For many of us, our nails are merely a vehicle for polish—we use them as a means of adornment without thinking all too much about the nails themselves.
Well, after you read the following nine facts below, you may feel differently about the protein-coating on your digits (and toes, for that matter). Here are some fun tidbits of trivia you probably didn’t know about your nails.
1. Primates are the only animals with nails.
Technically speaking, it’s just us humans and monkeys-slash-apes when it comes to having nails, rather than harder claws.
2. Men’s nails grow faster than women’s nails.
Weird, but true: The only possible exception to this general rule is during pregnancy, when women’s nails tend to grow at a faster rate. Everyone’s nails, however, grow faster in the summer months regardless of sex.
3. Your nails grow at different speeds.
On average, your fingernails grow about 3.5 millimeters per month. However, your middle fingernail grows the fastest, while your thumb nail grows the slowest. Fingernails overall grow faster than toenails, which are about twice a thick as fingernails.
4. Cutting your nails helps them grow.
While you may think that putting away the clippers will keep your nails growing, they’ll actually grow quicker if you cut them regularly.
5. Typing is good for your nails.
Tapping your nails lightly on a surface and typing on a computer can in fact stimulate nail growth.
6. White spots on your nails are NBD.
You may have heard the tall tale that having white spots on your nails means you have a calcium deficiency. Not true. Typically, a white spot is just a point where your nail was dented or was under more pressure than usual, resulting in a speck.
7. Water is essential for healthy nails.
Your nails, however, can indicate the state of your overall health. Dry, brittle nails, for example, may signal dehydration.
8. Cuticles are there for a reason.
While many of us still do it, getting your cuticles cut at the nail salon is a big no-no. Cutting them off can make your nails more prone to infection since your cuticles’ main purpose is to help your nails retain moisture and seal out bacteria.
9. You shouldn’t cut your nails in the dark.
An old wives’ tale declares that cutting your nails after dark is bad luck. Of course, this is pure superstition—feel free to get your mani on while watching late night TV.