The free edge of the nail is the white portion of the nail that grows out from the finger or toe. This portion consists dead cells and keratin.
This portion of the nail is considered an extension of the epidermis. The epidermis is the outermost portion of the skin. The epidermis is the first layer of protection for the body. The nail provides more protection for the skin and the tips of the fingers and aids in gripping. The nail also aids in providing more sensation for the nerves in the finger tips. Nails are always growing, and the speed of growth is determined by age and blood circulation.