Ten Surprising Facts About Your Men’s Nails

When you talk about men and nails, most people would assume you are referring to the type of nails you use with a hammer. After all, men (typically) don’t paint the nails on their fingers or visit a salon for nail pampering. However, fingernails and toenails on a man need proper care and attention just like they do on a woman. In fact, regardless of your gender, nails are an important part of your skin health and body health.

If you are man who rarely clips your nails, much less thinks about them, start by educating yourself. Guys, here are 10 facts about your nails:

  • Nails are made up of more than just the part we trim and file.
    Know your nail anatomy. That hard part of the nail, called the plate, is located underneath the cuticle and grows out from the root or “matrix” of the nail. The lunula is the white portion of the nail that extends from the matrix and forms a half moon. Your cuticles keep your nails moisturized and free of germs.
  • The fingernails on your dominant hand grow faster than the rest.
    Most fingernails grow an average of a tenth of an inch per month. If you are right-handed, you can expect those nails to get longer quicker than your left. Different times of year, as well as age, genetic make-up and a handful of other factors can affect nail growth speed, according to the American Academy of Dermatology.
  • White spots on your nail don’t mean you need more milk.
    Many of us grew up with parents or grandparents that told us that the white spots that appear on your nails indicate a calcium deficiency. This is a myth. Instead, white spots are harmless and quite common.
  • Nails are made up of protein.
    Just like your hair, nails contain a protein called keratin. This doesn’t give you an excuse to bite or chew on them! But you do need proper nutrition (fruits, veggies, protein, oils and fats) to keep your nails strong.
  • Men’s nails grow faster than women’s nails.
    There goes your excuse that you don’t need to tend to your nails as much as your wife or girlfriend. Turns out, your nails may need trimming more frequently than hers.
  • Nails are what separate the primates from the mammals.
    Mammals have claws to help them survive. However, primates (humans) are distinguished by fingernails and toenails.
  • Nails are a good indicator of entire body health.
    The appearance of your nails can tell a physician a lot about your overall health. For example, blueish nail bed discoloration could mean lung disease, capillaries in the cuticles can indicate autoimmune disease and yellow, white or banded nails can sometimes point to certain very serious diseases. Take note of how your nails look on a routine basis.
  • Over 10% of dermatological complications are nail-related.
    There’s actually a lot that can go wrong when it comes to the health of your nails. Nail disorders can include fungal infections, ingrown toenails and bacterial infections.
  • Your nails suffer from your stress.
    Whether it is work-related stress or chronic anxiety, your nails can suffer the consequences. Your body will combat stress by diverting energy and nutrients away from your nails and hair. You may notice hair that falls out and nails that become weak or stop growing.
  • There’s a reason we can’t stand nails on a chalkboard.
    Do you cringe at the sound of nails on a chalkboard? There’s a scientific reason. According to 2011 research, the noise of nails across a chalkboard hits a frequency that’s amplified by the shape of your ear canals!

While some of these nail facts are simply fun trivia, others are important to recognize for the sake of your health. If you are a man who has neglected his nails, start paying more attention. If you notice an unusual color or abnormal thickness, please see your dermatologist. Olansky Dermatology is proud to be your trusted source for male skin care in Atlanta.