Why the nails are of white colour from bottom? then why they are pink and again white in the end?

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because there is not any sign of prior effort on OP 's side. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 7:21
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    $\begingroup$ @AliceD, I don't find the answer by googling with similar phrase. If you know about the answer, can you please share it? Also, why it's off-topic? I think, it fits in biology, isn't it? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 12:14
  • $\begingroup$ @CoolZeroInfinity - That bit of research you just did is what I would like to see in OP's question. As of now the Q is just too easily thrown into this community. We like to maintain a certain question standard. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 12:57
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    $\begingroup$ I think anyone should be able to ask a question here - its not a homework site. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Commented Jul 6, 2015 at 0:52
  • $\begingroup$ While I agree that anyone should be able to ask a question here, I think we have the right to request that certain standards are met. We have not said this person can not ask a question, but directed them (using the tools available e.g. close votes) to improve the question to meet those standards @shigeta meta.biology.stackexchange.com/questions/449/… $\endgroup$
    – rg255
    Commented Jul 7, 2015 at 5:16

2 Answers 2


The Nightman is giving you a headstart to understand and read about nail colour.

I would like to add a different view to this question from "Colour and Pathology" point of view. Finger nails have been an excellent source of evidence for the initial physical diagnosis process. Nail colour and texture can be an indiator for a wide range of medical conditions.

You may take a look at this link : The hand in Diagnosis Process and discusses about nail pathology.. However this diagnosis gets a little tedious if the patient has colourfully painted their nails with nail polish...

I see many of the answers do include an image - well at the end it's anatomy.

enter image description here

Here's a relative simple and fun to read article to clarify any doubts you have about Keratin in nails being dead or not, for its colour and why it's tough.

The cuticle and matrix are white because the melanocytes there are inactive, so there is no pigment produced. The matrix cells divide and the new cells produce a lot of keratin protein.

The older cells fill with keratin and die, and the new cells push them out of the way – this means toward the end of your finger. This is how your nails grow.

But our fingernail doesn’t look like individual cells. You are sloughing millions of skin cells each day, but for a nail the dead cells all mass together. Nails only wear away or must be trimmed. Individual cells are not lost. The solidity of the nail comes from the connecting of the dead cells together by junctions between the cells called desmosomes, and by the interlocking of the cells like jigsaw puzzle pieces. But there’s more.

Individual keratin protein filaments also become connected so that the entire mass of keratin becomes one solid structure. This is called cornification, like the stratum corneum (the outer, dead layers) of your skin.

One of the two main forms of keratin in your nails is crystalline keratin, which is rigid, stronger, and has an ordered structure - like a tinker toy cube. Transmitted light is less likely to strike an atom and bounce back when the atoms are all lined up, so this is why many crystalline lattices appear translucent.

  • $\begingroup$ Great referenced answer, it doesn't address the question though. -1 $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 14:43
  • $\begingroup$ @AliceD this is my first answer in this site :( well I stated it is a different view :) $\endgroup$
    – bonCodigo
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 15:15

The Nail itself consists of dead keratinous cells that shrink upon dying and become translucent. This gives the nail itself its white coloration. The reason it appears pink when it overlaps the finger is because of underlying blood vessels that color the live tissue pink just like your skin, and this shows through the nail itself. The lunula is the most proximal region of the fingernail that is crescent shaped and appears more white than the rest of the nail bed. The reason for the whiter color is that the underlying blood vessels are obscured by a denser stratum basale (one of the lower layers of the skin).

See: Human Anatomy by Martini If you don't have this book, you could at least start at wikipedia which does describe the anatomy of the fingernail with more or less accuracy: Wikipedia

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    $\begingroup$ Interesting answer. +1. A reference or a few links would be great though. $\endgroup$
    – AliceD
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 12:58
  • $\begingroup$ @The Nightman, answer sounds logical, I thought something like same :-) but didn't have any reference. Can you provide any reference please? $\endgroup$ Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 13:09
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    $\begingroup$ Fingernails are not made of dead cells, they are made of Keratin. $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Commented Jul 5, 2015 at 14:47

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