How to remove a splinter

Splinters should be removed promptly to avoid infection. [Photo: Bigstock]

31 May, 2016

It’s such a common injury that most of us don’t even think about it. But a splinter can cause a surprising amount of pain and if not removed promptly and completely can become infected.

Splinters come in all shapes and sizes and most of the time they are easy to remove with the right tools and technique. To remove an easily accessible splinter try this first:

Wash and dry the area Before you begin, wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water and gently pat your skin dry.

Use your eyes first If the splinter is very small, use a magnifying glass to see how big it is and which direction it entered the skin.

Use tweezers Don’t be tempted to try and squeeze out a splinter, as this may cause it to break into smaller pieces that are harder to remove. Use tweezers (with a fine point if you have them) that have been sterilised in boiling water or alcohol first. If part of the splinter is sticking out, you can use tweezers to gently pull the splinter out in the same direction that it entered the skin.

When to use a needle If the entire splinter is embedded under the skin, you can use a small needle to remove it. First, sterilize the needle and your tweezers as above. Use the needle to gently pierce the surface of the skin at one end of the splinter and then use it to push the end of the splinter up. Use a magnifying glass may help you find the right spot and if the splinter is in deep you may need help from a friend or family member. Continue to use the needle to carefully push the end of the splinter up. Once one end of the splinter is sticking out, use the tweezers to gently pull it out.

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Use a balm or ointment After the splinter has been removed, clean the area with soap and water and a soothing balm such as hypercal ointment or arnica balm. Keep the area covered with a bandage until it heals.

For really stubborn splinters

If a splinter is deeply embedded, try wrapping it in a clay pack first.

To make a clay pack, mix your clay (bentonite clay, has the strongest drawing action) with enough water to make a paste which has the consistency of toothpaste. Apply directly to the affected area, cover with a clean dressing and secure with a plastic bag/waterproof covering and/or other bandages. You may need to leave it on for several hours or overnight or until the clay is dry. This should help draw the splinter out enough so that you can use the methods above to remove it.

You can also use slippery elm, which also has a good drawing action, as a poultice in the same way.

Homoeopathic remedies that can help draw out stubborn splinters include:

Hypericum 30 – if it is very painful. Take on tablet 3 times a day for 2-3 days.

Sililca 30 – to help encourage the body to expel the splinter. Take one tablet 3 times a day for 2-3 days.

Essential oils of lavender and tea tree can help draw the splinter out and keep the area free from infection. Apply 2-3 drops neat to the affected area and cover with a bandage.

If you are really having trouble removing a splinter, or if it is in a delicate area, such as near the eye, seek professional help.

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7. Honey

how to draw a splinter out to the surface

Add a few drops of honey on the finger/toe where the shard has pierced the skin. Tie a bandage or gauze around it to hold it in place. The honey’s absorptive and hygroscopic properties will extract the splinter out.

11. Activated charcoal

ways to remove splinters in toddlers painlessly

A great remedy to remove deeply embedded splinters is activated charcoal or activated carbon. Pills of charcoal are readily available in the market. Make a thick paste in water by crushing a couple of pills and apply to the affected area. Cover with a bandage or gauze and leave it on overnight. By morning the splinter will be out.

17. Use salve

how to remove splinters you cannot see home remedies for splinter removal easy

Many ‘drawing’ salves are available in the market; they are great for loosening the splinter and drawing it out to the surface. Here is a great product to relieve pain and prevent infection.

18. Take supplements

Supplements will not help you draw the splinters out but they can help with the pain, speed up healing and also prevent infections:

  • Quercetin-This builds immunity. It also has antihistamine action and fights inflammation.
  • Vitamins C and K- Vitamin C protects against damage and speeds up healing. On the other hand, Vitamin K helps with blood clotting.
  • Garlic- Eat a few cloves of garlic to prevent infections caused by deeply embedded splinters.
  • Arnica-This herbal remedy heals the skin quickly.
  • Cod liver oil- This remedy fights inflammation and prevents skin infections.
  • Protein and silica-Both are needed for healthy skin.
  • Beta carotene-This helps with skin repair.

Try these 18 easy ways to prevent and remove splinters whether you can or cannot see them.

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If these tips made your life a little easier, please share your experience in the comments.

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