Nail Artistry & Education

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The Lunula

Posted on January 29, 2015 at 9:35 AM

When looking directly at the nail plate you will normally see a small opaque white area that looks like a half moon at the base of the nail near the cuticle area, this area is known as the Lunula. The name Lunula comes from the latin word for Moon. To fully understand what this "lunula" is and why sometimes the lunula is more visible than others, we need to understand where the nail starts and how it grows.


The mother of the nail. The nail plate is created in an area called the matrix which lies directly below the eponychium underneth the skin. The matrix is a small area of living tissue and It is the most important part of the entire nail unit. This area is considered the “mother” of the nail, and is where the cells are produced that makes up the nail plate. These cells are made of a special protein called keratin and are the building blocks of the nail plate. The matrix will produce healthy cells as long as it receives nutrients from the arteries and is unharmed. If the matrix gets damaged in any way, the production process will be altered. It is very important to protect the matrix by taking special care when manicuring or prepping for an enhancement service.

The eponychium and cuticle together become the seal that protects the matrix. If this seal is punctured and damage to the matrix occurs, it can lead to infection and nail deformities.The size and shape of the matrix determines the thickness, width and curvature of the nail plate. Ifsomeone has a short matrix, then they will have a thin natural nail. Some ask, “Is there anything that you can eat or drink that will make your nails thicker?” The answer is “No”. It is genetic and the length of the matrix cannot be changed any more than you can change the length of your fingers.

The Lunula. This is where the lunula comes into the nail unit. The matrix length starts under the skin where the eponychium is, and grows to include the white area of the Lunula. Basically the lunula is the front part of the matrix we can see. On some fingers the lunula is not visible; however it is tucked under the eponychium, and out of sight.The lunula appears white because the cells have not completely flattened and are still in the process of compressing. The cells are still somewhat plump and round in the lunula, which is why this area of the nail plate is white (the cells are white) and is the thinnest and the softest part of the nail plate, Extreme care must be taken when using any type of implement or file on the nail plate over the lunula…remember it is the thinnest and softest part of the natural nail, and is the easiest part to puncture or damage.

 

Interesting facts:

 

  1. You can tell if a person is right handed or left handed, by looking at the size of the lunula on the thumb. The lunula is larger on the dominant hand. This will hold true most of the time.
  2. You can judge how fast your metabolism is by the size of your lunula. The lunula is the cresent shaped white spot on the base of your fingernail. Some people have BIG ones, and some people can barely even seen their lunula. It has been noted that a small lunula may indicate a low metabolism while a large lunula can indicate an active metabolism.

 

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