Nailed It: 10 Need-To-Know Facts About Nail Health

nailsPhoto: Shutterstock

In the course of a day, our nails tend to go through a lot, more so than our other body parts. Our nails are exposed when we do typical things like type on keyboards, open doors, shaking other people’s hands, digging through our purse, or washing dishes. Add the maintenance of a manicure to this list, and you can assure that our nails go through a lot.

The great thing about our nails is that besides being able to flash cute nail art, nails can tell us a lot about our overall health.  If you are looking to get a better understanding of your nails and how they affect the body, read on for 10 facts about your nails that you should definitely take into consideration.

All images from Shutterstock.

1. Hair and nails are made up of the same thing.


Nails and hair are both made up of keratin, just put together in different ways. This means the same foods that are good for your hair are also good for your nails. Keratin is a protein, which means that a diet that includes antioxidant fruits, veggies, other proteins, and healthy oils and fats (like olive oil and avocado) are needed to keep nails moisturized and strong.

2. Men’s nails grow faster than women’s.


The exception to this, however, is when a woman becomes pregnant.

3. Cuticles are crucial to nails.


They help seal in moisture while keeping germs and bacteria out of the body. This is why it is important to never pick at or cut your cuticles. They should always be handled professionally by a manicurist.

4. Genetics determine the longevity of nails.


Whether you have thick nails or thin nails that easily break and split, the type of nails you have are passed down through your parents.

5. Your nails don’t need oxygen.



You’ve probably heard that nails need a break between manicures or that nails need oxygen to survive.  The nail plates (hard part of the nail) are dead cells and don’t require oxygen. What needs oxygen is your cuticles and nail beds (the skin underneath your nail).

6. The weather can determine nail growth.


Nails tend to grow quicker in the summer, slowing down the speed of growth during colder, winter weather.

7. Nails tell you about your health.


If you ever see any discoloration in your nails this could be an indication of a health problem. For example, blueish colored nails indicate that your body isn’t getting enough oxygen while pale nails can be a sign of anemia.

8. Nail biting is called onychophagia.


 Yes that annoying habit has a name. It tends to be a result from stress or nervousness but has long-term affects to the health of your nails and could lead to skin infections and aggravating nail bed conditions.

9. Trimming nails is necessary.


When nails get too long, it becomes a playground for dirt and bacteria. When this starts to build up for an extended amount of time, it can become very harmful and unsanitary. Try to trim your nails regularly to avoid any bacterial issues.

10. Your nails grow about 3.5 millimeters a month.


That’s just more than a tenth of an inch. However, nails on your dominant hand tends to grow a bit faster. If you were to lose a fingernail, it would take about 3-5 months for a fingernail to grow back completely.

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