What are fingernails made of? Why do they appear pink?

A whopping S250, 000 to paint your nails. I bet you would never, even for an instant, buy the offer.

Why would you flaunt a quarter-of-a-million-dollar-manicure when you can buy a house, a high-end car, and afford a tour to your dream destination, shopping spree, secure your child’s education, and buy a lot of things instead? If you had all these things but still don’t where to spend your brimming bank account, you can splurge on the world’s most expensive nail lacquer. This 267-carat black diamond-infused nail polish was created by a Jewelry couturier Azature, a self-described “Black Diamond King” adorned stars like Beyonce, Rihanna, Megan Fox, and Scarlett Johansson.

Fingernails matter to many people, especially women because it’s a way to express individual style, art, emotions, and status symbol. It is a way to cheer people up all day long while typing, driving, texting, or clinking a glass of wine with your friends.

People throughout history have paid particular attention to grooming their fingernails. Decorating the nails can be traced back to 5000 B.C. when women in India used henna to their fingertips. Later, in 4000 B.C., Babylonian men wore black or green kohl manicures. The Chinese then created nail stains from egg whites, vegetable dyes, and beeswax as early as 3000 B.C.

Polish colors, designs, and products may have drastically changed over the ages, but the love for nail adornment remains. We can see that Instagram, Pinterest, and other social media accounts are continuously graced with artistic nails. Thanks to trendsetters and screen sirens like Kylie Jenner, Jennifer Lopez, Margot Robbie, Cardi B, Gigi Hadid, Lady Gaga, Selena Gomez, and other already megastars.

Even the British Royals Queen Elizabeth, Kate Middleton, and Meghan Markle under strict protocols are spotted wearing nail polish. Unlike other celebrities who can freely wear glamorous nail polishes, the Royals can only stick to a classic neutral-tone.

In our new sophisticated era, there are various manicure styles to choose from – basic, vinylux, shellac, soft and hard gel, dip powder, gel nail extension, and acrylic.

Some people choose to take a break from nail polishes while some others don’t wear polishes at all. Those who go bare usually have pinkish fingernails. Why do they appear pink? What are fingernails made of?

Our fingernails are made of keratin, a protein that is also a fundamental component of hair and skin. Nails primarily support the tip of our fingers, protect our fingers from injury, and help us pick small objects. We don’t need nails to survive, but without it, we will have a hard time untying a knot or scratching an itch.

Nails start growing under the skin. As new cells grow, they push the old ones through the skin. The visible part is dead, so it doesn’t hurt when we cut it. Nevertheless, fingers need blood to grow out and create a nail. A fingernail has several parts, including the nail plate, the nail bed, the cuticle, the matrix, nail folds, and the lunula which is the whitish half-moon at the base of the nail. The capillaries or blood vessels where the blood flows help nails grow and give off a pinkish color. Healthy fingernails have a pink nail plate. (click here for more details)

Fingernails can grow at an average rate of 3.47 millimeters per month. Being younger has been associated with a faster nail growth rate, which peaks at puberty. Hormonal changes in pregnant women also result in rapid nail growth during pregnancy. We can maintain our nail health by regularly eating a balanced diet and taking biotin, trimming it, and avoiding glue-on nails and toxic polishes. (click here for more details)

As they say, “the eyes are the window to your soul,” and so are fingernails. The nail sends us clues to what’s going in our bodies. For instance, a person with anemia has pale, whitish nail beds.  Psoriasis starts in the nails up to 10% of the time, heart disease can turn the nails bed red, lupus patients have angular blood vessels in their nails, or bluish tint to fingernails is a sign of not enough oxygen in the lungs. It pays to notice any changes in our nails’ natural color because any changes in color, texture, shape, or color can mean an underlying health condition (click here for more details)