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We are starting a series sharing tips and tricks on how to grow healthy nails. What better way to kick things off than with a mini breakdown of  what makes up a Finger-nail. The first step to achieving strong and healthy nails is understanding your nail structure. There’s more to your nails than your cuticles you know:

Where new nail plate cells are created and the nail plate begins to form.

A bluish-white, opaque area that is visible through the nail plate. This area is the front part of the nail matrix. Sometimes, it’s called the “moon.” The lunula is the front part of the matrix we can see, or in other words, the visible matrix.Since it is the exposed portion of the matrix, this area is not protected by the eponychium. It is easy bruised with every day life tasks.

Living skin at the base of the nail plate that covers the matrix area. This should NOT be confused with the “cuticle”.
Proximal Fold Of The Eponychium

Healthy Proximal Fold
A tight band of living tissue that most people incorrectly think is their “cuticle”.The proximal fold is a required guardian seal that prevents germs and bacteria from getting to the nail matrix, where new cells are created.The best way to keep this skin soft and tight to the nail plate is with a high quality, penetrating nail and cuticle oil.

A thin layer of dead tissue riding on the nail plate to form a seal between the nail plate and the eponychim to prevent pathogens from infecting the matrix area. The cuticle pulls away from the underside of the eponychium and attaches tenaciously to the nail plate

Nail Plate
Composed of hardened, flat, translucent, non-living, keratin nail cells that form a solid, protective layer over the underlying soft tissue.The average person has 50 layers of keratin cells that make up the nail plate.The thickness of your nails is determined by the size of your matrix.

Nail Bed
The soft, pink tissue that sits underneath and supports the nail plate while it grows. The nail bed should NOT be confused with the nail “plate”.

A soft tissue seal underneath the extended “free” edge of the nail plate whose purpose is to prevent pathogens from infecting the nail bed.

Bone supports and shapes both the nail matrix and nail bed. The flat or curved shape of your nails is determined by the shape of your fingertip bone.

Now you know what different parts makeup your precious fingernails, stay tuned to learn more valuable knowledge about how to grow healthy nails!

Ify is an avid Healthy Nails advocate who believes simply caring for your Natural nails is the key to growing healthy nails. She is the CEO of Maison de Ongles,  an online beauty store that retails a wide variety of nail care tools, enhancers and equipment.

You can find her:

Instagram @kifycutie


  1. Ijeoma
    May 30, 2018 / 6:05 am

    Really nice….i only knew about the cuticle and nail plate…loool. Thanks for the new knowledge about my nails @kifycutie…..

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