Dermatology and Microbiology - The Growth of Nails.
Dermatology and Microbiology
1a. The Growth of Nails
The actual nail is made up of the nail body, nail root and the free edge and the main function of a nail is to protect the ends of your fingers and toes, and to help to grasp and manipulate small objects.
Within the actual nail there are more parts that are needed to help in the production of nails, one of these parts is called the MATRIX.
The diagram above shows where the matrix is situated inside the nail.
The matrix is situated underneath the nail root and extends as far as the lunula. It is the most important part of the nail unit.
The matrix is where the most work goes on, as this is where the start the nail develops from. The nail will grow outwards towards the tips of the fingers and toes. The nails will grow when the top layer of cells are transformed into nail cells by keratinisation. The cells within the matrix will be divided up, the upper ones will become thickened and toughened through the keratinisation process. As more cells are produced the old ones are pushed outwards and flattened, they then become transparent and form part of the nail plate.
This is a preview of the whole essay
The matrix also determines the shape and thickness of a nail so the longer the matrix is the thicker the nail will be.
If however the matrix is damaged it can result in temporary loss of the nail or permanent damage to the nail plate. The cells in the matrix will die and in turn will halt the production within the nail plate and bed. Without the production happening here the nail itself will not grow.
The other part of the nail which helps with the development and growth is known as the NAIL BED. The epidermis below the nail body is called the nail bed. The nail beds main function is to provide the rest of the nail area with nourishment that is needed for nail growth, therefore it is supplied with blood vessels that will provide the nourishment needed for nail growth. The nail bed also contains the nerves in the nail. If the nail bed is damaged then the nail would not grow as it coincides with the matrix in the growth of the nail.
The main function of nail grooves is to help to direct the nail along the nail bed. As the nail grows from the matrix it slides along the nail body and along the nail grooves where the nail sits. The grooves act as guides to help the nail to grow straight and not deformed.
The cuticle (eponychium) is a layer of epidermis which overlaps the base of the nail plate. Its main function is to prevent the bacteria and dirt from entering the nail fold, and also to protect the matrix by forming a barrier between the nail and the skin.
There are many different factors which may affect nail growth, such as climate, health, age, and diet. However these are just a few of the different factors but there are many more.
Take age as the first factor. After the age of 20 the rate of nail growth begins to slow down. This is because as you get older your circulation also slows down therefore the blood supply that is needed in order for the production of the nail will not be as fast.
Diet is another factor affecting the growth of nails. A poor diet will result in poor and slow nail growth. This is because the body and the nails are not getting sufficient vitamins and minerals in order for new cells to be produced and for the matrix to grow the nails. Extreme dieting slows down the rate of nail growth again as the body is not getting enough, if any of the nutrients needed for the nail to grow.
Climate also can play a part in the rate of nail growth. Nails will grow faster in warmer climates than cooler ones again it is all to do with the circulation if the weather is warmer the circulation in the body will be much better and the blood supply needed to make the nails grow will also be good. However in the winter your circulation tends to slow down slightly which results in the blood supply to the matrix to become less which will therefore lead to a decrease in the nail growth.
When you are pregnant your nails tend to grow faster, this could be due to the fact that you have an increased supply of blood which will increase your circulation causing your nails to grow at a faster rate. When pregnant your temperature also increases, again this too helps to increase the circulation and assists in the production of nail growth. You also tend to eat a better diet as you are trying to eat for both the baby and you with these extra nutrients the rate of nail growth may speed up.
Damage to the matrix can also affect nail growth as it is extremely sensitive and if injured will cause the nail to grow irregular and could even slow the rate down as the nail grows from the matrix. If it is damaged then it has a knock of effect on the other areas eg.(Nail bed and nail body) in the nail production and growth.