Can I change my fingerprints?

Given that identical twins do not share identical fingerprints, it seems that the patterns are due at least in part to something other than genetics. If I abrade my existing prints down past the bottoms of the troughs (e.g. with fine sandpaper), can I get new prints to grow back with a different pattern? Or does the pattern run deeper into the skin than that?

Basically, no.

Can you change your fingerprints?

The short answer is… No, fingerprints do not change over time, but there is a catch: they do not change as we grow old, but they can be affected by certain external conditions.

A person’s fingerprints usually form in the 17th week of pregnancy. These prints are set in stone before we are even born. As a person grows, the prints get bigger while retaining the same pattern. Essentially, the prints just scale up gradually.

What affects the fingerprints?

Remember, fingerprints are permanent, but they can be affected by the following circumstances:

Followed by a list on conditions.

Sanding them down will leave you with no prints temporarily but they will grow back. Or you can scar them up but that will still leave a unique print.

I know it’s been tried.

My fingerprints have worn off with age to the point that it actually makes it harder to pick a piece of paper off a table. They are virtually invisible and I wonder whether they would lease usable prints. There is a criss-cross pattern of wrinkles that cuts across the prints.

Burning Man takes place on a dry lakebed atop somewhat alkali dust. It is an outstanding exfoliant and my fingerprints are virtually gone on my return. I volunteered as a grade school tutor for a number of years and for some reason had to submit my fingerprints every year. This was in mid-September and every year the guy would have trouble lifting my prints.

A month later they’d be back, the same as they ever were. I’ve joked that if I wanted to take up a life of crime, I had a three week window of opportunity in early September.