I accidently touched formaldehyde some days ago. Skin on my hand got dehydrated as if I had placed it in salt solution. I washed it with water and it returned to normal state after 5 minutes.

But now whenever I wash my hands with water my skin gets dehydrated again, but returns to normal state after some time . What's the reason behind it getting dehydrated again when exposed to water ? Will it return to normal state when new skin grows back ?

By dehydration, I mean something like this.

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Formaldehyde is not something to play around with. If you touch it then you need to immediately run your skin under room temperature water. $\endgroup$
    – user26670
    Sep 29, 2016 at 4:09
  • $\begingroup$ Even my hands have bcom like that. I accidentaly was holdin a leaking formalin bottle. Which later lead to dehydration in my hand and also I'm not able to feel anything that I touch. $\endgroup$
    – Prasanth
    Oct 28, 2017 at 12:37
  • $\begingroup$ @biogirl did your fingers ever get back to normal? $\endgroup$
    – Andrea
    Apr 1, 2019 at 2:34

1 Answer 1


cool pics!

Firstly, Formadahyde is a terribly toxic substance.

Skin Contact: CORROSIVE. Contact can cause pain, redness, burns, and blistering. Permanent scarring can result. Can be absorbed through the skin.

Formaldehyde causes organ failure and scarring if ingested.

In this case, since you don't have burning or blistering, it seems like a reasonably low exposure. You should nonetheless call your doctor to check in or drop by the campus infirmary or what you have.

A good experience to remind you to wear gloves when working with chemically active reagents or solvents (DMSO for instance!)

I'm not a doctor, but as a non professional and informal opinion, your finger will probably become normal again, eventually all the cells will do their best to repair themselves.

  • $\begingroup$ Those rnt my fingers. The pic is on google :) why do my finger dehydrate after washing with water again ? $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Mar 26, 2014 at 16:35
  • $\begingroup$ You mean your fingers getting wrinkled after washing them (or keeping them in water for a longer time)? $\endgroup$
    – Chris
    Mar 26, 2014 at 16:51
  • $\begingroup$ not sure, but the docs do seem to indicate that your fingers would have chemical burns if you had had a more concentrated solution or longer contact, so a reaction that is not seen as often perhaps. $\endgroup$
    – shigeta
    Mar 26, 2014 at 18:34
  • $\begingroup$ @Chris After washing them. $\endgroup$
    – biogirl
    Mar 27, 2014 at 1:59
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ It is not dehydration. The wrinkling is because of damaged skin, perhaps. And the wrinkling is because of hydration $\endgroup$
    Mar 28, 2014 at 4:23

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