Bennie wants to know…Why does my skin get all pruney and wrinkly after I soak in the bathtub?
The Left Brain responds:
Believe it or not, scientists have only recently discovered how skin can absorb enough water to turn wrinkly without dissolving and falling off your bones (which would leave a nasty bathtub ring!)
Water logged learning
We’ve known for a long time that the stratum corneum, the outer layer of skin, can expand as it absorbs water but we didn’t know why skin doesn’t fall to pieces when it’s water logged. Now, according to Discovery.com, the Journal of the Royal Society Interface reports that Australian scientists have identified the unique feature of skin structure that keeps it together the bath.
The short version of the explanation goes like this: The stratum corneum is made up of a three-dimensional helical pattern of keratin fibers. This helical weave allows the fibers to straighten out so the skin can expand and soak up water like a sponge. But as the skin expands the protein fibers maintain contact points between each other. All those contact points give the skin it’s structural stability – to a point. The researchers say that that after soaking in water for 24 hours the skin damage can become irreversible. So you’d better lay off those day-long bubble bath marathons!
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