What’s hiding under your nails? What’s hiding under your nails?

Our nails start growing out of the U-shaped area of where our cuticles form. Underneath the surface of the nail, however, other things also happen.

As described by the website KidsHealth, the nails first appear from the roots hidden in the nailbed. When the cells located there begin to grow, the new cells of the nail push out the old ones, which become flat and hard as a result of keratin, a protein they produce on their own. The new nail forms and is nourished by small blood vessels that give them a pink color.

A nail lesion occurs when any part of the nail is damaged. This includes the nail, the nail bed (the skin under the nail), the cuticle (the base of the nail) and the skin surrounding the sides of the nail. Some common nail problems include:

  • Ingrown nails: This occurs when the nail curves downwards and penetrate the skin, causing pain and even infections.
  • Lesions: A nail lesion occurs when an object falls on top of the big toe, or if the toe itself hits a door a piece of furniture. It may become bruised, causing you to lose the nail, in which case eventually, a new nail will grow in its place.
  • Deformities: When someone bites or plays a lot with their nails, this can lead to nail deformities; however, nail deformities can also be caused by disease.
  • Hangnail: This occurs when a small sliver of skin tears off from the skin around the fingernails. If you tear off the skin, this can be painful.

Nails grow slowly at approximately one tenth of an inch (2.5 millimeters) a month. At this rate, it can take them 3 to 6 months to grow in completely.

Related article: Preventing nail fungus (article in Spanish)