Hair splinters are tiny, sharp hair shafts that penetrate the skin, causing pain and inflammation. The condition can be difficult to treat and requires immediate medical attention if it is painful or infected. Experts recommend soaking the affected area in warm water to soften the skin and using sterile tweezers to grasp and remove the splinter. They also advise against digging into the skin or using non-sterile instruments as this can increase the risk of infection.
A hair splinter is usually found near the top layer of the skin. If it is small and relatively pain-free, it may eventually rise to the surface as the surrounding skin sheds. However, a deeper splinter should not be left in because it can cause a skin condition called cutaneous larva migrane, which causes a dark line that moves through the skin and is very painful.
In most cases, a hair splinter can be removed by carefully grasping it with a pair of tweezers. The tip of the tweezers should be sterilized with rubbing alcohol to prevent infection. Make sure to use a good lighting source and a magnifying glass to locate the splinter, then pull it out at the same angle that it entered the skin.
If the splinter is too deep to grab with tweezers, use a needle or piece of tape. A numbing spray such as first aid spray can also help minimize the pain and make it easier to extract the splinter. Some people have found that a poultice made of slippery elm or slippery myrrh helps dislodge stubborn hair splinters.