Author Erich Maria Remarque in her novel ‘All Quiet on the Western Front‘, who started writing the rumor that hair and nails still grow after someone dies. His hair is described as the ‘grass’ and nails as the’ corkscrew. ”
A pediatric researcher Rachel C Vreeman with her colleague Aaron E Carroll, from the Indiana University School of Medicine, conducted research for some medical myths.
Their study concluded that the myth about hair and nail growth after death is not only an outstanding egend in the community, but also several licensed doctors believe that the myth is true.
However, this is just an imagination and myth, because in fact the nails and hair do not grow on a dead body.
“Nail and hair can not grow after postmortum or dead body,” says Aaron E Carroll, MD, MS, as reported by eHow.
According to Carroll, after death, the skin loses so much volume of water which causes dehydrationof hair and nails which makes hair and nails appears as if it is more protruding.
Dehydration of the body after death and drying can cause the retraction of dry skin around the hair or nails.
As the skin is pulled, it creates the appearance of hair and nails as if it grows and gain length. This phenomenon is an optical illusion, created by the cutting of soft tissue with a nail and hair follicles.
Both nails and hair made of keratin, a protein that is very strong. Keratinization occurred in follicles (roots) and basal cells of the epidermis. Circulation of blood and nutrients needed for keratinization, and this can not happen after death.
Hair and nail growth also requires a complex hormonal regulation, which is also not possible after the body dies and rot.
In addition, the only part of the hair that was still be alive after postmortum (dead body) is the root, which have their own blood supply. But when blood supply is lost, then there are no further growth.
This also applies for the nails, but the postmortum growth is minimum, and the cells can still be alive 2-3 days after death.
Since there is no longer blood flow and organisms causing rotting body, hair and nails falls from the body. Level of decomposition depends on the depth of burial, coffins and type of land where the tomb lies.
So rumors about the growth of nails and hair continue after a person dies is only an illusion and myth.