Nails are translucent plates that protect the tips of the fingers and toes and facilitate the collection of small objects. They are a modification of the epidermis and consist of a hard fibrous protein called keratin.
Structure of nails
Matrix of the nail. It is directly under the cuticle and is the only living part of the nail. The matrix contains nerves and blood vessels, and all cell production takes place in it. Developed new cells push forward the old, thus forming the nail plate. A healthy matrix produces a healthy nail, but in the event of an injury in this area, the nail can grow with a deformation that can be temporary or permanent.
The nail plate consists of dead compressed cells that do not contain blood vessels and nerves. Compressed cells form three layers: external, middle and inner. Function of the nail plate: protection of the fingertips of the fingers and toes.
The nail plate is on the nail bed, which contains nerves and blood vessels. It consists of cells that are pushed forward from the matrix. These cells undergo the process of keratinization, as a result of which the nail plate grows in thickness and length. Function of the nail bed: supplying nourishment to the nails through the blood supply of the matrix and providing support for the nail body.
The nail lune, also known as the crescent, is the transition between the matrix and the nail bed. It is best seen on the thumb, it is pearly, and in shape resembles a crescent moon. Luna is an intermediate stage between the matrix and the nail plate.
Cuticle is a narrow border that surrounds the nail at the base of the nail plate and can be removed during manicure. Function: the cuticle forms an important barrier against infections, protects the matrix and the underlying tissues of the nail root. And it also helps to form the basis for the nail.
The mantle is a deep crease of the skin over the matrix and around the base of the nail plate. Function: protect the matrix and the base of the nail.
The free edge of the nail is the weakest part of the nail, which breaks easily. This part of the nail protrudes above the base of the finger. Its further shape and length depend on the owner's taste.
Composition of nails
Nails, like hair, consist of keratin. The chemical composition of keratin is: 51% carbon, hydrogen 7%, oxygen 22%, 17% nitrogen, sulfur 3%. Keratinization is a change in living cells containing the nucleus into flat dead keratinized cells that do not have a nucleus. The process begins in the basal layer of the epidermis and ends in the stratum corneum. As cells are pushed out of the matrix, they undergo a keratinization process, as a result of which the nail plate grows in thickness and length. Dead keratinized keratinized cells form a nail plate.
The water content in the nail affects its compliance or brittleness. The normal water content is approximately 10-12%. With a lower content of water, the nails become brittle and, as a rule, begin to separate. With age, the fluid content of the nails is also reduced.
The structure of the nail is determined by heredity, but it can change under the influence of external factors (ecology, nutrition, improper care). Caring for the nails, like caring for the hands, should be regular. Healthy nails should be strong, elastic and pink in color. And very often the condition of the nails can determine the health problems of their owner.