Why Do Fingers Prune? Bizarre Body Facts For Kids

Joan Agie
Oct 12, 2023 By Joan Agie
Originally Published on Oct 28, 2021
Wrinkled hand because of soaking in the water for a long time

Have you ever come out of that long shower after a tiring day and noticed that your fingers look like dry raisins?

Well, that is quite common and also dangerous in some aspects. The term is pruney fingers, and this happens quite naturally.

The human body is quite a splendor, and there are several things that we don't understand the reason for or don't think about until suddenly someone points it out to us one day.

We keep on wondering why our fingers look like those of an older person every time we spend too much time in a pool or playing with snow with bare hands.

Well, the process is simple, and it occurs cause of the presence of different mechanisms our body has put up to protect us.

You might want to learn more about other fun facts about the common things all around us. So go ahead and look at some other articles likewhy do blind people wear sunglasses and why do ionic compounds conduct electricity. 

Why do fingers prune underwater?

More than often, when we stay underwater in pools or showers, we start to see our fingers and toes get all wrinkly.

This is due to the sebum that our fingers and toes contain. Sebum is like an oil that makes our skin smooth and does not let the water soak up inside us like a sponge.

When a human stays under wet conditions or holds wet objects for a more extended period, the sebum washes away, and therefore the process of the skin of the hands and feet starts to become wrinkly.

People used to think that staying immersed in a pool or bath for a long time makes our fingers and toes puffy, which is why we get wrinkly fingers.

Still, researchers now believe that wrinkled fingers are the body's way of helping us grab objects when we are underwater or to hold on to wet objects. When we come out of the water or our hands try off, the skin automatically goes back to normal.

Why do fingers prune when not in the water?

We usually see pruney fingertips when exposed to wet conditions for a very long time, but these wrinkling symptoms can also be seen due to other reasons.

Pruning or wrinkling can also happen when the human body is not underwater. There are different reasons for that, the first being, Dehydration.

Dehydration occurs when people don't drink enough water, and the skin loses its elasticity; wrinkling symptoms can be seen. Drinking fluid is essential to keep the body temperature regular and also for health. Treatment by a doctor or even medical advice is critical in this situation.

The second reason is diabetes. Diabetes damages the sweat glands as increased glucose levels can cause pruney skin and affect an individual's health.

The third reason is thyroid disorder, in which the body temperature and metabolic health are affected. The thyroid regulates how our body digests and breaks down food and when the energy isn't stored correctly which can cause pruney or wrinkly fingers.

Lymphedema can affect the nervous system, and the body starts to swell up due to the blockage in the blood vessels. Because lymph fluid doesn't pass through as it usually would, wrinkles can easily be formed.

Lupus is another reason for wrinkled fingers. Lupus is an autoimmune disease that causes chronic inflammation and causes that the fingers swell up and become red and wrinkly.

Vitamin B-12 deficiency also causes the skin to wrinkle because this vitamin is responsible for the proper functioning of the nervous system, blood vessels, and cell formation.

In all the stated diseases, medical treatment should be the first priority, as a doctor would be able to help to give proper medical advice so that the wrinkled skin can heal.

Why do my fingers prune fast in water?

Pruney fingers occur due to the shrinkage of blood vessels, and it is pretty common for your skin to wrinkle up in a wet atmosphere.

Pruney fingers mostly happen when the skin faces exposure to a wet surface, like being immersed in water for a long time.

Scientists used to have a theory that the skin of the fingers and toes when subjected to a cold or wet atmosphere, wrinkles up as water moves to the outer layer of our skin and causes the skin to swell up.

But this has been proved to be wrong, and the real reason for the skin to become wrinkly faster in water is because when we are submerged in a bath or a pool, our brain sends signals to the nerves present near the fingers and toes and the blood vessels start to swell up so that our body becomes lighter and we can float on water.

The wrinkles also help humans to grip anything underwater.

Why do your fingers prune in water but not your body?

Immersion in water wrinkles up the skin of the fingers and toes due to sudden cold or hot temperatures.

Pruney fingers and toes are pretty common when long baths are taken as the blood vessels start to shrink and therefore cause the skin to wrinkle.

Our skin has an oil called sebum which enables us to be free of the risk of soaking up water like a sponge.

When you are submerged in water for a long time, the sebum starts to wash off, and the skin begins to become wrinkly. This reaction leads to the nerve that is present near the fingers and toes wrinkling up.

The skin of our body doesn't prune because the nerve endings are primarily at the fingers and toes, and therefore science says that the brain signals the skin of the fingers to wrinkle so that we can have a good grip underwater.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for why do fingers prune? what's all about pruney fingers and toes? then why not take a look at where do peppercorns come from?

fabulous ancient spice facts to know! or where do pistachios come from? Interesting nuts facts for kids pages?

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Written by Joan Agie

Bachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

Joan Agie picture

Joan AgieBachelor of Science specializing in Human Anatomy

With 3+ years of research and content writing experience across several niches, especially on education, technology, and business topics. Joan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Human Anatomy from the Federal University of Technology, Akure, Nigeria, and has worked as a researcher and writer for organizations across Nigeria, the US, the UK, and Germany. Joan enjoys meditation, watching movies, and learning new languages in her free time.

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