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I Wonder Why – Why Fingers And Toes Wrinkle In Water?

Fingers and Toes

Why do fingers and toes wrinkle when left in water?

● Even though you can’t see it, your skin is covered with its special oil called 

sebum. 

● Sebum is found on the outermost layer of skin. Sebum lubricates and protects 

your skin. It also makes your skin a bit waterproof. That’s why water runs off your 

skin when you wash your hands, instead of soaking it in as a sponge would.

● But staying in water for a long time washes away the sebum. Then, the water can 

penetrate the outer layer of your skin.  This causes your skin to become 

waterlogged. Since they are anchored to the tissues below, they are forced to 

corrugate to accommodate this.

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● But  it  can’t  expand  evenly  in  all  directions  because  it  is  attached  to  the  layer 

underneath.  As  it  swells  outward  in  some  places,  it  pinches  inward  in  other 

places. That makes wrinkles. But don’t worry. Your skin will smooth out again as 

it dries.

● You may wonder why other parts of your body don’t wrinkle up as much as the 

fingers and palms.  The  layer  of  skin  that  swells  and  wrinkles are thicker  on  the 

palms of your hands and the bottoms of your feet than it is on most other body 

parts. That’s why the skin on your palm wrinkles more than the skin on the back 

of your hand.

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