The skin on our hands and feet wrinkling in water is a phenomenon called “water immersion maceration.” When our skin is exposed to water for long periods of time, the outermost layer of skin (the stratum corneum) absorbs water and swells. This swelling causes the collagen fibers in the middle layer of skin (dermis) to contract, resulting in the skin wrinkles we see.
Water immersion maceration is more pronounced in areas of our skin that have a greater number of ridges and furrows, such as our hands and feet. This is because there is more surface area for the water to interact with. The same phenomenon can also be observed in our fingertips when we soak them in water for too long!
While wrinkles may be a cosmetic concern for some, water immersion maceration can also lead to skin breakdown and infection. This is why it’s important to keep your hands and feet dry, especially if you have any open cuts or wounds.
So there you have it! The next time you’re soaking in the tub or taking a dip in the pool, you can now impress your friends with your knowledge of water immersion maceration. Just don’t forget to dry off afterwards!