Integumentary System


Why are nails part of the integumentary system?

Nails, which are modifications of the epidermis, are protective coverings on the ends of the fingers and toes. Each nail consists of a nail plate that overlies a surface of skin called the nail bed. The whitish, thickened, half-moon shaped region (lunula) at the base of the nail plate is the most actively growing region. Nails, like hair, are primarily dead keratinized cells.

Anatomy of a toenail. (From Bickley, L.S., and Szilagyi, P. Bates’ Guide to Physical Examination and History Taking. 8th Ed. Philadelphia: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins, 2003.)

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