Joel Schlessinger MD explains the mystery behind water-induced finger wrinklesAfter taking a bath, washing dishes or going swimming, you’ve probably noticed your fingers and feet forming small wrinkles in the skin. While many say that you’ve been in the water too long if your digits get “pruny,” new research shows that your body may actually be adapting to the wet atmosphere.

Joel Schlessinger MD explains that finger wrinkles may help us handle wet objects.

“The question of why fingers develop wrinkling when they are exposed to water for a period of time is something that has been debated for quite some time,” said Joel Schlessinger MD. “The answer could be that this allows us to grip objects under water or with wet hands, much like a tire tread helps our tires not slip on wet roads.”

A recent article in Biology Letters, “Water-induced finger wrinkles improve handling of wet objects,” explains that the formation of wrinkles on the glabrous skin is actually an active process performed by the autonomic nervous system.

In the study, it was shown that submerged objects were handled more quickly with wrinkled fingers than with unwrinkled fingers. The study also showed that wrinkles made no difference when handling dry objects.

Evolution plays a role in our survival, Joel Schlessinger MD says.

“It is amazing to see the effects that evolution plays on our ability to survive,” said Joel Schlessinger MD. “If you think of our ancestors climbing out of a river on a rock or up a tree to escape predators, this could be a very good explanation for why we all have this ‘ability’.”

While the jury is still out on the exact reason for finger wrinkling upon submersion in water, this new research is promising.

“Work still has to be done to determine whether this explanation fits, but it does seem to be a good idea, while answering a question that has intrigued many people for years!”

What other reasons can you think of to explain finger wrinkling after exposure to water? Share with us in the comments.

Learn more from Joel Schlessinger MD on his blog.

Water isn’t the only thing that can change your fingers – Joel Schlessinger MD explained in a recent blog post that dermatitis on the hands can affect your fingerprints.

Protect your fingers with the FixMySkin Healing Balms with 1% Hydrocortisone – learn more about these innovative balms invented by Joel Schlessinger MD here.

Posted Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 10:51 pm
Filed Under Category: Skin Care, Skin Care Innovation, Skin Care Myths
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