base of the nails.
Underneath that lies the nail bed, which you seldom see unless there’s an injury or sickness.
The cuticles, the tissue that connects the nails and the matrix, are likely to delaminate from the nail. The hyponychium is the area right beneath the distal base of the nails.
If you’ve previously clipped your fingernails overly short, you knew this area could be somewhat more susceptible than the remaining fingertip.
Fingernails generally develop at a rate of 3.5 mm each month, but they’ll stop after you die
This equates to 3 – 4 mm monthly. However, they don’t necessarily develop at the exact rate: fingernails develop faster throughout the daytime and summertime.
A potential explanation for this phenomenon might be linked to the introduction to daylight, which produces more vitamin D, a helpful compound for bones and nails. In addition, tapping using your fingertips also promotes the nails’ development.
Fingernails on the big fingers develop quicker too, and males’ nails develop quicker than females’. However, owing to hormonal changes, females’ nails develop quicker throughout pregnancy.
The growth speed of nails on different fingers also differs.
Indeed, your dominant hand’s nails develop quicker while the little fingers’ nail is the slowest growing of all. In contrast, your middle-fingers’ nail develops more quickly than the rest of the fingers.
When you break a fingernail because of injuries, it might require up to half a year to regrow, reported by the American Academy of Dermatology. Meanwhile, it might occupy up to one and a half years for a toenail to regenerate completely.
Moreover, as we become older, our fingernail development begins to get slower and finally comes to an end when we die.
Yes, you might have heard before that your nails continue to grow even when you die. However, according to the professional publication BMJ, they do not.
When you die, the area at the foot of your nails pulls back as your system is no more sending blood into the cells. This retraction creates a visual effect that causes the nails to look like they have grown out.
20-30% of people bite their nails, estimated
Onychophagia, or nail-biting, is a popular habit in both kids and grownups that might be caused by excessive stress or anxiety. Surprisingly enough, quite many people suffer from this habit.
According to international studies, 20-30% of people engage in nail-biting, and the young tend to account for larger proportions. Moreover, boys nibble their fingernails more commonly than girls, compared between genders.
Specialists claim it’s unsure why exactly, but they believe nail-biters do it when they’re uncomfortable, upset, focused, or perhaps bitting simply seems reassuring (anxiety doesn’t appear to affect Onychophagia that much).
Perfectionists who dislike being inactive are also more prone to develop this behavior.
Nibbling fingernails does not usually develop before you reach 4 years old, although several cases appear to occur from 4 to 6 years old.
In other words, your nail-nibbling behavior might have started as a youngster. Unfortunately, it’s a behavior that most kids carry with them into adulthood. You might not take this action seriously, but experts warn that prolonged nail-biting can lead to major problems.
Those who experience Onychophagia risk themselves to the nasty gunk that develops beneath their nails: the hyponychium promotes germs, particularly E. coli, and swallowing it (while biting your fingernails) can result in digestive issues later on.
This behavior could also cause tooth and jawbone problems.
Your nails are a form of flat claws
Your nails distinguish primates from mammals. Back in the primitive days, our primate predecessors possessed curved claws, which also comprised keratin.
Evolutionary scholars suggest that these claws caused a problem when early humans first started employing tools 2.5 million years ago (or perhaps before).
Human fingertips might have enlarged to grasp and use primitive tools, leading claws to develop into fingernails, a flatter form of claws.
Nails’ appearance can tell a lot about your health
Do you know that your nails might provide information about your physical wellbeing?
A pale tone here, a pinkish hue there, or any ripple or lumps here and there might be signs of sickness inside your system.
Indeed, issues with your liver, respiratory system, or cardiac health might appear themselves on your nails.
- Nail clubbing defined as an over-the-curvature of your nail plate and hardening of the tissue surrounding the cuticles is a warning indication of an accompanying condition regarding the respiratory or cardiovascular disorder, hepatic infections, or inflammatory bowel ailments.
- 2-toned fingernails (white hints from the cuticles to the middle of the fingernail and pinkish, brownish, or orangey in the distal portion) could indicate renal or hepatic problems. Healthy fingernails, which are only ⅔ to ⅓ white, might be a liver illness symptom.
- A fungal disease is among the most prevalent explanations for yellowish nails. Additionally, your nail bed might shrink as the condition intensifies, and the fingernails might harden and flake apart.
- Yellowish fingernails may also suggest a much more threatening issue in some situations, including chronic thyroid diseases, respiratory illness, diabetes, or psoriasis.
- Pale fingernails could indicate a severe disorder, like anemia, severe cardiac malfunction, hepatic disorder, or malnutrition.
- If your fingernails are predominately white plus darker borders, it might be a sign of hepatic diseases, including cirrhosis. The fingers in this picture are also discolored, which is a further indicator of liver failure.
- Blue-tinged fingernails might indicate that your system isn’t acquiring enough oxygenation. This might be a sign of a respiratory condition, including mesothelioma. Moreover, some cardiac conditions are connected with blue fingernails.
However, small whitish streaks on your fingernails, referred to as milk blotches (or punctate leukonychia), are only the result of injuries on your fingernail, from smashing it in a window to biting on it too hard.
Common skin conditions can also happen to nails
According to Rieder, psoriasis is “usually considered as a dermal condition, but is in fact a skin, joint, and nail medical problem, and once severe, a sign of heart condition concerns.”
Psoriatic nails might feature orangey blotches labeled oil marks, reddish streaks referred to as splinter hemorrhages, cuticle flaking, or holes that “appear similar to a paperclip was constantly and recklessly shoved onto the nails,” he adds.
In the old days, dermatologists frequently recommend an ointment or injectable corticosteroids to address psoriatic nails. However, laser therapy is a modern and possibly less expensive option nowadays.
In ancient Egypt, the nail describes a women’s status symbol
Polishing and different methods of nail decoration possess a historical record of providing societal and visual indicators via differences in nail coloring, appearance, and length.
In fact, elegant and beautiful manicures “function as a surrogate for high prestige” in a few societies, he says.
Males and females of the Ming Dynasty elite in China kept their fingernails long and decorated them using golden nail covers or vivid handmade paints 5000 years ago.
Long fingernails, according to folklore, declared their high status and liberation from any labor to the rest of the society.
Table of Contents
- 7 Interesting Facts About Human Nails
- Nails possess 4 primary parts
- Fingernails generally develop at a rate of 3.5 mm each month, but they’ll stop after you die
- 20-30% of people bite their nails, estimated
- Your nails are a form of flat claws
- Nails’ appearance can tell a lot about your health
- Common skin conditions can also happen to nails
- In ancient Egypt, the nail describes a women’s status symbol
Leave a Reply