Fun \ Stump the Doc

Why Does Your Skin Wrinkle When It Gets Wet?

"Hey doc, why does my skin get all wrinkly when it's wet?"

The outer layer of your skin is called the epidermis. It contains a protein called keratin, which helps keep your skin strong and moist. When your skin stays wet for extended periods, the keratin cells start absorbing water, which makes the outer layer of your skin swell up.

But the layer of skin underneath it doesn't swell. That top layer needs somewhere to go—so it bunches up and forms those wrinkles you see.

You may wonder why only your hands and feet wrinkle in water. It's because the layer of keratin cells there is thicker than on other parts of your body. By soaking up more water, that extra keratin makes you more prone to become pruney.

Don't worry, though, this isn't harmful to your skin. And unlike the wrinkles that develop as you get older, these are only temporary.

A few minutes after you dry off, your fingers will start looking their age again.


This entry last modified on: November 28, 2012 5:34 PM

Comment: (1)

My hands sweat just in my palm and they look like white pruney as if I soaked them in water. Just wondering is it stress? Or maybe a lack of vitamins?

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About the Video

Why do your fingers and toes get wrinkly in water? See if this question can stump Dr. Charlotte Grayson.

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