Why Does My Skin Wrinkle in Water?

Have your fingers or toes ever wrinkled in water? Isn’t that weird?

We catch Cyrus on his way back from the Inspero pool and his fingers are all pruny. Luckily Cyrus has the answer.

Boy Underwater

Our Nervous System

Is a network of pathways and cells called nerves.

Our Nervous System

Our Nervous System

Brain Sending Signals or Messages

Brain Sending Signals or Messages

Nerves throughout our body send messages through electrical signals to our brain. These messages give the brain information about what our nerves sense and feel, like whether we feel hot, cold, pain or pleasure.


Our brain sends messages back to nerves to respond in different ways.

The Wrinkling Effect

When we have our hands or feet underwater for a long enough time, our brain responds by sending a signal to shrink the blood vessels under our skin.

Blood Vessels Under Skin

Blood Vessels Under the Skin

The shrinking of our blood vessels in this way is called vasoconstriction. When the blood vessels get smaller, the skin above collapses down and forms wrinkles.

But Why?

Why does our nervous system respond this way? Scientists are still unsure but one of the most popular theories is that wrinkles give our hands and feet better grip underwater because a ridged surface makes it easier to hold onto wet things than a flat surface.

Finger and Prune: It's a Match

Finger and Prune: It’s a Match


Why Does My Skin Wrinkle in Water?

Executive Producers
Jim Demetriades and Nikos Iatropoulos

Directed by
Luke Gschwend and Joseph Rohrs

Hosted by
Cyrus Rohrs

Written and edited by
Luke Gschwend

Production Assistant
Gwynne Rohrs

Title Animation
Jonathan Reaux

Images from FreePik


Licensed through AudioJungle: “A New Day” by Keensonic


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