Rarely do many of us think about them. For the males among us, we think about them even less often. Unless there is a break, chip, or an unfortunate stubbing, our fingernails are pretty much the last thing we think about. Even when we are using them to scratch an annoying itch, little thought goes into the very things that relieve that itch. If you haven’t figured out what we are talking about yet, it’s fingernails. Boy, do we have some weird fingernail facts for you.
There are actually plenty of weird fingernail facts. For instance, did you know that they are what set us apart from other mammals? All other mammals have claws. It’s thought that we parted ways with claws and grew nails to more easily allow us to grip items.
Did you also know these fingernail facts about the speed in which they grow? An average fingernail grows around 3.5 mm a month and will grow much faster in the warmer months than in the cold months. The fastest growing nail on your hand is on the middle finger. Not only is that the fastest growing nail, but they also grow faster on men than on women. But there is one exception to this rule. During pregnancy a woman’s fingernails grow much faster, surpassing the growth rate of a mans. The reason is thanks to the extra growth hormones present during pregnancy. If you think that’s all we have in the way of fingernail facts, you’re mistaken.
Nails and hair are both made from keratin. Keratin is a structural protein that is also present on the outside of the skin. Essentially, although slightly different, chemically both hair and nails are identical. Surprisingly humans and primates are not the only animals with this unique use of keratin. Rhinos horns are also made out of the same protein.
Other fingernail facts:
- Nail biting is called onychophagia. Of all of the nervous habits that humans posses and exhibit, biting ones nails is by fat the most common.
- Around 10 percent of all skin conditions are nail related.
- Chronic stress can inhibit nail growth.
- The cuticle, the piece of skin that overlaps the nail acts as a protection against drying out and infectious material, such as germs and bacteria entering the body. So don’t remove them!
- Hard nails are genetic and not the result of environmental factors.
- If your nail falls off after an injury it’s because they need blood to survive and grow. An injury can inhibit or completely stop the blood flow to the nail, and as a result it will drop off. But once the supply has been repaired the nail will grow back again under normal circumstances.
To finish off our weird fingernail facts we thought it would be fitting to explain why nails on a chalk board sound so horrible. The reason we seem to hate it so much has nothing at all to do with our nails. It has to do with the shape of our ear canals. The sound is amplified by the natural shape of the canal, and amplified to a stage where we simply can’t stand the sound.