Why Fingers and Toes Prune Underwater?

fingers prune

Ever wonder why wrinkles appear on your fingers and toes in bath tub?

I remember taking long hours of bath in swimming pool resulted in wrinkled skin over my toes and fingers. I used to like that uneven surface on my toes. But, now-a-days as we pay more attention to our appearance I don’t like to have those ridges on my fingers.

Only way to prevent them is to avoid spending long time under shower dreaming about some unusual things.

However, as a blogger I started my research to know the main cause of these wrinkled fingers.

There are various theories rolling behind the prune. Don’t expect me to write about all those theoretical data here. Anyhow, I’ll be discussing few important theories.

  • Your skin is made of keratin, it’s a protein. Outer layer of your skin has dead keratin cells. When you immerse your hand or expose it to water for longtime, the skin cells absorbs water and swells. Because the outer layer is tightly attached to underneath skin, to atone the increased area wrinkles are formed.
  • Few Scientist say that wrinkles appear because of blood vessel’s constriction. Nerve fibers shrink and your body temperature reduces resulting in wrinkled fingers when you immerse them in water.
  • Patients with damaged nerve system when soaked in water showed no or less prune.

Few researchers carried out interesting studies, which are listed below.

Participants in the study are asked to immerse their hands in water tub for about 30 minutes. Then they were asked to pick varied sized marbles (wet and dry marbles). The study states that people with more prunes were quick in holding the marbles. (source)

Though it’s very interesting to know that fingers prune can improve grip, there is no proof to show that these wrinkled fingers has any significant benefit.

Your skin has three layers, namely: subcutaneous layer, dermis and epidermis layer.

Subcutaneous layer consists of fats, connective tissue, large blood vessels and nerves. Dermis layer include sweat glands, hair roots and nerves. Epidermis is the out layer which consists of four layers, which protects from dehydration and bacteria.

As mentioned above, when you immerse fingers in water, the dead cells in epidermis layer absorb water and results in prune.

But, why other parts of the body doesn’t prune? Because the skin on hands and feet include thickest dead keratin cells, imagine if you were given with soft skin on palms like that of its back. How could you enjoy playing basket ball?


  • http://www.bad.org.uk//site/491/default.aspx
  • http://www.umm.edu/dermatology-info/anatomy.htm
  • http://kidshealth.org/kid/body/skin_noSW.html
  • http://www.pgbeautygroomingscience.com/the-world-of-skin-care1.php

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