How Do Nails Grow

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Everyone knows where fingernails come from – the fingers. However, where do fingernails grow from? To answer this question, you need to take a look at the anatomy of a human hand. If you cut away the skin and only look at the muscles and bones, you will find that there are several pieces of bone around where your fingernails grow from. They are called phalanges . There are three phalanges in each finger next to where your fingernail grows from. In fact, those three short pieces of bone contain your nail-forming matrix .

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The actual process where nails form is quite complicated. Starting around day 22 after conception, cells start making a protein called keratin . This protein hardens the cells where it is. The keratin gathers around where the fingernail forms and grows outwards, adding more keratin to form a hard surface where your fingernails grow from.

Because all of this keratin-gathering action happens where three bones come together in each finger next to where your fingernails grow from, the skin around where nails grow becomes thickened so you can’t see where they are growing. Afterward, growth slows down until about age 14 or 15 when it starts slowing down even more. Your nail that once grew an entire millimeter per month now only grows .1 millimeters per month.

How Do Nails Grow?

Nails are composed of several layers. The key to how nails grow is in the nail bed, which is the part beneath your actual fingernail or toenail.

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Where Do Nails Grow From?

Nails actually grow out of the “matrix,” an area found in the nail bed that houses keratinocytes , differentiated cells that produce keratin.

The matrix is where 90 percent of all new cells originate when growth occurs (the other 10 percent come from pre-existing cells). When you change the shape, length or texture of your nail, it’s because these little guys are building upon themselves layer by layer under your skin.

Stages of Fingernail Growing Back

The stages begin with the nail beginning to lift up off the skin, followed by the nail splitting in two. The next stage is when the nails rejoin together again but at different levels than they once were prior to splitting, and finally there is healthy nail growth which may even be stronger than before it was injured since cutting can break down blood vessels in the nails which will cause them to be thin and brittle.

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