How come when nail grow, the flesh under them doesn’t come forward along with the nail as it grows?



Nails have a fleshy bottom layer attached to them that somehow doesn’t come forward with the nail as it grows, why is that?

In: Biology

The ‘fleshy bottom layer’ (or nail groove) contains the dividing cells. The way you can see it is that when the cells here divide, one daughter cell will remain and will keep dividing. The other one will migrate up towards the nail, start to produce a lot of keratin (the stuff that makes our nails so strong) and will eventually die and become part of the nail itself. So the nail groove doesn’t move, but continuously pushes new keratin into the nail, this pushes the already existing keratin further up, thus our nail grows.

Edit: just to make sure this isn’t misunderstood: the nail groove is at the base of the nail, not the whole skin UNDER the nail, that’s the nail bed (the nail groove is it’s most proximal part, so there where the nail bed and nail itself meet (this needs a picture…)).


another question id like to add: why do we grow nails?



The flesh of the nail bed is actually a very thin epidermis. It’s one of the reasons your nails appear red because the the dermis underneath is full of blood vessels. Your nail grows over this epidermis starting from the nail fold, an area under the cuticle. The nail grows towards the tips of your fingers over the nail bed, while the cells of the nail bed contribute to the thickness of your nail. Just like the cells of the epidermis on the rest of your skin, the cells of the nail bed that contribute to your nail fill will keratin, flatten, and die, causing them to detach from their neighbors. This is why the flesh isn’t pushed forward as the nail grows.

My sister is a nail tech and it DOES grow. If properly treated your nail bed become longer (more pink less white) this is needed for nail art competitions. In 6 months mine have grown 3mm.

If you want to do it don’t cut your nails only file and moisturizer.


Speak for yourself, I left my big toe untrimmed too long and now that skin has grown out some and I can’t cut the nail back as far as it used to, very irritating…

The nail starts stacking up from the beginning, but the hyponychium (the skin just below the nail that completes the seal) stays mostly at the same place. However, I have a condition in which the skin does grow and the hyponychium may go past the nail. I may occasionally tear that skin when doing something with my hands.

Your nail bed length and shape is genetically predetermined. The hyponychium, the fleshy part under your nail where the nail bed meets the nail plate, is essentially a guardian seal to help prevent any dirt from getting under your nails, same with the eponychium which is up near the keratinized proximal nail fold (commonly confused for the cuticle).

It can become detached (onycholysis) due to picking/scraping under the nail, chemical reactions (looking at you, Mentality Polish), or from hitting your nail at the wrong angle and having it lift from the nail plate. In this instance, the nail bed will eventually reattach itself but it won’t grow the nail bed any longer than it was initially.

Some people have a hyponychium that extends past the tip of their finger and when they break a nail, this can be incredibly painful.

In cases of severe nail biters, the nail bed can reattach itself & lengthen as the nail is allowed to grow out, but it will not be any longer than it was before the nail biting habit was formed.

That being said, if anyone has any questions regarding nail care, please don’t hesitate to message me. Nails are a passion of mine!!

Wheels. There are wheels there…

…I have a five year old. Okay, so the flesh that renews itself there is probably faster growing and so it works, LIKE wheels or a conveyer belt at the grocery store. Or your fingers unrolling the toilet paper roll, by the way don’t use QUITE that much paper, dear. ELI5, mom edition… have a happy day folks. Hope you laughed. 🙂

Is anyone going to actually answer the question ?

Since no one seems to be answering the actual question…

Imagine you are on the playground and there is a set of monkey bars ([these things]( But they are very special monkey bars. They are attached to a motor that makes them move (almost like a conveyor belt or a treadmill), and you can just stay in place swinging from one bar to the next as they move above you. If they move too fast you would be dragged along, but since they move slow enough, you have time to swing along and keep pace with the motor.

Similarly, your nail grows so slowly that the skin cells it’s attached to have time to adjust to the movement. That’s why the flesh doesn’t come forward also.

Related question: Can I make so that the white part of the fingernail begins further out on the finger?

My fleshy bottom layer does grow with my nail, actually…but I have a condition called subungual hyperkeratosis. I have to cut off a bunch of skin every time I cut my nails, and if I’m not careful I can hurt myself.