What Are Fingernails Made Of?
If you don’t really bother to think much about your nails, like me, then perhaps you might be wondering how you get to grow them longer, avoid getting them chipped, or whether they’d look good when painted a pink or muted claret color. But, you might not have given a thought as to why you have nails. The truth is, our fingernails and toenails serve a number of purposes like:
- Supporting the tissues of our fingers and toes
- Protecting our fingertips and the tips of our toes from injuries
- helping us pick small objects
- helping us control things and,
- most importantly for scratching
What are fingernails made of? Nails are made from keratin, same as our hair.
Our nails are composed of numerous components of which some are visible and some are not. The nail plate is what we see when we look at our nails. The nail plate is tough, smooth, rectangular-shaped and somewhat convex.
When you need to seek professional help for a toenail problem go to dermatologists or podiatrists. They can usually give you the help you need with that. Visit a dermatologist if a fingernail problem is causing you trouble.
Although nails are transparent in color, they can turn pink courtesy of a network of blood vessels that can be found underneath them. This color can vary. When you get cold and your blood vessels are constricted, it can get pale.
The lunula is the white, half-moon area that can be seen at the bottom of the nail. Its pale color and shape can be attributed to the nail cells that are not fully mature. When these cells mature they turn transparent. The lunulas differ from each person (and even from finger to finger) and for some weird reason lunulas are most noticeable on the thumbs. If ever you suddenly notice that you don’t see your lunula as bright as it was before, there’s no need for you to be alarmed: lunulas fade away as we age.
Cuticles and nail beds
What is the cuticle?
To those who are curious, the cuticle is what we call the thin tissue that grows form the finger to cover the nail plate and create a rim around the bottom of the nail. The cuticles serve one purpose: to protect the nails from debris and microorganisms that can cause harm to the matrix and nail bed.
What is the Nail bed?
The nail bed is the tissue of the finger under the nail plate. The network of little blood vessels in the nail bed give nutrition needed by the nail. Although the nail bed does not give support to the nail, it does add to the nail’s growth.
The matrix, or what we commonly call the nail root, is that area that is hidden under the cuticle. Nail keratin is created in this area. The matrix is divided by nail cells that adds length to the nail plates in the process, and pushes it forward to the nail bed.