Nail & skin Services

Skin and Nail Services

The Structure and Growth of Nails 

Notes on Theory : Cristina Lazalde

       It is important to study the structure of the nail as well as the  growth stages

 of the nail as you the cosmetologist will often be sought out for beauty advice.

However making the decision, as to whether you can help the client with their

beauty situation is up to  you and your professional decision making. Based off

your knowledge of basic spa and beauty diseases. In plane simple words you are

not a doctor, you cannot write a prescription for any nail related issues! As silly

as it sounds you'll be surprised at the truth, that a vast majority of nail clients

already have a nail related disease, despite the sight of appearance at first glance.

- Understanding the structure and nail growth patterns  allows you to

professionally groom, strengthen and improve the health of ,all executed

flawlessly and beautifully.

" The cosmetologist should be able to tell their eponychium 

from their hyponychium.Understanding the big picture of the 

natural nail will prepare you for themore advanced world of 

nails tomorrow! So don't get frustrated and expect to learn 

acrylics right away when the basics are a must. "

Here are a couple questions to think about as we go along..

Do you know where you'r cuticle is ?

Is the cuticle living or dead skin ?

Where is the plate and nail bed located in the natural nail ?

The Natural Nail

Natural nail, also known as an Onyx(AHN-nyx), is the hard protective plate

surface composed mainly of keratin, the same fibrous protein found in the skin

 and hair in the skin and in hair.

- The keratin in natural nails is harder than that of keratin found in the skin or hair.

- The natural nail is located at the end of the finger or toe.

- The natural nail is an appendage of the skin and is part of the integumentary 

system, which is made up of skin and it's various organs.

- Nail plates protect the tips of the fingers and toes, their appearence can reflect

the general effect of the body.

- A normal healthy nail is firm but flexible. The surface is shiny, smooth and

unspotted with no wavy ridges hollows or splits. A healthy nail also in appearence

should be whitish and translucent in appearence, with the pinkish color of the nail

bed showing through.

- The Water Content of a nail varies accourding to the relative humididty of the 

surrounding enviroment; in haumid enviorment, nails contain more water. A 

healthy nail may look dry and hard, but it's water content is actually between 

15-25 percent.

The Water Content directly affects the nail's flexibility.

- The lower the water content, the more rigid the nail becomes. Coating the 

plate with an oil based nail conditioner or nail polish improves flexibility by 

reducing water loss. These products also prevent excessive water absorption.

Nail Anatamy 

The natural nail unit is composed up of several major parts, including :

The nail plate

The nail bed

The nail matrix

The nail cutilclee eponychium

The hyponychium

specialized ligaments

 Nail folds

The Nail Plate

The Nail Plate is hardened keratin plate that sits on and covers the nail 


It is the most visible and functional part of the nail unit. 

- The nail plate is relatively porus and will allow water to pass 

through it, much more easily than through normal skin of equal thickness.

As it grows the nail plate slowly slides along the nail bed.

- The nail plate is formed by a Matrix of cells. The sole job of the matrix is to 

 create nail plate cells.

- The nail plate may appear to be one solid peice but is actually constructed of

about 100 layers of nail cells.

The Free Edge is the part of the nail plate that extends over the tip of the 

finger to the toe.

The Nail Bed

-The Nail Bed is the living portion of skin that supports the nail

plate as it grows towards The Free Edge.

-Because it is richly supplied with blood vessels, the nail bed has a 

pinkish appearence from the lunula to the area just before the free 

edge of the nail.

-The nail bed contains many nerves, and is attached to the nail 

plate by a thin layer of tissue called Bed Epithelium 

-The Bed Epithelium helps support the nail plate along the nail 

bed as it grows.

The Nail Matrix

The Matrix(may-trikz) is the area where the nail plate cells are 

formed; this area is composed up of matrix cells theat produce

 the nail plate cells.

-The matrix contains nerves, lymphs, and blood vessels to 

nourish the matrix cells. As long as it is nourished and healthy, the 

matrix cell willl continue to create new nail plate cells.

-The matrix extends from under the nail fold at the base of the 

nail plate.

-The visible part of the matrix extends from the underneath living 

skin that is called the lunula(loo-nuh-luh) it is whitish, half moon 

shape at the base of the nail. 

-The whitish light is caused by the reflection of light of the surface of the matrix

-The whiter surface of the lunula shows the true color of the matrix.

-Every nail has a lunula but, bome lunulas are short and remains hidden under

the eponychium.

Growth and appearence of the nails can be effected by an individuals state

 of health, a person is in poor health if a nail disorder or disease is present, 

or if there has been any injury to the matrix.

The Cuticle

-The nail Cuticle(kyoo-tih-kal)is dead, colorless tissue attached to the 

natural nail plate.

The cuticle comes from the underside of the skin that lies above the 

natural nail plate and living skin.

It's job is to seal The place between the natural nail plate and 

living skin. This prevents entry of foreign material and micro 

organisms and helps avoid injury and infection.


Eponychium(ep-oh-nik-ee-um) is the living skin at the base of 

the natural nail plate that covers the matrix area. The 

eponychium  is often confused with the nail cuticle. They are 

not the same however.

-The cuticle is dead tissue adhered to the nail plate; the 

eponychium is living tissue that grows to the nail plate. 

- The cuticle comes from the underside of the area , where it 

completley detaches from the eponychium and strongly 

attaches to the new growth of the nail plate.  

-  It pulls free to form a seal between the natural nail plate and 

the nail eponychium . Cosmetologist are prohibited from 

cutting the eponychium, even when a client requests it during 

a service.

Eponychium from a micoscopic look.

" Remeber a lot of people will try to get you to do things that 

are not standard to your service training! Stay calm and 

collected, you are the knowlwdge expert and cannot be pushed 

into doing anything you are not trained to do. You are 

prohibited to cut into LIVING tissue or skin, because that, 

WOULD BE CONSIDERED SURGERY. My advice for the common if someone say tried to tell you : "

'Hey you see the skin on my finger thats pulling back there ? Well you missed that.' 

- This has happened to me alot actually, however the first time 

it happened it startled me because, most clients do not know 

that this is true, because they are the ones who often request it

 from places that do this without hesitation. So what happens 

is we get questions like this asked, not nesecarily being rude 

but to them it seems strange, however their are also times 

when a client can get rouwdy as well. You have the right to 

calmly and collectively tell her with deepest sincerity in your 

voice : "

 'Miss I apologize but I nor any cosmetoligist is 

permitted to cut your living skin, I can however suggest a hot 

oil treatment and wrist massage to improve your circulation, I 

can help you with any questions refering to your nails, nail 

care, and nail diseases and as to  what I am able to preform on 

you. '(Refer to a physician if nescessary.)

If your client however already seems to be on the edgy side try 

to find an educator to stand by your side while you explain this

 to the client, because for some people an explanation as to 

why not is something they really don't want to hear. 


-The hyponychium (hy-poh-NIK-EEUM) is the slightly
thickened layer of skin that lies between the fingertip and the 

free edge of the natural nail plate. 

-It forms a protective barrier that prevents microorganisms 

from invading and infecting the nail bed. 

Specialized Ligaments

- A Ligament (lig-uh-munt) is a tough band of fiberous tissue 

that connects bones or holds an organ in place.

- Specialized ligaments attach to the nail bed and matrix bed to 

the underlying bone. 

- These ligaments are located at the base of the matrix and 

around the wedges of the nail bed. 

Nail Folds

-The nail folds are normal skin that surround the nail plate. 

-These folds form the Nail Grooves, which are The slits or 

furrows on the side wall also known as the lateral nail fold, is 

the fold of skin overlapping the side of the nail.

Nail Growth

A persons general health can effect the out growth of a nail. A normal nail grows

 forward from the matrix and extends over the tips of the fingeres. Normal healthy

 nails can grow in a variety of shapes, depending on the size of the matrix. The 

length, width, and curvature of the matrix determine the thickness, width, and 

curvature of the natural nail plate. 

For example a longer matrix produces a thicker nail plate, a  highly curved 

matrix results in a highly curved free edge.

No product or procedure can make the nailplate grow Thicker because a thicker

nail plate would require a larger matrix. Toenails are also thicker and harder than

fingernails because the toenail matrix is longer than the fingernail matrix.

various nail shapes>

-The Average rate of Nail growth in the normal amount is 1/1o of an 

inch(2.5mm) per month

- Many factors affect the growth rate, age being one of them, compared to the 

nails of an average adult the nails cells in children reproduce rapidly, in 

comparison to that of elderly adults.

- Seasons also affect a nails growth; nails grow faster in the summer than they 

do in the winter.

- pregnancy dramatically affects nail growth as it dramatically increases 

throught the last trimester of pregnancy and dramatically slows then after 

birth allowing hormone levels to return to normal.

- (In spite of popular myth, nail growth increases rapidly whether or not you

 take prenatal vitamins)

- A nail's posistion on the body also affects the growth rate. The nail growth is 

fastest on that of the nail on the middle finger, and slowest on the thumb, 

and toenails grow more slowly than finger nails.

Nail malformation

If disease injury or infection occurs in the matrix The shape or thickness in the nail plate can change. 

- In fact, these condidtions are generally the only reasons that a person will shed a nail . Healthy nails are not shed autonomically like that of healthy hair is shed. 

- Often after disease injury or infection that has affected the nail's growth The natural nail will return to it's healthy growth as long as the matrix is healthy and undamaged. 

- Ordinarily, replacement of a natural fingernail takes about four to six months. Toenails take about nine months to one year to fully be replaced. 

Know your Nails !

Many cosmetologist love the creative and colorful aspect of nails and the quick money that can be made in learning them. However fully grasping and understanding the basics of all nail functions and diseases nail structure, and physiology will shurely give you a strong and confident knowledge that will reflect in your work. Remember, YOU set the tone for your client if they see some one nervous doing their nails they will be nervous, confident brushstrokes my dear is all it takes."

As a liscensed cosmetologist 

you are allowed to work only 

on healthy nails and skin, with 

no visible or known signs of 

disease and infection.

notes cited from : Milady Standard Cosmetology Cengage Learning Chapter 9 nail 

growth pg. 199-203

Nail Glossary 

Bed epithelium- Thin Layer of tissue that attaches to the nail plate and the nail bed.

Eponychium- Living skin at the base of the natural nail plate that covers the matrix area

Free edge- Part of the nail plate that extends over the the top of the finger or the toe 

Hyponychium-Slightly thickened layer of skin that lies between the fingertip and the free edge of the natural nail plate.

ligament-Tough band of fiberous tissue that connects bones or holds an organ in place. 

Lunula- Visible part of the matrix that extends from underneath the living skin; It is the whitish half moon shape at the base of the nail.

Matrix- Area where the nail plate cells are formed; this area is composed up of matrix cells that produce the nail plate.

Nail bed- Portion of the living skin that supports the nail plate as it grows outward.

Nail cuticle- Dead, colorless tissue that attaches to the natural nail plate.

Nail folds- Folds of normal skin that surround the natural nail plate

Nail grooves-Sits or furrows at the sides of the nail wall

Nail plate-Hardened keratin plate that sitson and covers the natural nail bed. It is the most visible and functional part of the natural nail unit.

Natural Nail- Also known as the onyx; or the hard protective keratin ,the same fiberous protein found in hair and skin. The keratin in natural nails is harder than the keratin in skin or hair. 

A brief review of skin structure, growth, and nutrition

Dermatology- The medical branch of science that deals with the study of skin- it's nature, structure, functions, diseases, and treatment.

Do  you have healthy skin?

Top 10 Foods for Clear Skin - Bite Size Wellness                                        

Healthy skin can breifly be described as being free of visible signs of 

disease, infection, or injury. slightly moist, soft and flexible. Healthy skin 

has a smooth, fine grained texture. The surface is slightly acidic.

Dermis definition - Medical Dictionary definitions of popular ...www.medterms.

The two main divisions of the skin are the Dermis, and the Epidermis.

ARTISTRY Skincare Structure 


Your Stratum corneum is the outter layer of the epidermis

Your stratum Granulosum is the layer of the epidermis that is composed up 

of cells that look like granules and are filled with keratin.

Your stratum Germinativum is the deepest layer of the epidermis. It's a live

 layer that produces new epidermal skin cells and is responsible for the 

growth of the epidermis. 

The dermis is constructed of two layers.........

The papillary or (outer-layer of the dermis) and the recticular-layer(the 

deeper layer of the dermis. Supplies skin with all of it's oxygen and 


Nerve Fibers...

There are several types of nerve fibers that surround the skin that you 

should know about when working with clients; These types of nerve fibers 

consist of :

The Motor nerve fibers

The Sensory nerve fibers

Secretory nerve fibers

Have you ever heard the expression you are what you eat ?

            The Clear Skin Diet              
Much truth can be made about this statment when in the topic of your skin. 

Because the skin cannot be nourishesd with cosmetic products this is a 

common myth, The nourishement must come from the food that we eat and 

put into our bodies. As our hair, nails, and skin, gennerally result in a 

mirror image of one's own personal health.

The age factor...

The skin and face is filled with what is called collagen and elastin, which 

over time can dramaticcly affect a persons appearance as they age. Some 

main factors for the cause of of the collagen weakening is due to Gravity, 

age, lack of moisture, or frequent changes in weight.Also try to avoid long 

tim exposure to uv rays that can be incredibly damaging to skin in 

numerous ways.

The Sudoriferous and sebaceous glands.....

Your sudoriferious gland is the gland responsible for excreating 

persperation and detoxifying the body by excreating excess salt and 

unwanted chemicals. Your sebacious glands secrete sebaum, a fatty oil 

substance that lubricates the skin and preserves the softness of the hair.

Your skin is important ....
Without skin the human body wouldn't have much chance to survive, not 

only is it the larest organ composed of the human body, but it also grants us 

protection from the harsh enviorment around us, it gives us sensation, it 

regulates our heat to keep our bodies warm. It also is responsible for 

excretion, secretion, and absorption.

The fuss about nutrients...
Many people feel the need to constantly add new sources of nutrients as part 

of their daily intake, however there are only 6 main nutrients that your body 

should be receiving because they matter the most. 





A great website where this image is from

protein/ water, which can be obtained from eating and drinking.

Of course in order to get a basic understanding of what nutrients to put into 

your body you must also have a basic undertanding of the five basic food 

groups which include,







4 vitamins that can help the skin.....

Vitamin a- Supports overall health of the skin

Vitamin c- Repair of the skin tissue 

Vitamin d- Enables the body to properly absorb calcium

Vitamin e - Protects the skin from uv rays

And of course theres  always that one thing that we just all couldn't live 

without... water ! The chemical component of h20,which acts as a natural 

binding fluid keeping all of our organs in place.

Safe drinking water is essential to humans and other lifeforms even though it provides no calories or organic nutrients. Access to safe drinking water has improved over the last decades in almost every part of the world, but approximately one billion people still lack access to safe water and over 2.5 billion lack access to adequate sanitation

* Here's an additional handy vitamin chart i found on google it's a great resource from :

(c) Cristina Lazalde
{works cited}
1.Miladys standard text book (pg. 156-153)2.wikipedia{images}(not in order) 3.

Chapter 14. The study of nails

a. Nail theory
b. Natural nail care
c. Artificial nail care

Chapter 15. The study of skin 

a. Skin Theory
b. Skin care
c. Hair removal
d. Makeup

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