The nail bed is the fleshy part of the nail unit. It is made up of stratified epithelial tissue and is also containing blood vessels and nerve endings. The blood vessels nourish the new cells that arise from actively dividing cells at the proximal area. The thicker layer of mitotically-active cells at the proximal area is referred to as the nail matrix.1 The blood circulating through the blood vessels in the nail bed accounts for the healthy pinkish appearance of the nails.2 The nerve endings present in the nail bed account for the sensing of temperature, pain, etc.3
The nail bed should not be confused with the nail plate, which is the hardened layer that sits on top of the nail bed. The nail bed is attached to the nail plate by a thin layer of tissue called the bed epithelium.2
- matrix unguis
- keratogenous membrane
1 Henrikson, R., Kaye, G. & Mazurkiewicz, J. (1997). Histology. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins.
2 Milady. (2014). Milady Standard Nail Technology. Cengage Learning publisher.
3 Nordmann, L. (2007). Beauty basics : the official guide to level 1. London: Thomson Learning.