A nail is a horn-like envelope covering the tips of the fingers and toes, composed of keratin – dead skin cells. The part of the nail underneath the skin is called the skin matrix. It is the part of the nail that contains blood vessels, nerves and lymph, responsible for producing cells that push the older one forward and become the nail plate. The nail bed is the skin beneath the nail plate, a layer of dermis and epidermis with the visible capillaries below, resulting in a pink colour of the nail.
The lunula is the whitish base of the nail. The lunula can best be seen in the thumb and may not be visible in the little finger.
The fingernails grow much faster than the toenails.
It takes 3-6 months for the fingernails to regenerate completely and 12-18 months for the toenails.
Although hard in structure, the nails are in fact a weaker and more porous part of the skin, which makes them inclined to infections.