Natual Nail Unit is made up of several parts
- the nail bed, matrix, nail plate, cuticle, eponychium, hyponychium, specialized ligaments, and nail folds.
- All the parts of the finger from the tip to the first knuckle are referred to as the natural nail unit.
- Technically referred to as the onyx.
- Composed mainly of keratin.
- Keratin in natural nails is more durable than the keratin in hair or skin.
A normal, healthy nail
- Is firm and flexible, shiny, and slightly pink in color.
- Its surface is usually smooth and unspotted, with no splits or deep grooves.
- Should be whitish and translucent in appearance, with the pinkish or beige color of the nail bed below showing through.
- A ligament is a tough band of fibrous tissue that connects bones or holds an organ in place.
- Specialized ligaments attach the nail bed and matrix bed to the underlying bone.
- They are located at the base of the matrix and around the edges of the nail bed.
Factors That Affect Nail Growth
- A person’s general health
Healthy Nail Growth Facts
- Grows forward from the matrix and extends over the tip of the finger.
- Can grow in a variety of shapes, depending on the shape of the matrix. Refer to Figure 4-2.
- Length, width, and curvature of the matrix determine the thickness, width, and curvature of the plate.
- Average rate of nail plate growth for adults is about 1/10″ to 1/8″ (2.5 mm to 3 mm) per month.
- Grows faster in the summer than in the winter.
- Although toenail plates grow more slowly than fingernail plates, they are thicker because the toenail matrix is longer than the matrix found on fingernails.
Nail Plate Malformation
- The shape or thickness of the nail plate can change because of damage or infection to the matrix.
Complete replacement of nail plates:
- Takes about four to six months
- Toenail plates take nine months to one year
- If nail cells are produced faster, the plate will grow more quickly.
- If a small portion of the matrix stops making new cells, the nail plate will become thinner and develop a narrow groove.
- As a normal part of the aging process, parts of the nail matrix begin to permanently slow down production, causing the plate to develop a series of narrow grooves running down the length of the plate.
- These grooves are not “ridges.”
- Never file these so-called “ridges,” as this will thin and weaken the entire nail plate.
You are not licensed to diagnose, treat, or prescribe—that constitutes medical practice and cannot be carried out by a nail technician.
- You must identify whether a client has an unhealthy condition that precludes them from receiving services in a salon; however, you cannot tell a client that they have a specific disease or disorder.
- Never diagnose, treat, or work on unhealthy skin or nails without written permission from a licensed physician in your state.