• Question: If the end of your finger nail is dead why does it still grow? @Hannah

    Asked by ethanrich to Hannah on 26 Jun 2013.
    • Photo: Hannah Brotherton

      Hannah Brotherton answered on 26 Jun 2013:

      Hi ethanrich,
      Nails are made of keratin. This is the same substance your hair and top layer of your skin is made of – dead cells. But these are important, because they protect us from harm or bacteria. Fingernails protect us hurting the most sensitive nerves in our fingers. If we didn’t have them I probably wouldn’t have been able to type, wash my face, pen a door, do my hair, eat ….:S
      You had fingernails and toenails before you were even born. Its the earliest defense mechanism we have πŸ˜€

      So why do they keep growing? It like our hair …..they start at a root hidden under the cuticle.

      When cells at the root of the nail grow, the new nail cells push out the old nail cells. These old cells flatten and harden and make the nails we see on our hands.

      Your fingernails grow slowly β€”they grow about one tenth of an inch (2.5 millimeters) each month. At that rate it can take about 3 to 6 months to completely replace a nail.

      I actually cut my toenail once and I couldn’t walk for month. For a couple of months after, when the nail was healing, I had to wear UGGs to work πŸ˜€ At least that’s a bonus πŸ˜€

      So I am very happy our fingernails grow, because if they didn’t my toes would be so sensitive that I wouldn’t be able to walk