Learn how to remove a deep splinter with Epsom salt and other possible home remedies in this informative article.
Splinters are pieces of wood, glass, metal, plastic, thorns, pins, or even spines of animals that can become embedded in the tissues under your skin. Generally, this happens on the skin of your hands or feet. Splinters can enter your skin when your work with the above materials and it causes deep friction, or you step on them while gardening, in traffic, or in a workplace accident.
You have to remove the splinter immediately as otherwise, the wound caused by the splinter can get infected by either outside bacteria entering through broken skin or bacteria present on the splinter. The splinter could also go deeper when the broken skin heals over it. Once the splinter gets lodged deeply, then it can migrate to your vital organs and cause serious internal injury. If you leave the splinter inside your body for too long, then it can even lead to septicemia or blood poisoning.
Symptoms of a splinter lodged in your skin
- The splinter might be visible as a dark spot or line under the skin. You might have redness, swelling, pain, heat, or pus at the site of the embedded splinter.
- A sensation of discomfort.
Seek medical help if
- The splinter is too deep.
- You are not able to remove it by simple home remedies.
- The splinter is under a finger or toenail or in your eye.
- The splinter has a barb for, e.g., a fishhook.
- It causes severe pain or bleeds heavily.
- Infection and/or fever and chills set in, which can indicate a severe bacterial infection.
Deep splinters will need MRI or CT scans to locate them and might require surgical removal under anesthesia. You will be given antibiotics and a tetanus shot.
Home Remedies to Remove Minor Splinter
1. Sticky tape/Duct tape
Splinters like cactus spines or tiny glass shards can be removed by lightly placing sticky tape over them, the visible points will stick to the tape, and you can lift the tape and draw them out.
These are useful to remove thorns. Sanitize your hands, the wounded skin, tweezers, and needle with alcohol before you attempt to remove the splinter. If alcohol is not available, then clean with soap and water. A magnifying glass helps if the splinter is very small. Use the needle to expose the end of the splinter closest to the skin’s surface. Then use the tweezers to hold the exposed end tightly and draw it out at the same angle as its entry to avoid breaking it and prevent damage to the surrounding tissue.
3. Baking soda
Make a paste using 2 tbsp baking soda and water. Apply the paste on the skin over the splinter. Cover it with a band-aid. Leave undisturbed for 24 hours. When you remove the tape, you will see the splinter near the skin surface. Remove it with tweezers.
4. Hydrogen Peroxide
It helps to soften the splinter and causes it to swell, making it visible. Dip a cotton ball in a 3% peroxide solution and place it on the affected area. Cover with tape and leave for a few hours. The splinter will start protruding through the broken skin. You can easily pull it out using tweezers.
5. Wax hair remover
Apply a layer of hair removal wax over the affected site. Let it dry. Then peel the layer off. The friction will cause the splinter to come on the surface and then you can pull it out with a tweezer.
Banana peel, lavender oil, vegetable oil, and vinegar all help draw the splinter to the skin surface.
How to remove a deep splinter with Epsom salt?
Epsom salts (Magnesium sulfate) work by drawing out water from your skin cells, which brings the splinter to the surface. It helps soften your skin and reduces inflammation around the broken skin.
- Dissolve a cup of Epsom salts in a tub of warm water.
- Soak the affected part of your body in the water.
- Alternatively, you can put a pinch of Epsom salt on a bandaid and place it on the broken skin for a day. It will draw the splinter to the skin surface.
- You can grasp the visible part with a pair of sterilized tweezers and gently pull it out.
Epsom salts are safe to use, provided you use human-grade Epsom salts rather than the agricultural grade.
Caution: Always remember to take out the splinter in its existing angle to avoid breaking the splinter. The broken part can get deep in your body and can cause many complications.