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Which of Your Fingernails Grows at the Slowest Rate?

Updated May 16, 2024
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Have you ever marveled at how quickly your fingernails grow? While it may not sound like much, fingernails grow approximately a tenth of a millimeter every day, which adds up to over 3 millimeters per month.

Interestingly, not all of your nails grow at the same rate. Longer fingers tend to have a faster nail growth rate than shorter fingers, as do the nails on your dominant hand compared to your non-dominant hand. There seems to be a consensus among researchers that the nail on your little finger (also known as your pinkie) grows more slowly than the others.

Perhaps even more surprisingly, nails tend to grow faster during the summer compared to the winter, as well as daytime versus nighttime.

Factors such as age, hormones, and health can also affect the overall growth rate of your nails. Research has shown that younger people experience faster nail growth than older people, as they tend to have better circulation. Likewise, nail growth seems to reach its fastest speed as hormone levels rise during puberty. On the other hand, chronic health conditions such as lupus, liver disease, thyroid disease, and kidney disease can impact the shape, growth, and appearance of nails.

There are many things you can do to help strengthen your nails and promote their overall health. Avoiding glue-on nails and toxic polishes, keeping your nails clean, and taking biotin supplements may prove beneficial. Of course, if you think your nails aren’t growing the way they should, there could be an underlying medical condition at fault, and you might consider talking to your doctor about the issue.

Nail knowledge:

  • It can take up to six months for a fingernail to completely grow back. If you lose a toenail, you could be waiting up to a year and a half for another one to replace it!

  • Pregnant women often experience rapid nail growth. This is due to the dramatic increase in estrogen and progesterone levels during pregnancy.

  • "Onychophagia" is the scientific name for the chronic habit of biting your nails.

  • The term "pinkie" comes from the Dutch word "pink," which literally means "little finger."

WiseGeek is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
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