Why does our skin get wrinkled after a bath?

Why does our skin get wrinkled after a bath?

Been for a bath? Got wrinkly skin? Find out why here!

Try this:

Get two buckets. Fill up one bucket with cool - not too cold! - water. Fill the other bucket with warm - not too hot! - water. Put one of your hands in the bucket with cool water and the other in the bucket with warm water. Leave them in the water for around twenty minutes - it might be a good experiment to do whilst you watch TV!

What do you notice?

The skin on your hands should be wrinkly, like it is after you've had a bath. The hand that was in the warm water should be more wrinkly than the hand that was in the cold water.

Why does this happen?

This video from Professor Gizmo explains:

Most of the skin we see on our bodies is dead skin - it sounds a bit disgusting, but it's normal! Our fingers and toes have thick layers of this dead skin. Underneath the outer layer of dead skin are inner layers of living skin. When we have a bath the layer of outer skin absorbs water. This causes the skin to swell and get wrinkly.

The hand that was in warm water is more wrinkly because in hot water the water molecules have more energy. This means that they can move around faster and so more of them are absorbed by your skin.

Next time you have a bath you'll know why your feet and hands get wrinkly!

Sign up for the newsletter
Sign Up For The Newsletter
Want to get the latest science news from Planet Science straight to your inbox? Sign up now!