25 Fascinating Facts About Fingernails

fingernails

When you think about your fingernails, chances are you just think of them as a vehicle for nail polish or something you chew when you’re nervous. Our poor fingernails are typically taken for granted, and we don’t give them much beyond a passing thought.  

But they’re so much more than just things to be painted or bitten. Fingernails are complicated. Interesting even!  

Intrigued? Here are 25 fascinating facts you may not know about your fingernails.

fingernails

25 Fascinating Facts About Fingernails

  1. Fingernails grow an average of 3.5 millimeters per month.  
  2. The fingernails on your dominant hand tend to grow faster.
  3. Fingernails are made out of the same stuff as hair—a hard material called keratin. It’s a protein made of dead cells, which is why cutting your fingernails and hair doesn’t hurt. Bird feathers and horse hooves are also made of keratin.  
  4. Fingernails are what separate the primates from the mammals.
  5. Men’s fingernails grow faster than women’s nails. But, women’s fingernails do grow faster during pregnancy due to hormones.  
  6. Our fingernails have no feeling. Zero. Zilch.  
  7. Typing with your nails will actually stimulate their growth.  
  8. In ancient Egypt, a women’s status symbol was based on the color of her nails. Red being the highest rank. No wonder red manicures are so iconic!
  9. Painting designs and pictures onto our fingernails isn’t something new and trendy. It was a familiar practice with the Incas, many of whom had eagle designs on their fingernails.
  10. Fingernails grow faster in the summer than in the winter.
  11. Nails on a chalkboard make you cringe? There’s a reason.The noise hits a frequency that’s naturally amplified by the shape of our ear canals.  
  12. Our cuticles aren’t just for decoration. They serve a purpose! The cuticle seals moisture and environmental germs out of the body. This is why it’s very important to not pick at your cuticles.
  13. Are you a nail biter? There’s a name for that. Nail biting is known as Onychophagia.  
  14. Feeling stressed out? It can show in your fingernails. Stress can cause your fingernails to weaken as nutrients are spread elsewhere in the body.
  15. Fingernails don’t sweat.
  16. Your thumbnail grows the slowest.
  17. Your middle fingernail grows faster than your other fingers.
  18. Fingernails are for protecting not only the fingertips but also the surrounding soft tissue from any external injuries.
  19. Nail polish originated in China as early as 3000 BC. The ingredients? Egg whites, gelatin, vegetable dyes and beeswax.
  20. Fingernails stop growing after death. They appear longer as skin retracts.
  21. If you place a piece of your fingernail in Coco Cola, after 4 days it will dissolve.  
  22. Fingernails need blood to survive. Have you ever wondered why your fingernail falls off after an injury? Our nail plates need blood flow, nutrients and oxygen to grow normally.  An injury can disrupt the delicate connections that provide the nutrition and can stop your fingernail from growing.   
  23. Fingernail growth slows down as we age.
  24. Increasing your water intake can improve dry fingernails.
  25. According to the Guinness World Records, the longest fingernails on a pair of female hands belong to Lee Redmond (USA), with a total length of 28 ft 4.5 in.  

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References: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/24/nail-facts-fingernails_n_3957467.html, https://www.popsugar.com/fitness/5-Things-About-Your-Nails-401331, https://www.thefactsite.com/2011/12/10-facts-about-nails-and-nail-polish.html, http://factslegend.org/30-interesting-nail-facts/, http://mentalfloss.com/article/66684/8-glossy-facts-about-nail-polish, http://www.goodhousekeeping.com/beauty/nails/tips/a24202/nail-polish-facts/