Fact or Fiction: Fingernails

Estimated Completion Time
3 min
Fact or Fiction: Fingernails
Image: CarlinaShots/Moment/Getty Images

About This Quiz

Fingernails are an odd thing if you really think about them. What are they there for, anyway? And why do we file, buff and paint them outrageous colors? Nails are for more than decoration, though. Did you know that they can indicate if you have serious health problems? Take our quiz to find out what could be wrong if you have yellow or purple nails.
We have fingernails to protect our fingertips and toes.
fact
fiction
almost fact: They originally developed as weapons.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

While we suppose certain people could use their fingernails as weapons, most of us have them as a sort of passive protection for our fingers and toes.

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Some scientists argue that without fingernails, the tips of our fingers and toes would have genetically developed to become more sensitive.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Our fingers and toes would probably be less sensitive without nails.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The theory is that our fingers and toes would be less sensitive without nails.

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Nails are made of keratin, which is also found in your skin and hair.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's in your skin, but not your hair. Nails, skin and hair all contain keratin.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

The theory is that our fingers and toes would be less sensitive without nails.

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About a quarter of the kids and teens in the United States bite their nails.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's more like half.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Fifty percent of Americans between the ages of 10 and 18 are nail-biters.

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Most people stop biting their nails by the time they're 18.
fact
fiction
almost fact: A little longer than that -- 25 is the age.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

It's not until 30 that almost everyone is done with nail-biting.

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Your fingernails will continue to grow for about a week after you die.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's only about two days.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Nails don't continue to grow after death. The appearance of growth in the nails is actually just the shrinkage of the previously living skin from the nail plate.

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Women's nails grow faster than men's nails.
fact
fiction
almost fact: There's no difference.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Men's nails grow just a little bit faster than women's.

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Fingernails grow about 2 to 3 millimeters every month.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's more like 4 to 5 millimeters.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Two to 3 millimeters is about right for most people -- except in the summer, when they grow a little faster.

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Your toenails grow about 1 millimeter a month.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's even slower than that -- not even half a millimeter.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Your toenails grow at about half the rate as your fingernails -- 1 millimeter a month for most people.

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If you lose an entire fingernail, it'll take about two months for it to fully grow back.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It will take about four to six months.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

You might have to wait almost half a year for that nail to be back in business.

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If you're right-handed, the nails on your right hand will grow slightly faster.
fact
fiction
almost fact: The nails on the least-used hand actually grow faster.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

For some reason, the nails grow faster on your dominant hand.

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The woman with the longest fingernails in the world hasn't cut her nails since 1965.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's been since 1979.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Lee Redmond hasn't picked up nail clippers since the days of disco -- 1979.

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Lee Redmond's right thumbnail is almost four feet long.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's "only" a foot long.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

According to the Guinness Book of World Records, it's 2 feet 11 inches (88.9 centimeters) long.

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You shouldn't use nail polish remover more than once a week -- it can weaken and dry out your nails.
fact
fiction
almost fact: You should use it even less -- maybe once every two weeks.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Twice a month is the general rule of thumb for nail polish remover -- any more could damage your nails.

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The most popular nail-salon treatment is artificial nails.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Nope, it's a French manicure.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Artificial nails are the way to go, in the United States, at least.

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Looking at your nails can give you important clues about your health. The next few questions will deal with symptoms that you can see in your nails. Here's the first one: Yellow nails may indicate a respiratory problem like chronic bronchitis.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Respiratory problems usually cause cracked and brittle nails.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Yes, yellow nails could be a sign of chronic bronchitis.

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Bluish nails may be an indication of renal failure.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Nails with white spots are a sign of renal failure.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Nope, renal failure can be indicated by half-white, half-pink nails.

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A melanoma could show up as a black, brown or purple nail.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Black, brown and purple color is always a sign of a bruise under the nail.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Yes, you could get a bruise that discolors your nail, but if you know you haven't been injured, a black or brown nail could be a melanoma.

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If your nail beds are pale, it can indicate that you're suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.
fact
fiction
almost fact: Pale nail beds are a sign of anemia.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Anemic people often have pale-colored nail beds.

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Yellowish nails -- with a slight pink hue at the base -- can be an indicator of untreated diabetes.
fact
fiction
almost fact: It's when you're taking diabetes medication that your nails can turn this color.
Correct Answer
Wrong Answer

Get yourself to a doctor immediately if you see this shade on your nails -- you could have diabetes.

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You Got:
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