Hot Tub Prune Fingers & Toes: The Science Behind the Wrinkles

The science behind pruney fingers & toes.
The science behind pruney fingers & toes.

This just in: “Wet wrinkled fingers & toes evolved for a better grip”, say scientists quoted in an article by Sindya N. Bhanoo in the New York Times.

The wrinkles that occur in skin after prolonged exposure to water are sometimes referred to as pruney fingers or water aging. This is a temporary skin condition where the skin on the palms of the hand or feet becomes wrinkly. This wrinkling response  that results from a long, hot tub soak may have an evolutionary purpose, researchers say, by improving traction in wet conditions.

Writing in the journal Biology Letters, the scientists report that wrinkled fingers and toes allow a better grip on wet objects — so they may have evolved to give early humans an advantage in wet conditions like climbing out of the hot tub!

“People are about 12 percent quicker” at moving wet objects, said an author of the study, Tom Smulders, an evolutionary biologist at Newcastle University in England, “if their fingers are wrinkled than if their fingers are non-wrinkled.”

Now that’s a valuable insight that I’m sure did not come cheap.

He and his colleagues tested how quickly wrinkled and unwrinkled fingers could move wet and dry marbles. All the participants in the study were able to transfer dry marbles faster than wet marbles, but wrinkly fingers helped with the wet ones.

“It’s not just our fingers that do it, but our toes do it as well,” Dr. Smulders said. “The actual origin of this may have been to help us move on all fours.” Like exit when exiting the hot tub.

Why, then, are finger pads not permanently wrinkled?

That remains to be studied, Dr. Smulders said, but “it may be that wrinkled fingers are more easily injured, or they may affect the sense of touch.” Further research with other species that share this feature may also help explain how long ago wrinkly fingers and toes evolved, and for what purpose.

Whatever! Prune fingers are an evolutionary advantage. If you’re prune finger phobic or don’t care about the extra 12% speed you get from the wrinkles, SilkBalance is the way to go in your hot tub.

Well, we have news for all prune effects haters.

Call it science.

Call it a miracle.

Call it progress.

But here’s the news: soaking in a hot tub using SilkBalance natural water care for spas & hot tubs absolutely eliminates the prune effect from fingers, toes and any other parts of one’s anatomy.  It’s a fact.

So prune effects haters grumble no more.  SilkBalance takes the prune out of soaking. Relax in peace and experience smooth, soft skin with no wrinkles.  Hate the prune effect? Switch to SilkBalance today.

SANUM PER AQUA. Latin for Health through Water.


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Author: Don Riling

Don Riling is the President of Olympic Hot Tub and has been an active member of the hot tub industry for over 27 years. As the company’s owner since 2016, he has continued Olympic’s legacy of promoting health & wellness through water.

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