How to remove a splinter: Methods and tips

What is a splinter? 

A splinter is a sharp fragment of wood, glass, or other debris that is lodged underneath the skin. Try the following to remove a splinter. 

1) First, wash and dry the area. To prevent infection, wash your hands and the affected area with soap and water and gently pat your skin dry. 

2) Inspect the splinter. If the splinter is very small, use a magnifying glass to see how big it is and which direction it entered the skin. 

3) Use tweezers to remove the splinter. If part of the splinter is sticking out, you can use tweezers to gently pull out the splinter. Pull it out in the same direction that it entered the skin. Never squeeze out a splinter, as this may cause it to break into smaller pieces that are harder to remove. 

4) If the entire splinter is embedded under the skin, you can use a small needle to remove it. Use a magnifying glass, then use the needle to gently pierce the surface of the skin at the other end of the splinter. This may require help from a friend or family member. Continue to use the needle to carefully push out part of the splinter. Once one end of the splinter is sticking out, use the tweezers to gently pull out the splinter. 

5) Afterward, clean the area with soap and water and apply petroleum jelly. Keep the area covered with a bandage until it heals. 

Most splinters can be safely removed at home, but some may require medical assistance. See your doctor if the splinter is very large, deep, located in or near the eye, or if the area becomes infected.