A person’s nails are as unique as the individual, with genetics playing a heavy role in how your hair and nails grow. All of your nail traits, such as thickness, density, shape, growth rate, and growth direction, are determined by heredity. However, there can be outside forces that may disturb what your body naturally wants to do. With proper care and occasional medical treatment, your nails may be capable of achieving your desired look.


Closeup view of beautiful female hands on towel

The most common reasons for your nails to be growing upwards are heredity, onychogryphosis, overgrowth of your hyponychium, nail-patella syndrome, koilonychia, anemia, lung disease, wearing the wrong size shoes, too much sweat getting caught under the nail, and injury. If your nails have always grown upwards, then it is most likely just your genetics at play.

Young female in white t-shirt suffering from pain in hands and massaging her painful hands

Similar to how each part of your face is decided by genetics, each component of your nail is determined by the traits you received from your biological mother and father. Your nails are made up of six parts: the nail matrix, nail plate, nail bed, lunula, nail folds, and the cuticle.

  • The nail matrix is the root of your nail that is planted in a small pocket beneath your skin.
  • The nail plate is the visible part of the nail, which is where you normally apply nail polish or paint.
  • Underneath the nail plate hides the nail bed, which is where the nail plate nestles into the finger.
  • It’s your nail folds that hold the nail plate in place.
  • Along your nail fold, you may see a crescent-shaped marking at the base of your nail plate. This is called the lunula.
  • The final part of your nail is the cuticle, which is the thin tissue that covers where your nail plate comes out from beneath the skin.

How to clean under your nails (without ruining your manicure)

Damage to the nail bed, nail plate, or the nail matrix can result in your nail’s growth being interrupted. However, infection in any part of the nail may also affect the growth of your nail. Keeping your nails clean and trimmed is the best way to treat nails that are prone to growing upwards if caused by nail damage or genetics. However, upward-growing nails caused by the disease will need to be treated by a medical professional.


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