About the skin on the palm of my hand

And the sole of my feet, for that matter.

How is it different from the rest of my skin? Why doesn’t it tan? Can it get sunburned at all? Is there a price for this superpower (more prone to cancer, or something)?.

About a couple of months ago, I was pressure cleaning and sealing my roof. I got a very serious sunburn on my hand. There was a very clear line that separated the glowing red and painful back from the fresh as a lettuce palm.

I am thinking of the skin on the palm of my hands as superskin. It is very flexible, more resistant but more sensitive to heat, very tactile. What would be the downside of being all covered in that skin?

No cite, nor am I am expert on such things, but I am thinking that the skin on your palms and soles isn’t any different than the stuff on the rest of your body. It just happens that your palms and soles are the parts of your body that are the least frequently exposed to sunlight. Your hands are usually grabbing things, holding things, making fists, or most of the rest of the time just loafing about half curled, palms facing the body. About the only time your palms ever get exposed directly to the sunlight is when they’re extended and face up as you wait for someone to hand you something. Your feet? Well, they spent most of their time on the ground. The rest of the time they’re more or less perpendicular to the sun – say, when you’re lounging around with your feet up. Unless you’ve made it a habit to sunbathe with your legs hoisted high, they don’t get much sun either – although when you’re lying on your back, the soles of your feet do get aimed in a more upward direction, so it’s possible that they could get a bit more exposure in the normal course of deliberate sunbathing.

The skin on the soles of most people’s feet is more delicate though – at least in the arch, where it seldom makes contact with anything besides socks. Because of that, the nerve endings are closer to the surface due to there being less callous material covering them. They also see the least amount of sunlight, what with usually being covered by footwear. That would make them more likely to burn than tan, but I see no reason that they couldn’t be affected by the sun the same way the rest of your skin is, given an equal opportunity to do so.

Well, one difference about the skin on your palms and soles is that it doesn’t produce hair. Even in individuals with hypertrichosis, the palms and soles don’t produce hair.

The fingertips, palms and soles contain thick skin. It has five layers, where other skin contains 4. the layers for thick skin are:stratume basale, stratum spinosum, stratum granulosum, stratum lucidium and a thick stratum corneum. Thin skin lacks the stratum lucidium and has a thinner layer of the stratum corneum.

I do not know, but I suspect that palmar skin also lacks melanocytes, which are the cells that make skin darker by producing melanin.

I’ve noticed that he palms of African Americans tend to be much lighter than the rest of their skin. That suggests to me the lack of melanocytes as the common factor.

Of other blacks and deeply-tanned folks of any race too… :smiley:

No melanocytes and it’s the parts that get more rubbing (the outer layers get replaced faster).

It’s not a total lack of melanocytes though, because most of the creases in the hands of the majority of darker skinned blacks are brown.

I don’t think it is a matter of exposure. At least not just that. As I said, when I burned myself, there was a very clear line that separated both areas. This line had nothing to do with exposure. It was way higher that it should have been had it been because of the shade of the pressure gun grip.

In their non-burned normal state, they look clearly different. No pigmentation, no hairs, no large visible pores.

I am sure they do get less exposure to light, but I am sure they get enough sunlight that UV exposure should be an issue. How is this skin protected if it has no pigmentation?

I found myself looking at people’s hands today and I noticed that the skin under the fingernail is much paler than the rest of the back of the hand. So Sapo, when you sunburned your hand was the area under your fingernails also sunburned?

It is the extra layer the stratum lucidum that makes all the difference and accounts for the thickness.

In this thread about sunburn in unpleasant places Silenus and Kambucktu relate getting sunburned on the soles of their feet.

I have certainly got sunburnt on the soles of my feet too. And many years ago my grandad fell asleep face down on Bognor beach and burnt the soles of his feet so badly he couldn’t walk for days :eek:

Feet certainly aren’t sunproof.

I am not sure. There is a fingernail over it and won’t let me see it. Or do you mean something else?

ok, now I am curious. Is there any tanning? or just the reddening? I figured it had to get burned at some point. I have both burned the top of my feet and the back of my hand. In both cases there has been that line that is not the line where the sun stops shining though. I guess it must be somehow more resistant.

Is there a doctor in the house? I think we are having a shortage of medical professionals in GQ lately.