10 Things to Know About Nails


10 Things to Know About Nails

Having a function that is both practical and aesthetic, as testified by the many manicure institutes, the nails, as well as the hands, are the object of attention. Yet, we do not know a lot about them… Here are ten facts about nails you more likely did not know:

1. What is a fingernail?

  • The nail is the hard and insensitive part of the finger or toe in primates and humans.
  • Mainly composed of keratin, similar to the hair, or the teeth, it is what is called a dander.
  • In animals, it is more represented by the claw or hoof.

2. What are they made of?

  • Nails are composed of several parts and materials. The matrix of the nail at the base produces the keratin that makes it up. It is covered by the cuticle, the tip of the skin at the base of the nail, and often reveals the lunula, the clear spot shaped half-moon located on the base of each nail.
  • Paronychium is the skin that covers the sides of the nail, hyponychium refers to the skin under the end of the nail.

3. Their growth is variable

  • Nails do not grow linearly. They grow more at night than during the day and grow faster on the hand that is used most that. They grow faster in pregnant women, and in men.
  • The nails of the same hand do not grow at the same pace: the nails of the thumbs grow more slowly than the others, unlike the middle ones which grow faster.
  • The more the nails are stimulated, whether it is voluntary (massage with moisturizing creams) or involuntary (typing on a computer keyboard all day long), the faster they grow.

4. They grow all the time

  • The nails of the hands and feet grow all their life. The nails of the hands grow faster than those of the feet: those of the hands grow 5 mm in one month whereas it will take on average 15 months for the nails of feet to reach this length.
  • The fingernails regenerate well every 3 to 6 months to completely reform. This allows renewing the “stock” of all those who gnaw at them…

5. Onychophagia

  • The term is little known but the practice is common: onychophagia is the act of biting your nails, usually those on the hands.
  • A disorder classified as Impulse Control Disorder in the DSM-IV, usually appears in childhood and continues into adulthood.
  • It is associated with a hygienist mania that underlines stress and underlying anxiety. The exercises of relaxation and meditation are particularly indicated.
  • The application of bitter polish, false nails, chewing gums, and sports are also more or less effective remedies depending on the degree of onychophagia.

6. They carry in them the stigmas of disease

Nails provide a reliable indicator of the health of the individual. Certain diseases can leave traces on the nails, these are called the lines of Beau which are parallel and horizontal lines due to an interruption of the synthesis of the keratin.

They are particularly manifested in cases of anorexia, anaemia, dysfunction of the thyroid gland, malnutrition, circulatory problems, diabetes, or are the result of the effect of certain drugs.

When the streaks are vertical, it is more of a normal process of nail ageing.

7. Their white traces are not related to a deficiency

Sometimes a white spot is visible on one or more nails.

Contrary to popular belief, these white spots do not reflect calcium deficiency but are often due to microtrauma that lets air under the nail.

Repeated manicures, the laying of the false nail, allergy to a manicure product (solvent, varnish) can accentuate the phenomenon.

8. Yellow stains are not only due to tobacco

Yellow spots, also known as xanthonychia, are most often related to excessive smoking. The total cessation of smoking leads to a progressive loss of the nail after regrowth.

They may also be due to the onset of diabetes or to certain treatments such as antibiotics or certain chemotherapy treatments.

9. The dermatologist to the rescue

In the case of nail problems, the question of which specialist to consult can arise.

The dermatologist is trained and empowered to cure nail diseases. They will carry out an interrogation and possibly examinations to establish a diagnosis (fungal infection, infection, psoriasis, etc.). They can prescribe you a suitable treatment, unlike the podiatrist, who is not a doctor and is more turned to foot care, their skin and nails such as horned feet, calluses, fungal infections, plantar warts, partridge eyes, and ingrown toenails.

10. The longest nails in the world are 2 meters long

A man entered the Guinness World Records with the longest nails on the planet. The man, from Indian named Shridhar Chillal, 52, stopped cutting his nails in 1962. Today, the nails of his left hand are more than 2 meters long.

On a daily basis, this prevented him from working and building a family life. After his death, he plans to donate his nails to a museum…

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