January 24, 2011

Health Tip of the Week: Facts about Our Nails

There are many interesting facts that are related to nails. Some of these facts are pure superstition but most of them are scientific. So, here are some interesting facts about nails:

  • Nails are actually the same as hair. Both hair and nails are made of the same protein, called keratin.
  • The nail plates are dead cells and contrary to the popular belief, they don't breathe. So they don't require oxygen. However, the nail beds and the cuticles are live cells and they do need oxygen, vitamins and minerals.
  • Nails don't sweat. The nail bed does not have sweat glands, so it can't perspire. It is the skin around the nails that gets sweaty.
  • Nails grow at the rate of 0.1 mm daily (or 1 cm in every 100 days). So, for a finger nail to regrow completely, it takes between 4 and 6 months. For toe nails, the period of complete regrow is 12 to 18 months.
  • Men's nails grow faster than women's nails.
  • Finger nails for both genders grow faster than toe nails.
  • Toe nails are about twice thicker than finger nails.
  • The fastest growing nail is on the middle finger. The slowest – on the thumbnail.
  • When nails are freshly cut, they grow faster than nails that are not cut often. That is why it takes so much time to grow nails longer than an inch (breaking nails is excluded).
  • Seasons and weather also affect nail growth. Nails grow faster in warm climates and during daytime, than in cold climates and at night.
  • Nails grow faster on young people than on old people. Also nails grow much faster during pregnancy.
  • Nails grow at different speeds on both hands. If you are right-handed, the nails on your right hand will grow faster than the nails on your left hand and vice versa.
  • Light trauma, like typing on a computer stimulates nail growth.
  • It is a myth that hair and nails will continue to grow for several days after death. This is an optical illusion and is due to the fact that the skin shrinks, thus making it look as if the hair and nails are growing.
  • Not drinking enough water leads to dry nails as well.

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