How to Remove a Splinter

There probably isn’t a person on the face of the earth who has not had a splinter at one point in his or her life. Although they usually don’t cause any serious problems, they can be extremely uncomfortable, if not downright painful at times. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to remove a splinter because of several factors such as the angle in which it has entered the skin, whether or not it is buried to deep to grasp and also splinters can be tricky to remove if the skin has started healing over the top of it. Depending on the location of the splinter, the angle in which it is lying and whether or not any is protruding above the surface, you could use various methods to get it out of there safely.

Splinter Removal Tips

Some splinters are very thin and are easily broken off which would make removal that much more difficult. Because of this, it is recommended that you never try to squeeze the splinter up toward the surface. Believe it or not, this can actually cause the splinter to break off midway down and it would take extra effort to get that portion out and not without a certain amount of discomfort. The second piece of advice would be to make sure you thoroughly, but gently, was the area with soap and water before attempting to remove the splinter. Take a piece of paper towel and softly pat the area dry using as little pressure as possible. Finally, any ‘tools’ you intend to use to help you extract the splinter should be sanitized in isopropyl alcohol before being used.

Popular Tweezers Removal Method

Most people have been subjected, at least once in their lives, to having their mother or some other well meaning adult grab a pair of tweezers, pinch the skin surrounding the splinter, and then haphazardly go about trying to grasp it for removal. The first mistake was to squeeze the skin and the second mistake is not to have closely examined how the splinter is angled into the skin. It is always a good idea to get a magnifying glass and take a good, close look at how the splinter has entered your skin. If there is a portion extending out beyond the surface then tweezers removal is your best option. Gently take hold of the splinter and pull it out in the opposite direction and at as close to the same angle as you can get. Once the splinter is removed, wash the hands again and disinfect with peroxide.

Using a Needle to Remove a Splinter

Using a needle to remove a splinter is often necessary if the skin has begun to heal or if the splinter is broken off below the surface. After washing and drying the area as described above, examine the area with a magnifying glass. This method will take extremely good vision and steady hands. Observe where the splinter entered the skin and take the point of the needle to gently open the area, pulling the fine layer of skin up and away from the splinter. Repeat as necessary until the skin over the splinter is separated enough to use the tweezers to grasp it for removal. Sometimes the tweezers won’t be necessary if you can get the needle under the splinter to work it gently out, but other times you may indeed need to use the tweezers as well.

Tape and Baking Soda Alternatives

There are times when the splinter is just in far enough that you could apply a piece of sticky tape to the area in order to be able to attach to the splinter. Just as in the tweezers removal method, you will want to pull the tape in the opposite direction from which the splinter entered. In most cases the splinter should easily come away with the tape. Be careful to make absolutely certain you are pulling in the opposite direction or the splinter is liable to break off which would necessitate come other method to get the remainder out. Baking soda would be a great way to soften up the area so that the splinter would work its way out. Simply make a paste, apply to the area and wait for the skin to expand. As it does, the splinter should be pushed out by the swelling skin. Some people apply a Band-Aid to keep the baking soda paste on the area moist long enough to cause the swelling.

Tweezers, needles, baking soda and tape are the most common methods of removal because you utilize things you already have at hand, lying around the house. Another method that works is to go to your local pharmacy and by OTC drawing salve. Apply a small amount, apply a Band-Aid and leave it on for at least several hours. When you remove the Band-Aid the splinter should come out with it. Other people use the nail clipper or razor blade method in which the top layer of skin is cut or clipped away to reveal the splinter. However, this is a bit more dangerous and if you are not steady handed with really good eyesight this might not be the removal technique to try. Whichever method you utilize, remember to clean the skin first, sanitize the tools you will be using and cleans the area again once the splinter is removed.

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