Example of a normal lunula in a female thumb.

The lunula, or lunulae (a.k.a. the ‘nail moon’), is the crescent-shaped whitish area of the bed of a fingernail (or toenail). The lunula can also be described as the visible part of the nail matrix – which is the ‘root’ of the nail.

The lunula or the white ‘half moon’ at the base or proximal end of the fingernail is particularly smooth, flat and shiny. The whiteness of the lunula is still a matter of controversy but its absence – especialy when the lunula is not present in the first finger (thumb) – could be described as notable and important.

In certain chromosome abnormalities the lunula is absent, i.e., monosomia 4 and the lunulae may be diminished in trisomy 21 (= Down syndrome).

A technical description of the ‘lunuala’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:

“…the matrix is responsible for the majority of the nail plate substance. The proximal portion of the matrix lies beneath the nail folds and the distal curved edge can usually be seen through the nail plate as the white lunula.”

Example of a normal lunula in a male thumb.

Learn how to take care of your cuticles.

The function of the cuticle (or eponychium) in the nail anatomy is to function between the skin of the finger and the nail plate: the cuticle fuses these structures together and provides a waterproof barrier.

Many people experience problems with their cuticles for ragged cuticles can be annoying. Whatever you do, don’t snip or bite them off – instead you better use a nail pusher or a cuticle eliminator (see the picture below).

You can judge the ‘health’ of your cuticle by means of it’s: color & shape.

Actually, in terms of protection of your fingernail’s health the cuticle is likely the most important part of your nail!

A technical description of the ‘cuticle’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:

“The cuticle is the distal horny end-product of the proximal nail fold. The cuticle adhers to the nail plate and seals the nail from environmental pathogens and irritants.”

Do you have problems with your cuticles?

You can try the nail tutor:
The cuticle: find the cause of your nail disorder!

Example of how to use a cuticle eliminator.

The nail plate is the actual 'body of the nail'.

The nail plate – or ‘body of the nail’ – is a protective shield, shielding the delicate tissues of the underlying Nail Bed!

The overall growth speed of the nail plate is approximately 3mm in a month – though this speed varies from person to person. And growth speed also varies with lot’s of (im)personal circumstances such as: age, health, food intake, climate, seasons. So, it may take up to 6 months to grow a full nail plate, which implicates that the fingernail can mirror diseases of the nail back to 6 months!

Substances included in the nail plate are:
• Translucent keratin;
• Water (10-30%);
• Calcium (0.1%).

A technical description of the ‘nail plate’ from An Atlas of DISEASES OF THE NAIL:

“The nail plate is the smooth translucent structure that is the end-product of the keratinocyte differentiation in the nail matrix. It derives its normal color appearance from the underlying structures: pink from the vascular nail bed and white from the lunula and from air under the free edge of the nail.”

“The bulk of the nail plate comes from the nail matrix, and damage with scarring to the matrix can result in a permanent nail plate dystrophy, like a split or ridge. The surface of the nail plate is normally smooth and may develop longitudinal ridges as part of the aging process. Nail hardness is due to the disulfide bonds found in the keratin in the nail plate.”

The natural color of the nail plate is pink - a sign for having health fingernails.