The nail matrix is made up of a layer of cells situated at the base of the fingernail or the toenail. It is found at the posterior half of the nail bed, and beneath the proximal nail fold. The skin cells in the nail matrix are mitotically active and are regarded as the most rapidly dividing skin cells. They grow four times faster than toenails. The growth rate is about 3 mm a month. Thus, the nail matrix is regarded as the nail-forming tissue.1 It gives rise to the nail plate.2
Accordingly, the nail matrix has three main parts: (1) the dorsal region, (2) the intermediate region, and (3) the ventral region. The dorsal region gives rise to a large part of the superficial layers whereas the intermediate region forms the deeper layers of the nail plate. The distal layers are formed by the formative layers of the nail matrix at the ventral region.3
1 Zuber, T. & Mayeaux, E. (2004). Atlas of primary care procedures. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
2 Venkataram, M. (2012). ACS(I) textbook on cutaneous and aesthetic surgery. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers.
3 Sacchidanand, S. & Savitha, A. (2013). Nail and its disorders. New Delhi: Jaypee Brothers Medical Publishers (P) LTD.