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First Aid Guide: Foreign objects stuck in the skin

Team AckoJan 18, 2024

External objects that have entered the skin are referred to as foreign objects under the skin. Minute particles that remain beneath the skin usually do not cause issues or necessitate treatment, and some may find their way to the surface on their own. However, some sort of foreign objects in the skin may cause infection. Here’s a first aid guide in case a foreign object is stuck in the skin.




What are the types of foreign objects that could commonly get under the skin?

Several kinds of foreign objects are frequently lodged under the skin which may include the following.

  • Splinters that are usually made of a tiny piece of wood, thorns, or plant spines, but can also be made of plastic or glass

  • Barbs used to hold fish on the hook

  • Tiny glass pieces

  • Pencil lead or graphite pieces

What are the symptoms of foreign objects in the skin?

The following are common symptoms of a foreign object in the skin.

  • Inflammation

  • Bleeding

  • Pain

  • Scarring

  • The sensation of an object stuck in the skin

  • Infection

If you fail to remove the object easily, seeking medical assistance is recommended. For example, if an object is lodged within the eye, and the injury is severe and inflamed, medical care is the only safe way that can help treat the condition.

Quick action: First Aid methods for foreign objects in the skin

If the foreign object is visible and protruding from the skin, perform the following steps.

  • Use soap and water to clean your hands thoroughly.

  • Clean the injured area with a disinfectant.

  • Remove the object protruding from the skin using tweezers, which could be a wood splinter, fibreglass, or a piece of glass. Using a magnifying glass may enhance the visibility to remove the object carefully.

  • Gently compress the wound to stimulate bleeding so that the bacteria can drain out.

  • Sterilise the infected area again and dry it with a clean piece of cotton.

  • To avoid infection, apply a topical antibiotic ointment to the wound.

If the object is completely embedded, continue the following steps.

  • Use soap and water to wash your hands properly.

  • Wipe a needle with rubbing alcohol to sterilise it. Check that the needle is clean, sharp, and not rusted. If you don't have rubbing alcohol, you can clean it with soap and water.

  • Pierce the skin with the sterilised needle and lift the thing out. Use a magnifying lens to improve visibility during the procedure.

  • Once the object has come out, carefully pull it out with tweezers.

  • Gently squeeze the cut to allow bleeding and bacteria to move out.

  • Apply an antibiotic cream to the wound post washing.

What not to do?

To ensure proper skin care and avoid potential risks, it is essential not to rub your skin and to be cautious when using equipment that has not been fully disinfected. If an object becomes embedded deep within the skin, it is best to refrain from trying to remove it, as attempting to do so can cause further harm. 

Similarly, if the embedded object causes extreme discomfort and shows signs of infection, it is advisable to avoid any attempts at removal. Moreover, individuals prone to allergic reactions or other health issues should exercise caution when using specific medications. 

When to seek medical attention?

Seek medical attention in the following cases. 

  • When you are unable to remove the object

  • If you are severely wounded

  • The item is lodged somewhere near the eye

Other treatments may include stitches or staples, depending on the size of the incision to secure it. Further antibiotics can be used to treat or prevent infection.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some frequently asked questions about First Aid for Foreign Objects in the Skin.


What is the outcome in the case of foreign objects being stuck under the skin?

Tiny particles that remain below the skin rarely cause problems or necessitate further treatment. However, they can occasionally induce an infection. They sometimes work out their way to the surface on their own, without any issues. However, foreign objects that enter the skin may pierce it superficially or attach themselves deeply to it.

Is surgery needed to remove the object?

Depending upon the case, your doctor may require specialised tweezers to remove the object. For easy access to the object, an incision may be necessitated. If initial attempts at removing the object are unsuccessful, surgery by a specialist may be warranted.

What is the recommendation regarding tetanus shots?

Doctors recommend getting a tetanus shot every 10 years to make you less prone to infection if a foreign object gets embedded through your skin. When a substance has broken through your skin, leaving dirt or debris behind, receive a booster dose if your last shot was within the last 5 years.


Disclaimer: The content on this page is generic and shared only for informational and explanatory purposes. Please consult a doctor before making any health-related decisions.


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