Finger Nails

By on August 13, 2011

 Finger Nails

The nails are flattened, elastic structures which are relics of claws. They consist largely of compressed keratin, and are in fact greatly thickened areas of the epidermis. The keratin of the nails is derived from the stratum lucidum (meaning ‘the clear layer’), which lies just below the stratum corneum The keratin of the nails can absorb large amounts of water, particularly during a warm soak. This is why nails are softer, and much easier to cut, after a bath.

On average, fingernails grow by half a millimeter or so a week; toenails grow a little more slowly. Growth is said to be quicker in the summer than in winter, and is most rapid in the longer digits.

The white flecks that sometimes appear in the nails are due to minute air bubbles in their structure.

How to Care for Your Fingernails?

The easiest route to healthy nails is through a well-planned regimen of diet and grooming. Eat the correct foods and protect your hands from environmental stress for strong nails.


  1. Incorporate the recommended daily allowance of vitamin B, calcium and protein into your diet.
  2. Take a daily multivitamin to ensure that you are getting the proper amounts of other vitamins. (Image 1)
  3. Wear rubber gloves whenever you use cleaning products, wash dishes or work in your garden to protect your nails from chemicals and dirt.
  4. Moisturize nail beds regularly with a nondrying nail lotion. Rub the lotion over the entire nail bed at least once a day. (Image 2)
  5. Trim cuticles once each week. Soften cuticles with a specialized cuticle cream, then trim carefully with a cuticle clipper. (Image 3)
  6. Clip your nails regularly in a rounded or squared shape. The pointier the tip of your fingernail, the more likely it is to break off. (Image 4)
  7. Give your nails a break from polish as often as possible. The more time your nails spend in the nude, the less they will dry and chip.

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Avoid biting your nails. Biting is a surefire way to create unhealthy and unsightly nails.

If you develop ridges along the base of your nail bed, increase your intake of vitamin B.