We all know the moment when we have stayed in the pool, bath, or shower too long and when we finally get out of the water our fingers are completely wrinkly and pruney. This wrinkling in your fingertips is caused by shrinking blood vessels.
The loss of blood volume makes your vessels thinner, this causes the skin to fold over causing all the wrinkles and pruning.
This pruning of the fingertips when caused by being in water for an extended period of time is not harmful and usually goes away quickly. If pruning of the fingers happens outside of water though it could be a cause of an underlying medical condition.
One of the causes of pruning fingertips is dehydration. Dehydration is when you lose more water than you are taking in. The skin loses its elasticity causing the extra wrinkles.
Other symptoms you may have with dehydration are fatigue, dry mouth, dark yellow urine, dizziness, headaches, and increased thirst.
You can perform the pinch test on your skin. Take a bit of skin, pinch it with your fingers gently, if it does not bounce right back then you are probably dehydrated and need to drink some water. The daily amount of water a day is 6-8 glasses.
Raynaud’s disease is another cause of pruned fingertips. Raynaud’s disease causes you to be extremely sensitive to cold. This disease affects your blood circulation. When the temperature is cold your blood vessels shrink and the blood flows away from your fingertips. Along with the wrinkled fingertips you may also experience your fingers turning white, blue, or a numbness and tingling in your fingertips.
Another medical condition that can cause your fingertips to prune is diabetes. People with diabetes have trouble controlling their blood sugar levels. Diabetes can damage your sweat glands which can cause you to hold onto more water and cause your fingers to prune up. Any type of diabetes 1,2, or gestational can cause this symptom.
Thyroid disorders can also cause pruney fingers as a symptom. This is because your thyroid helps control your body temperature and your metabolic regulation. It also helps your body with how foods are broken down in the body. Either hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism can cause pruney fingers.
If you suffer from hypothyroidism you may also have a puffy face, fatigue, constipation, weight gain, increased sensitivity to cold, pain and stiffness in joints, and thinning hair.
Hyperthyroidism may also cause sudden weight loss, sweating, increased appetite, tremors, increased sensitivity to heat, fine brittle hair, and menstrual changes.
Thyroid disease can also cause poor circulation which can lead to the wrinkled fingertips. An underactive thyroid can also cause fine wrinkles all over the skin.
Lymphedema is a condition where there is a buildup of lymph fluid. Lymphedema causes the skin to tighten, become leathery, and wrinkled. It is a condition where the lymphatic system has a blockage.
Lupus, B12 & Eczema
Lupus, vitamin B12 deficiency, and eczema are all conditions that can also cause your fingers to become pruney.
If you notice that your fingers start to prune out of water frequently you will want to see your doctor. Since this is a sign of so many different medical conditions. Your doctor may want to run some blood tests to see if there are any deficiencies, problems with your thyroid, or if you have diabetes.
Since pruney fingers are relatively safe especially when it happens when you have been in water too long there is no exact treatment for this symptom. Usually it goes away on its own after you have been out of water after a few minutes. If you suffer from this symptom due to an underlying illness the treatment is to treat the underlying condition.
Pruney fingertips are normal caused by the narrowing of blood vessels. Usually it is no need of concern unless it is happening frequently outside of you being immersed in water for a long time. Reach out to your doctor if you notice it happening a lot so they can see if you have an underlying condition that could be causing it. Treating the underlying condition though may help if stopping this symptom from occurring regularly.