What are the different parts of the nail?

Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
Each nail has several parts, including:

• nail plate: the visible hard part of the nail

• nail folds: the skin that frames the nail plate on three sides

• nail bed: the skin beneath the nail plate - The cells at the base of your nail bed are the ones that actually produce the fingernail or toenail plate.

• cuticle: the tissue that overlaps your nail plate at the base of your nail - it protects the new keratin cells that slowly emerge from the nail bed

• lunula: the whitish, half-moon shape at the base of your nail underneath the plate
YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

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YOU: The Owner's Manual for Teens: A Guide to a Healthy Body and Happy Life

A few years ago, we wrote YOU: The Owner’s Manual, which taught people about the inner workings of their bodies—and how to keep them running strong. But you know what? There’s a big difference...
Dr. Doris Day, MD
Dermatology
Nails consist of the nail plate, which is the part you see; the cuticle, which is the tissue that covers the base of the plate; the nail bed, which is the skin beneath the nail plate; the nail folds, the skin that supports the nails on all three sides; the lunula; which is the “moon” at the base of the plate; and the matrix, which is under the cuticle. The lunula and the matrix in the area of the cuticle are where the new and dividing nail cells are that make up the nail as you see. As they grow, they get pushed up and they stop dividing. If you damage the matrix or the lunula, this can lead to scarring which can cause a permanent deformity of the nail. This is why it is better to avoid picking at your cuticles. You should also be careful not to let any manicurist cut your cuticles because if they get infected, there can be scarring which can lead to permanent damage to the nail.
Dr. Michael Roizen, MD
Internal Medicine

Nails can come in handy for scratching backs, digging around nostrils, and gouging attackers' eyeballs. If your nails look like cracked and crumbling sidewalks that can also crack and crumble your appearance and your confidence - not to mention give you some health problems along the way. So let's take a look at the things that play a central role in the visual state of your hands and feet.
Your nails are composed of laminated layers of a protein called keratin, which is also found in your hair and skin. Each nail has several parts, including:
-The nail plate: The visible hard part of the nail.
- Nail folds: The skin that frames each of your nail plates on three sides.
-The nail bed: The skin beneath the nail plate. The cells at the base of your nail bed are the ones that actually produce the fingernail or toenail plate.
-The cuticle: The tissue that overlaps your nail plate at the base of your nail. It protects the new keratin cells that slowly emerge from the nail bed. The area underneath the cuticle is called the matrix.
-The lunula: The whitish, half-moon shape at the base of your nail underneath the plate.

You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

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You: Being Beautiful - The Owner's Manual to Inner and Outer Beauty

Most people think that beauty revolves around such things as lipstick, sweet eyes, or skinny jeans -- all those things that we can see (and obsess over) in the mirror. But the fact is that beauty...

Continue Learning about Teen Perspective: Understanding Anatomy

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.