Thursday, 12 April 2012

Masterclass - Nails

aka. The hard stuff

Our nails are located at the end of our toes and hands, and made of a protein called Keratin, which is also present in within hair. The shape of the nail depends of a few factors: The health of the surrounding tissue called the matrix (stop thinking about the film) and the shape of the finger bones.

The Matrix is the tissue that the nail bed rests on and contains all the nerves, blood vessel, and lymph. As new nail plate cells are produced, they are round and white so they push the older dead cells forward. This way compresses and flattens the cells to produce what we see. It is also the epidermis layer of the skin that we see underneath that produces the grooves on the nail plate. As we age these plates thin and the grooves become deeper.

Another part that is talked about is the cuticles: This is a small band of skin that acts like a water proof barrier between the nail and the matrix. This also stops any germs getting into this delicate area, this is why it better to keep the cuticle trim with either a designated remover or gentle massaging the cuticle down with a hoof/cuticle stick. If this area is cut it can be very painful and more prone to infection.

So why do have nails in the first place? Evolution says that this is from the era where we used to climb trees and needed something strong to grip onto things. To keep them long and strong, I don't recommend that you do this kind of activity or using them as any kind of tool (they not designed for opening drink cans or typing devices - guilty as charged!). Water also weakens the nails so keeping them moisturised is a good habit to take up, I have about 3 on the go so I can keep up (right next to my lip balms).

I used to be a nail chewer, and I mean a chewer right down to the cuticle. Yes, it did really hurt and I did use to make myself bleed (found out it was more stress/boredom related), it was a bad habit to have. It took over year after I decided to stop for them to grow to the end of my fingers. Once you've decided to give up, go and get a manicure to tidy up any rough edges and also discuss what would be best for you long term. This will also take the temptation away to chew. Then, treat yourself to the dream nail varnish, put it somewhere were you'll see it everyday. Think about it, have photos of it on your phone to look at when you feel like you want to chew. It may take a while to get there but this'll give you a strong start.

Next Thurs: Nail systems/enhancements (a good one for chewers to read as they can protect your nails while growing back).
Note: A nail broke in the writing of this entry. Where's the nail file?


  1. wow you have really nice shaped nails! sounds wierd but you do! Would love it if you could take a look at my blog -

  2. Thank you, I look after my own nails as I'm a manicurist. It doesn't sound weird, I'm very proud of my nails! x


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