Fingernails take 3 to 6 months to regrow completely, while toenails require around 12 to 18 months to grow back fully.
Skin diseases such as psoriasis, eczema (dermatitis), lichen planus or lupus can affect the nails.
Fingernails and toenails are made of a tough protective protein called keratin. This protein is also found in the hooves and horns of different animals. Fingernails and toenails consist primary of the nail plate, the nail matrix and the nail bed below it, and the grooves surrounding it.
Healthy nails should be a pink color - with the healthy nail plate being pink, and the nail white as it grows off the nail bed. Fingernail color and condition changes are rarely the first clue of serious illness. In most instances, people will show other signs, or symptoms of disease, before nail changes become evident.
The cuticle (eponychium) of a nail is the thin layer of skin that covers the nail plate and nail root just before the nail emerges at the surface. The cuticle is not made up of cells but is a secretion of the epidermal cells.
The nail plate - also known as "Body of Nail" or "Corpus Unguis" - is the actual nail, and is made of a translucent keratin protein composed of amino acids.
The nail fold is the tissue that encloses the nail matrix at the root of the nail. The nail fold attaches the nail to the rest of the skin through the protective cuticle.
The nail matrix is the part where your nails begin to grow. The nail matrix creates new skin cells that push out old dead skin cells to form both finger and toenails.
A nail lunula, (Latin for little moon), is found at the fingernail bottom. The lunula is the visible part of the root of the nail and it looks like a curved white mark. The lunula is most noticeable on the thumb; however, not everyone's lunulae are visible. In some cases, the eponychium may partially or completely cover the lunula.
The nail bed is defined as; the vascular epidermis upon which most of the fingernail or toenail rests that has a longitudinally ridged surface often visible through the nail. Nail bed injuries can be painful and may prevent you from using your fingers - however, nail bed injuries are treatable.
The nail hyponychium is the area between the free edge of the nail plate and the skin of the fingertip. It also provides a waterproof barrier. The most common infection involves the end of the nail, when fungi invade the hyponychium.
The end of the nail that extends beyond the fingertip - also known as the Free Nail Angle or the distal nail plate. The free edge is the "dead" or painless part of the fingernail ot toenail.
The eponychium - or cuticle - is the thickened layer of skin surrounding fingernails and toenails. It can also be called the medial or proximal nail fold.
The paronychium is the soft tissue border around the nail, and paronychia is an infection in the paronychium area.
Major illness can cause a deep transverse groove to form across the nails. A change in fingernail color, thinning, thickening, brittleness, splitting, grooves, Mees' lines and nail ridges, small white spots, receded lunula, clubbing (convex), flatness, spooning (concave) can indicate illness in other areas of the body, nutrient deficiencies, drug reaction or poisoning, or merely local injury. Both Fingernails and toenails can also become thickened (onychogryposis), loosened (onycholysis), infected with fungus (onychomycosis) or degenerate (onychodystrophy)
Nails never stop growing and they must be cut from time to time, however, using nail trimming tools used by different people can transmit nail infections. Use standard hygiene and sanitation procedures to avoid this transmission, in some cases, gel and cream cuticle removers can be used instead of cuticle scissors.
See our Amazing Human Body article for more facts and trivia regarding finger and toenails.
To maintain healthy fingernails ask your doctor to take a look at them during your next checkup. Dermatologists are well-trained in deciphering between innocuous and serious nail conditions, as well as determining when a nail color or characteristic change requires further testing.
1 - Being a Clone of Itself May Make Toenail Fungus Vulnerable to New Treatments - The fungus that causes athlete's foot and other skin and toenail infections may have lost its ability to sexually reproduce as it adapted to grow on its human hosts | 2018/03/23
2 - Color of Fingernails and Toenails Health Indicator Chart - The nail color of fingernails and toenails can reveal certain serious health conditions for instance white nails may be indicative of kidney or liver disorders or anemia | 2015/10/11
3 - Prevalence of Bunions Increases with Age in Women - Bunion deformity was found in 36% of the study population and occurred more frequently in women and older individuals | 2011/02/23
4 - FDA Clearance of PinPointe FootLaser for Treatment of Nail Fungus - Treatment of nail infection is difficult because the infection is under and inside of the nail | 2010/10/26