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On the surface, it seems like skin, hair and nails don’t have much in common but if you take a closer look, you’ll see that they do in fact have a few things in common. Starting with their origin. In this article, we look at how our hair and nails are more similar than we think. To do this, we need to start with the integumentary system.
The integumentary system is the largest organ of the body that forms a physical barrier between the external environment and the internal environment that it serves to protect and maintain. This system, in addition to its barrier function, performs numerous intricate functions such as body temperature regulation, cell fluid maintenance, Vitamin D synthesis, and stimuli detection.
Our integumentary system includes the epidermis, dermis, hypodermis, associated glands, hair, and nails. In this article, we will focus on our hair and nails.
Hair is one of the distinguishing features of mammals. Mammals are the only animals that have hair. Hair grows from the dermis rather than the epidermis. Hair develops from within the hair follicle. The bulb, or bottom part of the hair, is where new cells grow. Older cells are pushed up, causing the hair to grow longer. The hair strand's cells are dead and filled with the rope-like protein keratin. See figure below:
Nails resemble claws in other animals. They protect the tips of your fingers and toes. Nail beds are where fingernails and toenails grow. More cells are added to the nail bed as the nail grows. Older cells are pushed away from the nail bed, and the nail lengthens.
What our nails and hair have in common
- Both our hair and nails serve to protect us in one way or another. Nails act as protective plates over the fingertips and toes and hair acts as a filter to keep bacteria out of certain body parts as well as to keep the body warm.
- Both the nails and hair contain the tough protein, keratin. Keratin forms fibres which give your nails and hair their toughness and strength.
- Both the visible nail and hair stands are made up of only the dead keratin cells.
However, something interesting about our hair is, it can only be as healthy as you are whilst the condition of your nails as they emerge from the proximal end can be an indicator of your overall health. Interesting right?
If you would like to improve your hair and nail health, we recommend looking into skin, hair & nail supplements found at your nearest Clicks or Dis-Chem retailer.
To healthy hair and nails!
Love MPL 🧡.