There is much more to meet the eye where fingernails are concerned. Initially, they seem simple enough; just kind of sitting there on the ends of your fingers, making tapping noises when you drum them on things, scratching the occasional itch, but that only scratches the surface of what’s super cool about them. (:

healthy fingernailFingernails are made up of the same stuff as your hair; keratin. Remember, that keratin is a type of protein. What’s more, there is more to them than meets the eye. The construction of your entire nail is actually a little bit complex. First, there is the matrix, which is where it all starts. It is located under your skin below the part of the nail that you can actually see. The matrix is where all the blood vessels and lymph nodes come together towards the tip of your finger. The matrix is actually protected by the harder ‘plate’ of your nail that extends out to the end of your finger. The little white section at the very beginning of your nail called the moon or the lunula is actually the end of the matrix. This is one reason pressing on the moon of your nail is really painful. If you have an older sibling, I’m sure you’re familiar with the pain involved in being pinched on the half moon of the fingertip. Underneath your nail is your nail bed, which is basically two layers of skin, possessing all the same things that layers of skin possess. The nail bed is protected at the very tip of the finger by a very technical sounding layer of denser tissue called the hyponychium better known as the ‘quick’. The nail plate can continue to grow out past the quick and this becomes the part that you trim or bite or catch on things.  


Primates are the only creatures in the animal kingdom who have fingernails, all other animals have claws. Anthropologists believe the evolution from claws to fingernails came about when grasping smaller objects became an important part of survival.

Fingernails are seasonal, growing faster in the summer than in the winter. On average, men’s nails grow faster than women’s nails, with the average rate of growth being about 3 millimeters a month. Your fingernails tell a lot about your health and your stress levels; stress and poor nutrition the two biggest factors in poor nail density and strength. The quickest way to improve the condition of your nails is to eat a diverse and nutrient dense diet, with plenty of quality proteins and good fats and dark leafy greens. The same food that will give you shiny, healthy hair will help you have strong and beautiful nails; things like eggs, salmon, avocado, nuts and seeds.