Dermatology and Microbiology - The Growth of Nails.

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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.

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        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 ...

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