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Why do fingers become wrinkled in water?

Why do fingers become wrinkled in water?

After a swimming session or a long bath, fingers tend to wrinkle. When hands remain submerged for a certain period, they become pruney. Controlled by the nervous system, this active process is caused by the contraction of blood vessels. The question that arises is: why do fingers become wrinkled in water? Let's focus on the reasons.

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Why do fingers wrinkle in water?

The skin is composed of 3 layers:

  • The epidermis (the upper layer);

  • The dermis;

  • The hypodermis (the lower layer).

The epidermis contains keratin, a molecule that absorbs water. When it is immersed in water for a prolonged period, it quickly becomes saturated with water, causing the epidermis to swell.

When fingers remain wet for a certain period of time, the blood vessels in their tips constrict. As a result, the volume of the fingers decreases and the skin wrinkles because it retains the same size. Contrary to popular belief, this phenomenon is not caused by water infiltrating the pores of the skin.

Furthermore, the skin is covered in sebum. This decreases when it remains submerged for a long time. This, in turn, promotes the penetration of water into its outer layer.

The wrinkling of fingers is due to the constriction of blood vessels. The autonomic nervous system controls this mechanism. It regulates certain automatic functions of the body, namely:

  • Breathing;

  • Digestion;

  • The heart rate.

Wrinkled fingers in water: the scientific explanations.

The wrinkling of the skin in water is not solely due to the presence of keratin. This phenomenon is also believed to be linked to the nervous system. When fingers remain in water for an extended period, the nervous system sends a signal to reduce the volume of the blood vessels.

When you remain in contact with water for extended periods, the stratum corneum absorbs it and swells. The infiltration of water into the dead cells that make up the skin's surface causes a wrinkling phenomenon. As the stratum corneum of the hands and feet is thick, fine lines frequently appear there.

Furthermore, when the skin comes into contact with water, the blood vessels located at the fingertips contract and the volume of the tissues decreases, which leads to the appearance of wrinkles.

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