How Long Does It Take For Nails To Grow?

We’ve all been there. We’ve been trimming our nails, trying to get them looking fantastic. We then trim them a touch too short. It happens. It’s frustrating too. Most of us know that if we cut our nails too short, we are going to be waiting seemingly forever for those nails to grow back. It is a waiting game.  But, how long does it take for nails to grow?

Here, we want to discuss a few of the things that can impact the speed at which your nails grow, as well as give you a couple of tips for making those nails grow back faster. You won’t be able to do much, but every little helps when you are desperate to spruce up your nails again. Our main focus here will be on toenails, although the information will also apply to fingernails. We’ve gathered this information and tons of foot care information in this your Best Personal Care Products website.


How fast do fingernails grow?

how long does it take nail grow

Fingernails grow at roughly 1/8th of an inch per month, while toenails grow at about a third of that speed. This is an average. There are a variety of factors that can impact how fast both your toe and fingernails grow. This includes your age, the size of the nail, the size of the finger/toe, etc.

Your diet will even play a role. However, even when the stars align and your nails are growing in perfect conditions, they still grow slowly. This means that you will be waiting around for a while for your nails to grow back.


The Nail-Growing Process: How long does it take? 

how long does it take nail grow

Before we discuss how long does it take for nails to grow, let’s discuss a little about the growing process. This should give you an idea of why nails grow so slowly. 

When most people think of nails, they think of the visible part on top of their fingers. However, this is just one part of your nail system. It isn’t even the most important part. The important part of the nail growth system is the nail matrix, which is underneath your skin.

At the base of most nails, you will notice a white half-moon shape. Don’t worry if you don’t have one. Not everybody does. It may only be visible on your thumb. Just below that is the nail matrix. Here, there is a series of blood vessels, nerves, and lymph nodes. This system extends about 1/8th of an inch under the skin. This nail matrix is working overtime to produce cells. It never stops producing new cells.

All of the new cells that the nail matrix creates get compressed together and, eventually, they die. As new cells are made, these dead, compressed cells are pushed upwards. That’s what makes up your visible nails. Yep. Your nails are dead cells. That’s why, when you cut your nails, you can’t feel anything. Same as your hair.

While your nail matrix is constantly producing new cells, it is a slow process (cells are quite small, after all). This means that nails take a while to grow. In fact, the top of your nails could be formed of dead cells anywhere from 6-8 months old.


How Long Does It Take For Nails to Grow?

how long nail grow

As we said at the start, your fingernails will grow, on average, about 1/8th of an inch per month. Your toenails grow at about a third of this speed. To put that into perspective, if you lost a fingernail, it would take around 6-8 months for it to fully grow back. If you lost a toenail, it could take well over a year. So, before you start going crazy and cutting away with your best nail clippersit may be worth thinking about whether you really need to be trimming your nails, or at least being a bit more careful with how much you take off at once. Even then, accidents can happen.

Of course, this growth speed is just an average. The speed at which your nails grow can vary considerably. Some people may find that their nails grow ever so slightly faster than the numbers we gave here, while others find that they experience barely any growth at all. Let’s run you through the factors that can impact nail growth speed. 


12 Key Factors to Consider for Nail Growth

how fast fingernails grow

The question of “How fast do nails grow?” is a common one and isn’t always easy to answer definitively. However, understanding the main factors can help you get a clearer idea. Here’s a breakdown of those factors:


1. Cellular Activity

The rapidity of nail growth largely depends on cellular activity within the nail matrix. High cellular activity means quicker nail growth, and vice versa.

2. Body Temperature

Believe it or not, your body temperature plays a role. Higher body temperature can boost the speed of nail growth. This is one of the reasons why nails tend to grow faster during fevers.

3. Nutrient Absorption

Just as plants grow faster and healthier with the right nutrients, so do our nails. The more efficiently your body absorbs essential nutrients, the faster your nails will grow.

4. Overall Health

A healthier body generally means faster-growing nails. If your body is busy fighting off illness, it won’t prioritize nail growth.

5. Time of Day

Oddly enough, nails seem to grow faster during the day than at night. The exact reason isn’t known, but it’s an intriguing fact.

Now that we’ve addressed the question of “How fast do nails grow?” let’s delve deeper into the length of time required for complete regrowth.

6. Where The Nail is Located

Generally speaking, nails on longer toes and fingers will grow slightly faster. Presumably, this is because of the purpose of your nails. They are there to protect the nail bed (i.e. that bit beneath your skin), so the body ensures that they grow faster on the larger fingers/toes to ensure that they are always properly protected.

Toenails grow far slower for two reasons:

  1. The toenail is much thicker.
  2. Your toenails don’t deal with as much trauma as fingernails (more on that in the next section!). 

7. Dominant Hand (Fingernails Only)

Studies have shown that fingernails on the dominant hand grow a lot faster. This is because the nails on the dominant hand are much more likely to deal with trauma i.e. small snags of the nail here and there. When the nail gets snagged, the nail matrix is ‘stimulated’ to produce more cells, increasing the nail growth rate. It is a marginal increase, but it is very, very noticeable. 

This is one of the reasons why toenails don’t grow back quite as fast as fingernails do. Outside of extreme situations, you probably won’t be damaging your toes all that much. Your fingernails will be scratching, grabbing, etc. Your toenails just ‘exist’.

8. Nail Genetics 

While research is still preliminary, one study suggests that genetics can play a role in how fast your nails grow. If you have a direct relative with fast nail growth, then chances are that you will have fast nail growth too. This research is still preliminary, so we aren’t 100% sure of the genes that play a role in nail growth (if they even do), but if this research continues then it could pave the way for certain therapies to increase nail growth speed, if only marginally. 


9. Age Determines Nail Growth

how long does it take nail grow

As you age, you stop growing. Studies have shown that the nail growth rate of somebody in their 60s is about 75% of the speed of somebody in their 20s. This makes sense, really. Blood circulation is important for the development of cells in the nail matrix. As you get older, blood circulation will be impacted, slowing down the speed of a variety of functions in your body including nail growth. 


10. Hormones also Play a Major Role

Those going through puberty have higher rates of nail growth. You will also find that nails grow considerably faster if you are pregnant. But, the speed will slow down drastically once you have given birth.

Both estrogen and progesterone levels have been shown to boost nail growth speeds. The higher the levels of these hormones, the faster the nails will grow. Testosterone also seems to be very important for nail growth. Testosterone is a vital component of keratin production (this is what your nails are made of). Low testosterone levels can lead to a decrease in nail growth speeds, and boosting testosterone can help to restore it.

Not all hormones are good, though. If you have high amounts of stress, your body will produce more of the cortisol hormone. While this has a variety of different impacts on your body, it can also inhibit nail growth speed. 


11. Nail Cutting Frequency for Nail Growth

You would think that nail cutting would slow down nail growth speed, but it doesn’t. Sure, you will lose a bit of your nails for a while, but studies have shown that regular nail cutting can stimulate growth.

Why? Because you are causing ‘trauma’ to your nails. By now, you already know that causing trauma to your nails will stimulate your nail matrix into producing more cells. This leads to faster growth.

Technically, biting your nails would have the same effect. However, there are a lot of issues with nail-biting, and it should be avoided wherever possible. We suggest that you read our Harperton Nail Clipper Set reviews if you are in the market for a good nail clipper set that could help to boost nail growth speeds.


12. Time of Year

Nails grow faster during the summer months. Simple as that. Nobody quite knows why this is the case, but it is likely that the increased growth is due to improved blood circulation during the summer months. 


Does Food Affect Nail Growth?

food for nail growth

A good, balanced diet can have an impact on nail growth. Remember, your body needs a lot of nutrients to boost cell growth. So, make sure that you are getting the best foods for nail growth like ton of fruits, vegetables, nuts, etc. into your diet. In addition to this, your nail is essentially protein. This means getting a lot of healthy proteins into your diet can help. We recommend lean proteins such as chicken. Although, some people with seriously damaged nails have found some benefits in consuming red meats. Although, that is rather unhealthy so you wouldn’t want to be doing it for too long.

If you want to find out more about how you can improve the look of your toenails, we suggest you read our article on ‘How to Get Rid of Thickening Toenails‘.

Peeling nails are a sign that your nails are not getting the right nutrients. It means they are unhealthy. 


Disease Impact on Nail Growth

diseases for nail growth

As we mentioned, nails never stop growing. Unlike hair follicles, your nail matrix will constantly produce new cells. However, there is one exception. If you get sick or seriously ill (particularly with an infection), your body may shut off nail growth temporarily. This ensures that the body has the resources it needs elsewhere to fight off sickness. 

Fungal infections on the toenail can also impact nail growth speed. 


Tips for Faster Nail Growth

fast nail growth

To further boost your nail growth, consider these tips:

  1. Biotin Supplements: Biotin, a type of vitamin B, is often recommended for hair and nail growth. Taking biotin supplements might accelerate the growth of your nails.
  2. Massage: Massaging your nails can stimulate blood flow, which in turn can promote growth. Spend a couple of minutes each day massaging your cuticles and nails to reap the benefits.
  3. Hydration: Just like every other part of your body, your nails need hydration. Drink plenty of water daily to keep your nails hydrated from the inside out.
  4. Avoid Harsh Chemicals: Exposure to harsh chemicals, like those found in nail polish removers, can hamper the growth of your nails. Opt for natural or less aggressive alternatives when possible.

Timeline for Nail Regrowth

Fingernail Regrowth

As previously mentioned, fingernails grow at an average rate of about 1/8th of an inch per month. If you have a damaged or lost fingernail, the time it takes for complete regrowth typically ranges from 4 to 6 months, depending on individual factors.

Toenail Regrowth

Toenails, on the other hand, grow much slower. If you have a damaged or lost toenail, you can expect a complete regrowth timeline of anywhere from 12 to 18 months.




So, how long does it take for nails to grow? It depends. On average, you can expect your fingernails to grow 1/8th of an inch per month, and toenails to grow much slower than this. However, these are just rough figures. If you want your nails to grow faster, you should regularly cut them and follow a balanced diet. You won’t be able to speed them up too much, but when you want your nails to grow, every little helps! 

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