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Cuticle (Eponychium) of Toenail

Last Updated: Jan 29, 2015

The cuticle or eponychium of the toenail is a specialized form of epidermis that is found over the base of the nails of the toes. It is a thin layer of skin that covers the nail plate and nail root just before the nail emerges at the surface, where the keratinized cells will be completely developed. However, the cuticle is not made up of cells but is rather a secretion of the epidermal cells, coatingmycontentbreak the end of the skin on top of the nail body. It brings the skin on the toe and the nail plate together to protect the area from foreign bodies and fluids. Beneath the eponychium is the membranous pterygium, providing further protection to the skin against bacteria and infection. The eponychium folds over the top of and back in on the lower edge of the epidermal cells at the junction with the nail. Just beyond the cuticle, the nail body may be whitish or lighter in color in a small hemisphere called a lunula.