The structure of human nails. Nail plate

The structure of the human nail is studied by the science of onychology. But even for ordinary people who are far from medicine, it will be useful to get acquainted with some knowledge: how to eat a nail, why you need a hygienic manicure, why burrs are formed.

The structure of the nail for a manicurist can have special meaning: in modeling it is important not only to have medical knowledge, but also to have an idea of ​​the structure of the arch and stiffeners. And this is an area of ​​architecture.

Healthy nails. What are they like?

In a healthy person, the nails are strong, smooth and shiny. They are pale pink in color with a pronounced hole. The free edge of the nail is white and has a noticeable thickness. Under it is visible the skin, which stretches from the finger. Because of her, the nails seem longer. If you inadvertently cut them shorter than necessary, blood will flow from the capillaries of the hyponychia - the very skin.

But the nail does not end there, he has an invisible part to the eye, called the matrix. Or the root of the nail. In this part, nutrition and cell formation occurs.

general information

Nails are appendages of the skin. Like skin, they are composed of keratin cells, similar to flakes. They are called onychoblasts. These plates are constantly moving forward, to the free edge, and up. The uppermost layer consists of dead cells firmly rooted into each other, held together by keratin fibers. This is the strongest protein.

The strength of the cysteic acid affects the strength of the nail. Its amount in keratin fiber is transmitted genetically. Therefore, there are people who by nature have a strong nail structure, but there are those who have thin and soft nails. Usually this symptom is observed in relatives by one of the parents.

A young nail is formed in the root, which is partially visible under it - this is the hole. Here, a layer of cells, called a matrix, constantly produces onychoblasts that are pushed up. At the beginning of their lives they are white, soft, alive. In total, there are about fifty layers in the nail, fastened with a nail effusion, consisting of fat and water. The flexibility of nails depends on its quantity.

Nail structure

The figure shows the structure of the nail and the nail plate. The proximal cushion covers the root of the nail, under it is constantly growing a thin skin that makes the nail - eponychium. It is also called pterygium because it looks like a film connecting the cuticle and nail. Rollers protect the lower tissues of the nail from infections and foreign bodies (dust, for example). The skin is constantly replaced on them, the cells are desquamated and roughened.

When nails need something

When a deviation from the norm is observed in the structure of the nail, they talk about onychodystrophy. The shape and composition of the nail plate changes, which leads to its deformation, the color may change. The reasons for this can be both external and internal.

External causes of a change in the appearance of nails:

  • Poor nail care, improper use of manicure tools.
  • Injuries.
  • Onychomycosis.
Cuticle oil

Internal causes of a change in the appearance of nails:

  • Violation of trophic tissue (cell nutrition).
  • Avitaminosis.
  • Ecology.
  • Eczema, allergies, psoriasis, dermatitis.
  • Weak immunity.
  • Endocrine problems.

How the nail is formed

The cells of the matrix, which give rise to onychoblasts, lie under the nail bed. The nail moves to the free edge unevenly: the outer layers grow by about one millimeter per week, and the lower cells under the nail plate are twice as fast. In a month, the nail grows by four millimeters, and is completely replaced in four months. On the hands, nails grow faster than on the feet. In summer, faster than in winter. Damage to the matrix threatens with improper nail formation for life.

Nail can absorb fat and water, wax sealing, treatment with masks and medicinal ointments are based on this property. In this case, the thickness of the nail increases. You can see this if you hold your hands in the water: the nails will become flexible, soft, saturated with moisture. After drying, they take their previous form. If you often wash the dishes, use cleaning products and wash without gloves, the nails degrease and become brittle and brittle.

Nail Nutrition

The figure shows the structure of the nail and the nail bed with the supply vessels. There are a lot of small capillaries in this area. This explains the bleeding when cut during a manicure. If the vessels are sclerotic, as is often the case in older people, nails lack nutrition and so-called "senile nails" with a large keratin mass form.

The nail has a thickness

Often in the salon, the master draws the attention of the client, who does the manicure, to the structure of the nail. The nail has a small thickness, this should not be forgotten. Since the nail plate is varnished, it cannot absorb moisture. But if you don’t paint the nail’s end face as well (it’s called sealing in a manicure), then he will be able to easily absorb both water and all the detergents dissolved in it that degrease it so well.

Cross section of a nail under a microscope

The photo shows how many layers of keratin cells are actually in the section of the nail. All these cells are porous, perfectly absorb moisture. At the same time, they expand, raising a decorative coating at the end. Therefore, the varnish will not last longer than three days - microcracks formed from the constant swaying of the material will cause chips. For the same reason, gel polish can be poorly worn, especially single-phase, hard.

If the end face is printed - urgently need to close it with any varnish, it can be colorless. This is done by patting the brush on the end of the nail. Thus, it is possible to maintain coverage for a long time. But the best thing, of course, is to prevent printing - to do all the housework with gloves on.

Modeling: nail structure for the master

Natural nails can be extended. If we are not talking about two to three millimeters, then the simulation of an artificial nail is performed . This is an acrylic polymer structure that is attached to the nail plate and meets certain requirements. To build up well, two arches are built: longitudinal and transverse. The material is laid out in such a way as to form a drop of irregular shape.

Nail architecture

The top of the drop is called the apex, in it the transverse and longitudinal arches converge. The architectural structure of the nail is shown in the figure. Careful observance of all proportions will provide strong nails that will be difficult to break. They have stiffeners in the form of a semicircular arch and sufficient thickness in the stress zone.

Proper Nail Shortening

Nail scissors do not exist. There are manicure scissors that trim the burrs and cuticles. There is a nibbler that acts like a guillotine. There are nail files of various grittiness (this is the amount of abrasive in one centimeter). Cutting the length of the nails with scissors is wrong.

A nail made up of many layers resembles a honeycomb: if they are cut with scissors, they will crumple and break. The integrity of even the far layers will be broken, and honey will flow out. Honeycombs are cut with a sharp knife. Nails are also cut by a knipser. Or cut down in layers. This ensures the preservation of the integrity of the nail structure.

Proper Nail Shortening

Violating the structure of the nail for the master by applying scissors is tantamount to disqualification. On the contrary, he tries to convey to the client the importance of correct shortening of the nails.

How do burrs form?

If you look at the cuticle under a microscope, you will notice keratinized skin cells that peel off, lose their pores and are torn fibers. Often the skin of the cuticle in the corners of the nail grows to it, which in the absence of proper care leads to the delay of its overgrown plate. The structure of the nail is such that this peel should fall off, dry and peel. To do this, it is enough to lift it, separating it from the nail. If this does not happen, at a certain point (for example, when you move your hands forward while making the bed), it will break. A burr forms.

Cuticle under the microscope

To prevent this from happening, it is important to moisturize the cuticle, remove dead cells in time and prevent the nail plate from overgrowing with pterygium. A remover based on natural fruit oils will help. If you regularly lubricate the cuticle with it, it will always be well-groomed and will not grow. This agent does not need to be washed off, it is natural and nourishes living cells well, and keratinized ones are desquamated and fall away.

Modern man is more than ever armed with knowledge. Applying them for his beauty, for his health, he can get rid of many problems. Let self-care become a habit.


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