Eli5: How does the skin under my fingernails know to “let go” of the nail once it reaches the end of the finger?

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I’ve got a hangnail right now…. I can either rip it off now and deal with the pain, or just wait for it to grow out and then it just lets go somehow.

In: 155

So your nail doesn’t actually grow parallel to your finger, like you might think. It actually grows upward and outward, perpendicular to your finger, from what’s called the ‘nail bed’. Your nail bed cells know to produce the harder cellular structure of a fingernail and they continuously produce more of it, which causes your nail to grow parallel away from your finger.

The nail bed is the part that ‘sticks’ the nail to your finger, as you put it. Where the nail bed ends is where the nail stops sticking.

Nails grow from a small strip of cells under your cuticle, matrix, that’s why some people who injured their cuticle can have permanent nail deformities even tho the rest of the structure of finger is fine.

Hard keratin of your nail gets pushed continuously forward and nail plate is soft tissue that ends at a predetermined point and then turns into a protective layer called hyponychium that separates nail plate and everything in the world that you touch that wants to harm or live inside of you. It’s that layer that let’s go as it wears off naturally with use.

Try a dab of crazy glue.

It will either glue whatever nail is left together, or act like a nail & protect that sensitive skin. If you need to build up some material baking soda will help reinforce the glue & make a composite material you can sand down.

My nails suck & I supposedly have cuticle psoriasis so every part of them sucks. My nails were always chipping & peeling with cuticles that would spit & never stay attached to the nail.(I’ve tried 100 creams & nothing is 1/3rd as good as t*he Naked Bee Orange Blossom Honey Hand Salve,* it’s magic)

Women **definitely** notice your nails & hate gross & ugly ones.

I used to get really bad ingrown toenails in my big toe that would end up getting infected. I would always fuck with them & make them worse… it’s so annoying having that little stab of pain in every step.

Eventually I tried recreating & reinforcing where the nail should be with a bit of index card & crazy glue. Once it stopped bothering me I stopped making them worse & haven’t had one for a decade.

on the subject of foot care, I keep a roll of paper medical tape nearby, especially when breaking in new boots. It’s like an instant portable callous & amazing to prevent or protect blisters.

It’s great for covering up mosquito bites so they don’t itch & don’t get itchier when you scratch them as well.

Combining paper tape with a piece of a 2″ x 2″ hydrocolloid bandage cut to fit also makes for the ultimate bandaid.

it’s all magic stuff. crazy glue, paper tape, hydrocolloid bandage is the ultimate first aid kit. Add in some quikclot & a tampon (puncture/gunshot) & you can endure anything uncomfortable & survive anything survivable. Not only can you glue a bad wound closed, you can glue the tampon string to the far side of the cut use it to pull an even bigger wound closed (then glue other side to hold & double back.

… This turned into a rant, but I raised myself in a lot of ways so I endured these pet peeves for a looooong time before figuring something out & it just feels so nice to have less problems.

Maybe I’m the only one that didn’t see it this way before but I only recently realized our nails and hair are designed to be disposable/constantly wearing down.