Askanesthetician's Blog

An esthetician explores skincare issues and concerns

Why Your Skin Wrinkles in the Bath December 5, 2011

I figure if I want to know the answer to something I must not be the only one out there with the same question.  Lately I’ve been thinking – how come our hands and feet wrinkle after being in the water for a long time?   The reason for that is actually quite simple:

The epidermis is the uppermost (and outermost) layer of the skin.  … The middle layers of the epidermis are where cells release substances including lipids (fats) that help keep the cells and skin as a whole hydrated.  (If you’ve ever wondered why your fingers and toes get wrinkly after being in the water, it’s because these areas produce less fats, which makes them less “water-tight”).
  When researching this post I found out that the above explanation has been questioned recently by some scientists.  An article in Nature magazine explains:

The wrinkles that develop on wet fingers could be an adaptation to give us better grip in slippery conditions, the latest theory suggests.

The hypothesis, from Mark Changizi, an evolutionary neurobiologist at 2AI Labs in Boise, Idaho, and his colleagues goes against the common belief that fingers turn prune-like simply because they absorb water.

Changizi thinks that the wrinkles act like rain treads on tyres. They create channels that allow water to drain away as we press our fingertips on to wet surfaces. This allows the fingers to make greater contact with a wet surface, giving them a better grip.  …

When we press down with a finger, we apply pressure from the tip backwards. The sides of the finger are like cliffs where water can easily fall away, but the flat part is more like a plateau where water can pool. Wrinkles form on the plateau because “that’s where all the work has to be done to channel the water away”, Changizi explains.

Not everyone is gripped by the new theory. “This hypothesis is unjustified,” says Xi Chen, a biomechanical engineer at Columbia University in New York. Chen thinks that the wrinkles have a simpler cause: when fingers are immersed in hot water, the blood vessels tighten and the tissue shrinks relative to the overlying skin. This contraction causes the skin to buckle. “It’s a classic mechanics problem,” he says.

But neurosurgeon Ching-Hua Hsieh of the Chang Gung Memorial Hospital in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, says that the process Chen describes does not account for the fact that fingers wrinkle even in cold water, or that they do not wrinkle when their blood supply is cut off. He thinks people should be looking for more explanations of water wrinkling. “I really appreciate the new hypothesis,” he says.

Hsieh and Changizi both note that water wrinkles appear only on the fingers and feet, and that the most prominent wrinkles develop at the ends of digits, which are the first parts to touch a surface.

So who’s right?  Is this new hypothesis about why our fingers and toes wrinkle in the bath correct?  Only time will tell.


The Skincare Products Everyone Needs December 1, 2011

Filed under: Skincare products — askanesthetician @ 6:25 am
Tags: , , , ,

This post was inspired by an article I read in the December issue of Lucky magazine:  15 Secrets From Top Dermatologists.  After looking over the three dermatologists suggestions for essential skincare products and tips for healthy skin I got to thinking about my top products and tips.  So here are my essential skincare products in no particular order:

  • The right cleanser – finding the right cleanser for your skin type is super important.  In a lot of cases you may need to have more than one cleanser on hand at home.  For instance, I always have a gentle cleanser (for removing make-up in the evening and washing my face in the morning) and a salicylic acid cleanser (to fight acne and inflammation which I use in the evening).  Making sure that you properly remove all make-up, dirt, and pollution in the evening sets the stage for proper product absorption and better overall skin health and beauty in the end.
  • An antioxidant serum – there are so many great antioxidant products out there so choose one!  Protect your skin from free radical damage and inflammation daily while also boosting the power of your sunscreen.  Apply every morning after cleansing.  This step maintains the skin you have today and prevents further damage in the future.
  • A specialized product – now which one depends on what your skin needs.  Perhaps you need Retin-A for anti-aging or breakouts (or both).  Or maybe you need a lightening product because of sun damage.  Most people need something extra to help their skin.
  • The right exfoliant – I am a big believer in lotion/serum exfoliants but if you prefer a scrub use that.  Just use something.  Exfoliating properly helps your skin look great and makes sure your other skincare products absorb better.
  • Sunscreen – this one should be a no brainer but in case someone needs a reminder you need a sunscreen daily, yes every single day even in the winter, to prevent skin cancer, wrinkles, and hyperpigmentation.  So much skin aging is caused by the sun, and there is a simple way to prevent that – use sunscreen.

So now that I’ve listed the skincare products I think everyone should have please share your opinion!  What do you think?

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