Some of us paint them, some cut them short and barely notice them while others take a lot of pride in growing them as long as possible. Most of us have 10 fingernails spread across both of our hands but how often do we really think about how they grow and function? These fun facts about fingernails provide a little insight into this essential, but often unnoticed, body part.
- Artificial nails were invented in 1954. However, this isn’t the first moment in history that they have been worn. There is evidence that women were wearing long artificial nails as far back as Ancient Egypt and the Ming Dynasty in China.
- The fingernails on our hands grow at different rates. Thumbnails tend to be the biggest and also grow the slowest while the fingernails on our middle fingers grow at the fastest rate.
- What happens to your fingernails after you die? Well, contrary to the many rumours on the subject your fingernails don’t actually continue to grow. They stop, just like most other body parts, once your heart is no longer pumping.
- Men’s fingernails tend to grow at a faster rate than women’s – in theory at least. In fact, the person with the longest recorded fingernails was a man. American Melvin Boothe had grown his fingernails to the length of 9.85m when they were measured in 2009.
- Plenty of women have also grown their nails long though. American Lee Redmond grew her fingernails to 8.65m, which took 20 years. Unfortunately, shortly after having them measured she lost the record breaking nails in a car accident.
- Your fingernails grow much more quickly than your toenails. If you were ever to try to measure the rate of growth you’d find that your fingernails were achieving about 1cm every 100 days.
- Fingernails respond to the sun. If you live in a hot country then your fingernails are likely to grow faster – and if your location is affected by seasons then they will grow more quickly in summer than winter.
- You’re unlikely to wake up with much longer nails. That’s because fingernails will do more of their growing during the daytime than nighttime hours.
- There are lots of different ways people try to encourage fingernail growth, from changing your diet to taking supplements. Typing on a keyboard has also been found to have a stimulating impact on the growth of these nails.
- Fingernails respond to hand use. That’s why you’ll find that the nails on your dominant hand grow more quickly than those on your non-dominant hand.
- Although we have millions of sweat glands around our bodies you won’t find any on your fingernails. Because there are no sweat glands on your fingernails you’ll never see them glisten, unlike other areas like your face or underarms.
Fingernails are a small but essential part of the human body – and one that has plenty of decorative potential, from fake nails to coloured nail varnish. As these fun facts show they are also quite an unusual body part too.