How to Remove Pencil Lead From Skin


The smallest piece of lead is called a pencil lead. It’s made from a mixture of graphite and clay, which is baked into sticks. The outside wood casing protects the soft inside part from being exposed until after it has been used. There are two types of pencil lead. They are:

Soft pencils, which have a core of “wood encased graphite”. This type contains more clay than the hard type and is often sold in inexpensive drug stores or office supply stores. Hard pencils have a core made mostly from graphite and don’t contain any clay.

They’re typically found at big-box stores like Walmart or Target and usually cost much more than soft graphite ones (though you get what you pay for).In this article, I will discuss how to remove pencil lead from skin. So let us get started.

How to Remove Pencil Lead From Skin

What Happens When Pencil Lead Is In Your Skin?

Pencil lead, including graphite and clay, are mineral compounds. These substances are not toxic in themselves; however, when the pencil lead breaks off from wood or plastic and gets into your skin, it is another matter entirely. The impurities in some types of pencil lead can cause serious complications over time.

Although a bit of pencil lead stuck under your fingernail may be irritating but will come out easily enough with the application of some acetone (nail polish remover), it can be much more difficult to remove larger pieces of graphite that get into cuts or scrapes on the skin surface.

Pencil Lead Can Cause Serious Complications

The reason that pencil lead is considered a hazard is that it consists of wonderful particles of graphite, which are in turn coated and protected by clay. This combination makes it possible for the particles to enter the body via cuts or abrasions on the skin surface. In addition, when they get into your bloodstream, they can cause an allergic reaction in some types of people.

How bad this contamination can depend on when it happens and how long it has been since exposure occurred. If you have recently sustained a cut from broken pencil lead that is fairly recent (say within an hour or two), then you will want to get medical help immediately. However, do not attempt at-home remedies before getting professional treatment,

as the lead particles could become embedded in tissues and cause deeper contamination. If you have had pencil lead on your skin for more than a couple of hours, however, you will probably want to try clearing out the particles yourself first before taking up any treatment options at a doctor’s office or hospital.

Step-wise Guide on How to Remove Pencil Lead From Skin:

Pencil Lead Breaks Off

Step 1:

Before removing lead from the skin, do not use any nail polish remover. This will cause a burning sensation in the affected area and leave behind harmful chemicals, especially if used in large quantities. Please note that some nail polishes are toxic and may cause severe damage to your skin and nails when used as a solvent for lead removal. Always try to use only mild soap or water to clean off pencil lead from the skin.

Step 2:

Wash off the pencil lead immediately after it gets smeared/stuck on your hands or face. Use gentle handwash or water from the tap to wash off the pencil lead particles while still wet. Please do not wait until it dries up before you wash it off, or else you may end up getting lead particles stuck under your skin.

Step 3:

If you have not been able to wash the pencil lead fragments off completely, then wet a paper towel with some mild soap and cotton bud paste and put it on the affected area for about 10 minutes. This will soften up the pencil lead particles to be easily wiped away with a tissue or by using some warm water. Do not use hot water as this can cause further damage to your skin.

Step 4:

Once you are sure that all pencil lead powder is removed from your skin, dry off the affected area thoroughly to avoid any infections later. Use an antiseptic lotion/ointment to cleanse the area and apply a small band-aid on the affected area to avoid further lead particles from getting stuck under your skin.

Step 5:

If one or more pencil lead pieces are still stuck under your skin even after you have washed off all of it, then there is a possibility that these pieces may work their way into the deeper layers of your skin. In this case, go straight away to see a doctor as he will ensure that all fragments are obliterated from your skin to avoid infections and other health complications.

If you want to ensure that no pencil lead gets smeared/stuck onto your hands or face, always wear gloves and an apron while working with pencils. This will help prevent any mishaps from happening in the first place and allow you to concentrate on your work better.

Precautions While Removing Pencil Lead From Skin:

Do Not Touch the Injured Area

While removing pencil lead from the skin, we must keep in mind some precautions to prevent the infection of the wound. These precautions are as follows –

Do not touch the injured area while removing pencil lead. While removing pencil lead, use a sharp knife or blade; otherwise, you may injure your skin further and cause pain and swelling. Avoid using any type of oil on the wound for few days after its removal. Wash the cut area with clean water frequently and apply antiseptic lotion at regular intervals till it heals completely.

Do not eat fatty food items like meat, cheese, etc. Injections should be avoided if there is an injury in the arm or leg muscles. Do not over-exert after getting injured by a sharp object such as a pencil or needle so that you do not get the injury infected.

Put On Protective Gauntlets:

Immediately after getting in contact with pencil lead, put on protective gauntlets to protect hands from getting injured. After removing the pencil lead, wash your hand and arms thoroughly with soap and water for 5 minutes at least. Then dry it completely by patting it with a clean paper towel or tissue paper.

Pressure Points To Remove Pencil Lead From Skin:

Put Both Index Fingers Side by Side

These are some pressure points through which we can remove an attached piece of pencil lead from skin –

Press one end of the ruler against the affected area overwound and press another end tightly (with force) between palms for 10-15 seconds until the pencil sharpener comes out easily. Next, put both index fingers side by side on the affected area and gently press them against each other with force for 2 minutes. Gently rub the sharpener over the skin around the wound till it comes out easily by itself.

Go to a nearby pharmacy, show them your wound and buy a thin wooden stick called pencil remover or get it from a pencil sharpener itself if there is one attached to the sharpener. Later put that on pressure points 1 & 3 for few seconds to remove pencil lead from the skin painlessly.


Pencil leads are made up of graphite, which is a compound derived from carbon. When you draw with an ordinary pencil, the tip becomes worn out, and it deposits tiny pieces of lead into the skin as you go on drawing. The sharpener that comes with a disposable/regular pencil generally contains blades or knives with which you can scrape off excess lead easily without harming your fingers in any way.

It is advisable to use this sharpener after every 10-15 minutes while drawing so that the risk of getting hurt is reduced to a greater extent. This article provides some useful tips about how to remove pencil lead from skin painlessly at home without having to visit a doctor or hospital for such an unfortunate mishap. Thank you and have a nice day!

Read On Our Another Article – How to Sharpen a Pencil Without Breaking the Lead

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