The nail matrix
The nail matrix is made up of clear, hardened skin cells which have been keratinised, or hardened and converted to keratin. Nails cover the nail bed, which is pink in colour due to the number of small capillaries present underneath. Towards the cuticle, the nail tends to get thicker which gives the nail a white appearance as the capillaries tend not to show through as much in this area. Nail growth occurs under the cuticle area and on average, nails grow around 1mm per week, although the nails on your longer fingers grow faster and nail growth is increased during the summer months.
Signs of poor nail health
- Vertical or horizontal ridging
- Cracking, splitting or peeling
- Nail separating from the nail bed
- White spots
Supporting healthy nails naturally
Biotin, also known as vitamin B7, helps support and maintain healthy nails, and helps to strengthen brittle nails and reduce nail splitting. In clinical trials, participants supplementing with 2.5mg of biotin daily, reported a reduction in nail splitting.
Collagen is your body’s most abundant protein, representing approximately 30% of total body protein. Collagen is a structural component of skins and nails that provides tensile strength and firmness.
- Omega fatty acids
Omega fatty acids, due to their fat content, help to moisturise nails and a deficiency increases your risk of dry, brittle nails. Omega fatty acids include those from fish (omega-3), flaxseed (omega-3, -6 and -9) and evening primrose oil (omega-6) and may help to strengthen split, brittle nails.
Silica is a trace mineral important for connective tissue strength and is abundant in skin and nails. Silica helps to maintain healthy nails and nail strength.
Zinc is essential for the formation of collagen in skin and connective tissue found in nails.