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Picture of Fingernail Anatomy

Fingernail Anatomy Illustration

Fingernails grow on the tips of the fingers and they arise from skin cells in a part of the nail called the matrix. Fingernails consist of several parts including the nail bed, nail plate, cuticle, nail folds, lunula, and the matrix. The nail plate is the hard nail itself. The nail bed is the skin under the nail. Cuticles are the tissues along the sides and the base of nails. Skin folds anchor the nails to the fingers. The lunula is the visible half-moon at the base of the nail. The matrix is the tissue from which the nails grow. It lies under the cuticle. Nails are comprised of a hard protein called keratin, which is also a component of hair and skin.

Fingernails grow approximately 1 centimeter every 100 days. Age, sex, and even the season affect nail growth rate. Nails typically grow faster in those who are young and in males. Nails grow the fastest in the summer and on the dominant hand.

Image Source: MedicineNet, Inc.

Text Reference: Clinics in Dermatology, vol. 31, 2013: "Nail Anatomy"