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Biology | 7-14 yrs | Animation, Video

What are fingernails made of?

A nail is a protective covering on the tip of your finger which is made of a tough protein called keratin. Keratin is also the protein that hair is made of. A nail’s main function is to protect the soft tissues on the upper side of your fingertip and counter the pressure applied on the soft part of the finger. This rigidity allows for more precise yet delicate movement and functionality. A nail can also be used as a tool.

The average human nail grows 36 mm per year but this largely depends on age, gender, season, the amount of exercise you do, diet, and hereditary factors. An interesting fact to know about nails is that they grow faster in hot climates than in cold ones and fingernails grow approximately four times faster than your toenails. The only part of the nail that conducts biochemical activity, and can therefore be termed ‘living’, is part of your nail is under the skin.

Looking for more biology articles and videos? Go to: Biology for Kids.