Fingernail Facts for Kids

A Picture of Human Fingernails
  • Organ Name: Fingernail (Nail)
  • Organ System: Integumentary system
  • Organ Purpose: Protection, sensitivity and tooling
  • Organ Location: Tips of the fingers, human hand
  • Organ FMA ID: 54326
  • Organ TA ID: A16.0.01.001

21 Fingernail Facts for Kids

  1. The fingernail is a hard, organic protein that covers the tips of the human fingers.
  2. Fingernails are part of the human integumentary system.
  3. Fingernails are made up of a protein called alpha-keratin, also known as a-keratin.
  4. Fingernails are found on the human hands.
  5. The fingernail has four main parts, and they are the cuticle, the matrix, the nail bed and the nail plate.
  6. The cuticle is the tissue at the base of the nail plate.
  7. The matrix is where the fingernail grows out from and is located beneath the cuticle.
  8. The nail bed is the skin located underneath the fingernail.
  9. The nail plate is the hard, visible part of the fingernail.
  10. A genetically normal human has 10 fingernails, five on the left hand and five on the right hand.
  11. Fingernails grow faster than toenails.
  12. A study found that the average growth rate of the human fingernail was 3.47 mm (0.136 in) per month.
  13. Males grow fingernails faster than females, expect during pregnancy.
  14. The rate of growth of your fingernails is based on the size of your fingers.
  15. The index fingernail grows the fastest, while the pinky fingernail grows the slowest.
  16. A fingernail takes between three and six months to grow back completely.
  17. Fingernails grow faster in the summer months and slower in the winter months.
  18. Fingernails are only half as thick as toenails.
  19. According to Guinness World Records the person with the longest fingernails on a single hand is Shridhar Chillal. In 2014, the total length of all ten of his fingernails was 358.1 inches.
  20. A person who often bites their nails may have onychophagia, which is an oral compulsive habit.
  21. A common myth is fingernails continue to grow even after you die. They don’t, it may appear that because the skin around your fingernails dehydrates after death.

Additional Resources on Human Fingernails

  • Why We Have Fingernails – An interesting article on Live Science that explains why humans have fingernails.
  • Nail Diseases – Learn about the different diseases that can affect fingernails on the MedlinePlus website.
  • Fingernail – Britannica – Discover more fun fingernail facts on the Britannica website.
  • Nail – Wikipedia – Find more information about fingernails on the Wikipedia website.