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View Full Version : How To Remove Micro Splinters from Your Hands?


Mildest Bill
11-16-2009, 10:28 AM
I did some yardwork yesterday and I also cut down some cactus it didn't have any visible thorns so I hauled it to the front of my yard to get carried off. Turns out I have micro splinters all over my hands that are too small to get out with tweezers any suggestions?.

EmAnJ
11-16-2009, 10:32 AM
That's a tough one!

Maybe find someone with a parrafin wax tub and dip your hands in, let them cool, and slowly peel the wax off? It might be just enough to catch a few and pull them out.

Blake
11-16-2009, 10:32 AM
Depilatory wax. Or the real man's method, which is to coat your hands with a thick layer of PVA, let it dry and then peel it off.

Needless to say, these methods also remove hair.

Squink
11-16-2009, 10:34 AM
I've had luck with rubber cement on occasion:
Paint dry and peel.
Success probably depends on whether the particular cactus spines you handled are hook ended or straight.

Blake
11-16-2009, 10:41 AM
I've had luck with rubber cement on occasion:
Paint dry and peel.

Be careful with this advice. Lots of (all?) rubber cement contains some really nasty solvents, including toluene. They usually come with very strict warnings not to allow contact with bare skin. Read the label carefully before you try this on your skin.

Mildest Bill
11-16-2009, 10:42 AM
I'll try the wax where do you get that stuff at a beauty supply place I guess?

Blake
11-16-2009, 10:46 AM
I'll try the wax where do you get that stuff at a beauty supply place I guess?

Depilatory wax? Yeah, or most pharmacies, supermarkets etc. Basically any where that sells cosmetics and razors.

Parrafin wax? The cheapest way for small quantities is just to buy candles and melt them down.

DesertDog
11-16-2009, 10:49 AM
We get that all the tiime here. A thin layer of white glue (like Elmer's), letting it dry and peeling it off usually does the trick. It's easier to peel than rubber cement.

Blake
11-16-2009, 10:54 AM
. A thin layer of white glue (like Elmer's)....

That would be PVA, the real man's solution I mentioned earlier.

kopek
11-16-2009, 10:59 AM
There was this black salve my grandmother always used for things like that. Her name for it was "drawing salve" but the scientific name started "ichy" and went on from there. I believe its intended purpose is something else but it was our splinter cure. I don't know what it would for for large areas like the OP describes but for small deep splinters that resist all other efforts, that is usually my go-to stuff.

Whack-a-Mole
11-16-2009, 11:02 AM
Would duct tape work? Seems like it would (will take hair with it too though).

Blake
11-16-2009, 11:05 AM
I doubt duck tape would work. Not enough contact area.

johnpost
11-16-2009, 11:10 AM
scotch tape has worked for me

Scumpup
11-16-2009, 11:12 AM
Duct tape has worked for me. So has that insanely sticky clear tape for sealing parcels.

koeeoaddi
11-16-2009, 11:19 AM
We get that all the tiime here. A thin layer of white glue (like Elmer's), letting it dry and peeling it off usually does the trick. It's easier to peel than rubber cement.
This is what I do, too. I've tried all kinds of things but Elmer's Glue and a blow dryer works best for getting out those tiny spines.

ko,
from the desert

beowulff
11-16-2009, 11:19 AM
I just spend some time under my Stereozoom (http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/museum/images/bandlstereozoom4.jpg&imgrefurl=http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/primer/museum/bandlstereozoom4.html&usg=__5JUbPPOYZlTmeIeFcX6t2rnxGn8=&h=285&w=280&sz=14&hl=en&start=40&um=1&tbnid=rIq4kU2reC8gnM:&tbnh=115&tbnw=113&prev=/images%3Fq%3DStereozoom%26ndsp%3D20%26hl%3Den%26sa%3DN%26start%3D20%26um%3D1) with some precision tweezers.

kayaker
11-16-2009, 11:52 AM
Duct tape or other sticky tape sometimes works.

Harmonious Discord
11-16-2009, 11:55 AM
The Elmer's white glue works.

Mama Zappa
11-16-2009, 12:03 PM
Soak your hands in water - the splinters may absorb just enough water to swell slightly and be easier to grasp with tweezers. I found just such a microsplinter this morning left over from some gardening; saw it as I stepped into the shower. After I got out, I was able to remove it easily with the tweezers. It was perhaps 1/16th of an inch in length, maybe less.

Harmonious Discord
11-16-2009, 12:05 PM
Soak your hands in water - the splinters may absorb just enough water to swell slightly and be easier to grasp with tweezers. I found just such a microsplinter this morning left over from some gardening; saw it as I stepped into the shower. After I got out, I was able to remove it easily with the tweezers. It was perhaps 1/16th of an inch in length, maybe less.

Picking them one by one doesn't work when you get dozens to hundreds in your hand because you touched something like a prickly pear cactus.

Markxxx
11-16-2009, 04:09 PM
Use a needle or a pin.

Use a match and sterilize the needle with the flame from the match.

Then carefully pick away at the skin, (you shouldn't even feel this 'cause the outer skin is dead) and then you can pick away enough of the skin to use the tweezers or even use the pin/needle to remove it.

Then when finished, take alcohol and clean the area off and then wash it with soap and water for at least one minute. This will go a long way to prevent infection.

Mama Zappa
11-16-2009, 04:17 PM
Picking them one by one doesn't work when you get dozens to hundreds in your hand because you touched something like a prickly pear cactus.
Hmmm - true. It might help with the ones that the other methods miss, however.

The hair wax kit thing might do the deed as others have suggested (assuming the splinters stick out enough from the skin for the wax to be able to "grip"). I saw one of those Discovery Health "ER Re-enactment" shows where they did exactly that with a little girl who was covered in cactus spikes (cringe). They wanted to anesthetize her, the parents had lost another child to anesthesia-related complications and refused permission, and someone suggested the hair wax option.

blondebear
11-16-2009, 05:24 PM
There was an episode of the Travel Channel's "Bite Me with Dr. Mike" where the foolish host decided to touch an Australian 'gympie gympie' tree. Big mistake! The guide had a packet of depilation tape(or super-adhesive bandaid-thing) handy--good thing!--which seemed to help in removing the tiny stinging hairs.

janeslogin
11-16-2009, 05:40 PM
I've worked a lot with cactus. You are probably dealing with Glochid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glochid) (Firefox generated this link. I don't know how to convert this link to bb code.)

The glue suggestions above are good in my opinion. The pick them out with tools suggestion are not so good in my opinion. I would try super glue myself having been in this position before.

Squink
11-16-2009, 05:58 PM
Glochid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glochid)

outlierrn
11-16-2009, 11:02 PM
I've had success with the tape method

panache45
11-16-2009, 11:51 PM
I've used duct tape successfully.

Bambi Hassenpfeffer
11-18-2009, 09:45 AM
There was this black salve my grandmother always used for things like that. Her name for it was "drawing salve" but the scientific name started "ichy" and went on from there. I believe its intended purpose is something else but it was our splinter cure. I don't know what it would for for large areas like the OP describes but for small deep splinters that resist all other efforts, that is usually my go-to stuff.

Ichthammol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_bituminosulfonate). You can probably buy it behind the counter at a pharmacy.

Stan Shmenge
11-23-2009, 03:12 AM
Be careful with this advice. Lots of (all?) rubber cement contains some really nasty solvents, including toluene. They usually come with very strict warnings not to allow contact with bare skin. Read the label carefully before you try this on your skin.Wha? I have touched rubber cement a lot with my fingers. Am I gonna die?

The Second Stone
11-23-2009, 03:25 AM
Soak hands in warm water with Epsom salts dissolved into the water. They will fall out on their own.

Whack-a-Mole
11-23-2009, 11:27 AM
Glochid (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Glochid)

I pet one of those when I was a kid.

My parents had taken me on my first trip ever. We went to California and I had never seen a cactus before. Had no clue what one was. I saw one of the above and it looked all nice and fuzzy so I petted it.

Not fun. Me screaming with my hand punctured with zillions of little needles in it. My mom had tweezers and sat there with me plucking most of them out for an hour (sadly this thread comes some 35+ years too late).

Blake
11-23-2009, 11:44 AM
Am I gonna die?

Without a doubt.

From touching rubber cement? Probably not.

The main risk from the solvents is that they dissolve the oils in your skin and, with prolonged contact, the cell membranes. That leads to dermatitis and premature aging and makes you more prone to absorbing other substances that are more dangerous which can cause infections or poisoning.

Toluene is a suspected carcinogen, and like all potential carcinogens you should limit your contact with it. Incidental contact probably won't hurt, but painting your hand with the stuff and leaving it for several hours doesn't seem like good advice.

Gary T
11-23-2009, 11:52 AM
I would try super glue myself having been in this position before.I wouldn't try super glue (cyanoacrylate) because it bonds securely to skin. Have you actually used super glue to do this?

KlondikeGeoff
11-23-2009, 03:39 PM
Ichthammol (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ammonium_bituminosulfonate). You can probably buy it behind the counter at a pharmacy.
Correct. I've used it for years. It is an irritant, so slivers, mild infections or other such can be helped with this stuff. It is indeed black and gooey, so a little dab'l do ya, cover with a bandage and leave it on for 24 hours. It is still sold in many pharmacies.

I've used this on various cactus stickers. Prickly pear are the worst, as they are so tiny they are hard to see, and trying tweezers will take all day (or night).

I've also used duct tape, and it works pretty well most of the time, especially on the palms or fingers, but if it gets on your arms, pulling it off will take all the hair too. No fun.

astro
11-23-2009, 05:22 PM
Splinters are bad news if they get worked in, and so I choose not to rely on half measures and sticky compounds. Pinchy little Swiss Army knife tweezers are uniquely well suited for this vs regular tweezers. Takes about an hour or so with a very strong light to assist. Remove as many as you can with duct tape (it's only moderately effective), then go after the embedded ones with the tweezers. Listen to the radio or something in the background. You will be at it for a while. A sterilized needle may be necessary to pull back the skin and expose those cactus spines that have gone all the way into the skin layer .

norinew
11-23-2009, 08:45 PM
I read the "Elmer's Glue" solution in a parenting mag years ago, and have used it numerous times, successfully, since then.

It doesn't work every time, but you probably already have some laying around (and if you don't, it's easily obtainable), and it's painless.

I'd try this first.

Lynn Bodoni
11-24-2009, 02:37 AM
I(Firefox generated this link. I don't know how to convert this link to bb code.) There's a link (http://boards.academicpursuits.us/sdmb/misc.php?do=bbcode) to the BB code in the bottom left corner of each thread. If you want to practice, that's one reason why we have ATMB. If you want to just make your post without practicing, hit the "Go Advanced" button instead of the "Post Quick Reply", and you'll preview your post...and you can click on any links you've made to see if they work correctly.

Also, I edited your post to make a link that works on the SDMB. I didn't change the content otherwise.

Lynn
For the Straight Dope

ydnews9
08-19-2012, 01:58 AM
The person whose grandma had black drawing salve had what is known as Coal Tar salve, and it can be purchased over the counter as a produce called "BoilEase (it draws the junk out of a boil but I bet it'd work for cactus. It works on splinters for sure...)

OldNoob
05-23-2013, 10:07 AM
I know i will receive some flack about this reply, but it works. spread some SuperGlue over the affected finger tip,, the after its dry peal the glue off. It will take a bit of skin with it. but it might just take the micro splinter along with it.:p

johnpost
05-23-2013, 10:18 AM
zombie or no

amputation would also work.

there are plenty of harmless solutions discussed above that are effective using common household items.

superglue is a risky substance to use even for its intended purpose. it is easy to cause damage to your body and unintended objects if used in an unapproved manner.

Musicat
05-23-2013, 10:53 AM
Since Mildest Bill was last seen in 2010, I can only hope he was able to get the splinters removed somehow. If not, maybe he's now Wildest Bill.

Mama Zappa
05-23-2013, 10:54 AM
I never read the link on glochids last time around, but the article mentions a study, in a study found that overall, tweezers + Elmer's glue (or similar) worked best.

Harmonious Discord
05-23-2013, 10:59 AM
I clicked this to make sure I remembered this as an old thread. Let's hear it for improved memory.

Labdad
05-23-2013, 11:54 AM
Since Mildest Bill was last seen in 2010, I can only hope he was able to get the splinters removed somehow. If not, maybe he's now Wildest Bill.

Gotcha ya!!

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