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How to Get Pencil Lead Out of Skin?

how to get pencil lead out of skin

How to get pencil lead out of the skin? If you accidentally stick a freshly sharpened pencil into your finger or palm, it can be quite scary, especially if you still believe that it contains lead. The first thing you need to do is not to panic. Regular pencils’ graphite is not toxic at all. It can hurt a bit but you can treat it like a regular splinter.

With that said, you will need to treat it as soon as you can because like any open wound, it can get infected. In addition, even though pencil graphite is not toxic, it might carry germs and bacteria that can hasten the infection process.

Step-by-Step Guide

If you get a pencil lead splinter under your skin, you will need to treat it quickly because it can get infected if you leave it inside too long. Unless the graphite splinter is too large, it is not necessary to go to the emergency room to have it treated.

Here are the steps on how to get pencil lead out of your finger or the palm of your hand:

What to prepare:

  • Needle or tweezers – A needle will be easier to use if the splinter is small, and a tweezer is good for larger splinters.
  • Rubbing alcohol – At least 70% solution is recommended.
  • Antiseptic cream or ointment

Detailed steps:

Step 1 – Find the splinter

You have to figure out where the pencil lead entered the skin. You will be pulling the lead out from where it entered so that you do not have to cut your skin open. This will also make the extraction process hurt a whole lot less.

Also, check the size of the pencil lead. If the pencil lead splinter is small, it will be easier to use a needle to pull out the pencil lead. On the other hand, if the pencil lead is quite big, you will have to use a pair of tweezers to pull it out.

Step 2 – Clean your tools

Once you figure out what tools you will be using, you need to sterilize them before each use. You will be working on an open wound so you should prevent introducing more germs and bacteria.

Pour some rubbing alcohol into a small cup. It should be enough to submerge your tools inside. If you do not have rubbing alcohol, you can just boil a bit of water and pour it over the tools you will be using. The boiling water should be enough to kill the bacteria on the surface of the tools.

Step 3 – Clean the injured area

clean the injured area

Before you start, you have to use a bit of soap and water to clean the wound and the area around it. This will also remove any dirt that might get into the open wound and cause inflammation. Antibacterial soap is recommended for this purpose.

In addition, if the skin is calloused, you have to soak the area in comfortably hot water to soften the skin. This will make the removal of the splinter easier. The hot water might also help push the graphite splinter closer to the surface of the skin, making it easier to pull out later.

Step 4 – Remove the lead

Once everything is ready, you can proceed to extract the pencil lead from under your skin. Check the injury and figure out where the splinter entered the skin. Position the tweezers or needle at the entry point. You may want to use a magnifying glass to make this process easier.

Grip the end of the graphite splinter and gradually pull it out. You should not rush and put too much pressure on the splinter as it might cause it to break apart. If the lead does break, don’t worry as you can go back for the fragments later.

If you are having a hard time getting the splinter out, soak the area in some warm water again for half an hour and try again.

Step 5 – Clean the injury

Once you have ensured that all the splinters are removed, wash the area again using soap and water. Dry the area properly after washing the injured area and then apply antiseptic cream to it.

If you will be using your hands to work, like cooking, or you will be doing yard work, you should place a band-aid on it to keep dirt from getting inside the wound. Check the wound regularly for signs of inflammation or swelling. If the wound gets infected, have it looked at by a doctor to keep it from getting worse.

Can Pencil Lead Harm You?

can pencil lead harm you

What happens when pencil lead in your skin? Unless you are severely allergic to graphite, then you are perfectly safe.

Despite it being called “lead”, pencil lead does not actually contain the toxic metal. Pencil “lead” contains graphite, which is a form of carbon. It is generally considered non-toxic and would not cause any harm even when a small bit of it is left under the skin.

However, if the person is allergic to pencil lead, the injured area might swell quite a lot. If this is the case, the person should be rushed to the emergency room. So, if you ever accidentally poke yourself with a sharp pencil, do not panic because you are very far from succumbing to “lead” poisoning.


Having a pencil lead stuck underneath your skin might seem shocking but it is not that big of a deal. Pencil lead is not toxic unless you are allergic to graphite, which a few people are. However, knowing how to get pencil lead out of the skin can still be valuable since it will prevent infections.

The steps mentioned above require very little in terms of tools and materials. They also need basic medical skills to accomplish this. If ever you accidentally stab your hand with a freshly sharpened pencil, do not panic. It is not life-threatening and is easy to deal with.

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