Friday, August 10, 2012

The structure of your nail

Have you ever stopped and wondered what your finger or toe nails might look like under a microscope?

Did you know that......

> finger and toe nails are made of the same keratin protein as in human hair and horses' hooves

> our nails are 10 x more porous than our skin, which means water enters our nail tissue very fast

> our nail tissue found below the hard nail is similar to a sponge - it swells when water enters and shrinks as water evaporates once again

> our cuticles are made up of hundreds of thousands of cells that play a significant role in terms of protecting the nail from infection and by helping to push out the most densely compacted layer of the new nail

>  any tampering with the cuticle (cutting, pushing back or clipping) will affect the new growth of the nail

>  hangnails occur due to over-stimulation of the cuticles, i.e. massaging, rubbing, pushing them

>  our cuticles literally go into overdrive to repair even the smallest, minute puncture or damage that they sustain (mainly caused by attempts to get rid of cuticles!!)

This model made with straws and a sponge helps us imagine what the hard nail and the underlying tissue really look like.  The hard nail is layers upon layers of column-like fibers, whose integrity depends of those cells being pushed out by the cuticle.  Buffing is very detrimental to your nails as it takes off the top, most protective layer of these columns, thus exposing the softer layers below.  Now let's take a another look at a cross-section of this model......

This photo shows us how things would look if you had longer nails.  Can you imagine how water damages and weakens the nails by entering the extremely porous nail tissue, swelling it to almost double its size, then evaporating almost as fast as it enters?  Let's face it - we all expose our hands to water several times a day.  It's really no wonder why the # 1 cause of dry, brittle nails is over-exposure to water. 

These are my nails.  As you can clearly see - I never cut, clip or push back my cuticles.  The transparent part that is quite visible is a sign of healthy nails.  Sure, it is not as easy to polish them because I don't have that "ridge" (caused by pushing back the cuticles).  But, my nails have never looked better, have never been so strong and flexible, have never had such a vibrant colour to them.  My secret is daily applications of TIPS Nail Conditioner (for more information visit their website:

We are looking for participants who would like to try out the ASK Cosmetics nailcare products in the form of a Nail Challenge starting in Sept. 2012.  If you have nail issues and would like to take part, please contact me at:  It would be greatly appreciated if you could pass the word on to others, who could use a "nail make-over".

Thank for stopping by and have a fantastic weekend, Lisa M.


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