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Fingernail Anatomy

Nail plate

It is the outer portion of the nail unit, formed by layers of keratin. While the keratin cells are no longer living, they create a rigid yet flexible, translucent plate.

Nail bed

The nail plate is attached to the underlying nail bed rich in blood capillaries. This skin underneath the nail supplies the plate with necessary nutrients.

Root & Matrix

The nail plate is created in the nail matrix, where skin cells are modified and keratinized to become the nail plate. The matrix cells are regarded as the most rapidly dividing skin cells.


Keratin is the main protein in the nail, while collagen is the main protein in the bone. It provides bony support for the nail bed.