20 Fascinating And Interesting Facts About Nails

Nails. You grow ‘em, you paint ‘em, they sparkle. Oh, and they sometimes break. Not cool. But how much do you really know about them? In this article, Beauty and Tips takes a look at 20 interesting facts about nails. Aside from painting your nails while you talk to your boyfriend over the phone, before asking what he thinks about your new look (to which he says your nails look great before he’s even seen them), how often do you really think about them? Perhaps when you get a manicure or when a nail breaks (and why is it always your favourite nail? Oh, does no one else have a favourite nail?). Oh, and you definitely think about your nails whenever you stub a toe. OUCH.

To all intents, purposes and appearances (except when you paint your nails in the colours of the American flag), nails looks super simple. They’re made of protein, they grow and that’s pretty much it. However, they’re much more complex things than we think. Wanna know how complex? Let’s take a look.

Here Is Why We Have Nails

It’s a question that people ask a lot: “Mommy, why do we have nails?”

“Um. Um. Now, now, Janey. There are some mysteries that God never intended us to know.”

It seems that people are always stumped when trying to answer why we even have nails in the first place! Is it for beauty purposes? Or do nails serve a functional purpose? If so, what? As it turns out, nails do serve a functional purpose. They’re designed to protect out delicate finger and toe tips from damage. Because – as you surely know – the tissue there is really sensitive. When you bash a fingertip, you really feel it!

What Do White Spots Mean?

Occasionally, you might notice white spots on your nails. This can be pretty scary, because aren’t white spots not meant to be there? What are they doing there!? Somewhere along the line, a rumour picked up momentum that white spots on nails indicate a calcium deficiency. True, so many American adults are calcium deficient. But white spot on nails is not an indicator. In fact, white spots on nails are totally harmless. If they indicate anything, it’s probably that you bashed your nail recently without realising, and this is the resulting trauma. Simple explanation for something admittedly odd.

Nails And Hair Made From The Same Stuff

“You’re lying, my nails and hair look nothing like each other.”

True, they don’t. But they’re still made from the same stuff. It’s a protein called keratin. The only difference is that it’s put together differently. And that’s it! This means that the same foods that build stronger nails also build stronger hair. If you want both, you should aim for a diet that’s rich in fruit, veg and lots of protein.

Nails Are Made Up Of Many Different Parts

Thought a nail was just a nail and nothing else? Think again. Nails are actually made up of different elements. The part you refer to as your nail is called the nail plate. But this isn’t even the main part of the nail. The main parts are the Proximal nail fold, the lunula, the cuticle and the nail bed. There is also the nail matrix, the hyponychium and the distal phalanx. Confused? So are we. In fact, we need a manicure…

Your Nails Need Water

Water is essential if you’re to stay hydrated. And, yes, your nails can get dehydrated, too! If they do, they’ll become annoyingly brittle.

Nails Can Indicate Health Problems

Look at Beauty and Tips getting all sensationalist here!

Okay, we admit that this is a grim sub-header. But what we’re referring to are Terry’s Nails. This was named for Dr. Richard Terry? So, Terry’s Nails are characterised by a whitened appearance without any of the usual pinkness. They look totally weird and, thanks to the shape of your nails, kind moon-like. Strange. As you know, our nails shouldn’t look totally white. They’ve always got a lovely, healthy pink hue. So when Terry’s Nails do develop, it’s usually a major warning sign that something is wrong with your health. It could mean that you’re vitamin deficient, but it could also mean that you have liver or kidney disease. And that’s scary. And no matter how much you paint over your nails with rainbows and unicorns, you can’t paint away disease. Um. MOVING ON.

Don’t Cut Your Nails After Dark

According to superstition, you must never cut your nails after dark. Apparently, it’s really bad luck. No one can say for sure what will happen to you, but it’s probably going to be something really bad, like a disastrous first date. We’re kinda nervous because we clipped ours during GOT last night…But it’s best not to believe in superstitions, because a superstition is a form of fear.

Women’s Nails Don’t Grow As Fast As Men’s Nails

This one is totally unfair. Most men don’t even care for long nails! They’re always biting them down as soon as they start to grow, before spitting the nail onto the floor. Gross. Whereas women have to wait what seems like an eternity for our nails to grow. There seems to be no good reason for why men’s nails grow at a faster rate than women’s. But there is possibly one time when women’s nails grow quicker, and this is during pregnancy. Apart from that, if you do want to have longer nails, you’re just going to have to wait a while.

All Thumb Nails Grow Pretty Slowly

While men’s nails grow faster than women’s (so annoying) all thumb nails grow pretty slowly. In fact, the thumb nail grows slower than all your other nails. Which nail grows the fastest? Your middle. It’s interesting that our nails grow at different speeds. It’s as though they’re in a race!

We’re gonna bet on the thumb nail winning the next one. Why? Because we love an under dog! Go Team! As a collective, your fingernails grow quicker than your toenails, regardless of gender.

Summer Is The Best Time For Nails

Just like us at Beauty and Tips, nails hate the winter. It’s cold, wet and it stops them from growing much. The summer time, however? Nails absolutely love it! They’re coming out! They’re gonna get beach ready! Summer is the time when nails thrive. In the winter, they grow much slower.

Cut Your Nails And They’ll Grow Faster

Want your nails to grow faster? Cut them often!

Do Nails Sweat?

It’s a funny question, isn’t it? But look: Your whole body sweats. You go to the gym, do a work out, and you’re literally drenched in sweat. Your forehead is soaking wet, as are your armpits, your butt and your thighs. But what about your nails? They’re not sweating! Weird, huh? But yup, your nails are the only part of your body that doesn’t sweat. You can work out as much as you want and scream “sweat, darn you!” at your nails, but they won’t do it! Why? We’re unfortunately not sure. Because they’re too girly to sweat??

And Yet, Nails Breathe …

Nails don’t sweat – but they breathe. It’s one of the paradoxes of the Universe. It’s as mysterious as why two sister particles in totally different parts of the world seem to know exactly what their sibling is doing (Google the concept of particles spinning – so weird). But if a nail breathes, how come it doesn’t sweat? We’re not sure. But what we do know is that, since your nails breathe, you need to be very careful when it comes to applying paint. Apply too much and you’re effectively killing your nails! The more paint you apply, the more your poor lil nail will suffocate and weaken.

Fingernails Are Mostly Exclusive To Primates

Ever wondered what distinguishes a primate from a mammal? Okay, okay. There are lots of things. But the most glaringly obvious distinguishing feature a primate has that a mammal doesn’t is a fingernail. Mammals be SO jealous.

According to LiveScience:

Scientists suspect primates sort of lost their claws and fashioned broad fingertips topped with nails to aid in locomotion. While claws would have provided excellent grip as our mammalian ancestors clambered up large tree trunks, they would have been a nuisance for larger-bodied primates trying to grasp smaller branches while scrambling across tree canopies for fruits. Rather, primates developed broader fingertips made for grasping.

Stress Can Damage Your Nails

What do you do when stressed or anxious? You probably bite your nails. Think back to a time when you were watching a tense game of sports, or a really scary movie.You bit your nails because you couldn’t take the tension anymore, didn’t you? It’s why we call these experiences “nail-biting experiences.” Perhaps you bite your nails while you wait for a really important phone call, too. Hey, many of us do. But nail biting during moments of stress can really damage your nail. How? For a start, it inhibits nail growth. If you want your nails to grow, biting them during stressful moments just isn’t going to help. It’s much better that you find ways to manage your stress and calm down. Take breaks and walks. Eat a better diet. Exercise and sleep more.

Do Your Nails Keep Growing After You Die?

There seems to be a lot of misinformation regarding what happens to our bodies after we die. Some think our souls live on in another world, while others think that when we die, that’s it – it’s all over. Some cultures believe in zombies, which is the belief that we return as a reanimated version of ourselves to scare people.

One of the quirkiest myths is that our nails keep on growing after we die. Is this really true? Not at all! Perhaps it was perpetuated because of the way our skin retracts after death, which makes our nails look longer than they really are.

Why Do Some People Hate The Sound Of Nails Scratching A Chalkboard?

We all know someone who can’t stand the sound of nails on a chalkboard. Maybe you can’t stand it! It’s a horrible noise that goes right through us. But why? Why, when we’re asked to pick the most unpleasant noises, does this one always pop up? According to science, it might be because the sound breaks a frequency that our ear canals amplify. However, since some people absolutely cringe at even the thought f the noise while others don’t mind it, the reason is probably psychological.

How Hard Your Nails Are Is Genetic

Ever wondered why your nails seem to be so hard, while your friends’ nails are a bit softer? Apparently it’s down to genetics. Yep, not much can be done about their size, shape and sturdiness, because it’s all down to your DNA. You can do the right things to prevent easy breakage, such as eat the right foods and keep them nice and clean, however.

Lack Of Sleep Inhibits Nail Growth

We’ve already talked about the adverse effect that stress can have on your nails. But did you know that a lack of sleep can also inhibit nail growth? Sleep is so important. It’s during a good night’s sleep when our body gets the chance to heal wounds and repair tissue. Sleep is also important for transporting nutrients and energy to areas of your body – including your nails. Yep, without enough sleep, your nails won’t be getting enough nutrients and energy, which can slow down the speed at which they grow.

Cuticles Are Important

Hands in the air those of you who are forever picking at your cuticles? Guilty as charged! Lots of us trim our cuticles back. For many, picking at them is a bad habit that we can’t seem to shake off. But did you know that cuticles – far from being totally pointless – actually play a crucial role in maintaining nail health? Sure enough, cuticles are responsible for moisturising your nails and keeping bacteria out. So treat them well!

Do you want to share other interesting facts about nails?

Stay beautiful!

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