Why do people grow long nails

Do hair and nails continue to grow after death?

Hair and nails continue to grow after death? Nice scary story, but by no means true

Again and again there are reports of corpses laid out whose whiskers are said to be getting longer every day. And mummies seem to have unnaturally long fingernails - as if these body cells had lived on for a while after the death of a person. But can that really be? And how do hair and nails grow in the first place?

In the hair follicle, more precisely the hair papilla, new horn cells are constantly being created through cell division. They push old, dead horny cells in front of them: the hair. Finger and toenails grow in a similar way. The nail plate is made up of cells of the nail matrix, which lies under the nail plate and shimmers through the nail in a crescent shape. Here, too, after each cell division, new cells push the old ones in front of them, causing the nail to grow.

Without energy there is no growth of hair and nails

Cell division, however, is a process that requires energy. And the cells can only generate energy if the necessary nutrients are available. The blood circulation, to which the hair papillae and the nail plate are also connected, is responsible for the transport of nutrients. But the transport system of a dead person no longer works when the heart stops beating. The cell metabolism and cell division come to a standstill - and with it the growth of hair and nails.

And yet, mummies seem to have long fingernails. This is because the flesh of the fingers slowly collapses, but the nail remains the same size. The skin of the face of a corpse also shrinks, which is why the whiskers gradually appear. So it is not the hair and nails that grow, but the rest of the body becomes smaller.