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Ink happens. Once in a while, it’s possible to get permanent ink on your skin.
Unlike tattoo ink that’s actually embedded in your skin, permanent ink — think Sharpie markers — only touches the surface. This means that it’ll eventually fade over a few days. However, there may be ways you can get rid of permanent marker stains from your skin a bit quicker.
Beware of any so-called remedies that can cause more harm to your skin than good — you could inadvertently end up with more than a permanent marker stain.
It can take two to three days for permanent marker to fade from the skin on its own, according to Northern New England Poison Center.
If you want to remove the marker a bit quicker, you may also incorporate one of the following methods into your washing routine. You’ll likely need to repeat these methods several times before seeing results.
Sea salt scrub
Sea salt has natural exfoliating properties. When mixed with warm water, you can make a gentle scrub to exfoliate the top layer of skin. Try mixing equal parts salt water and warm water to create a paste. Gently massage — but don’t rub — the scrub into your skin twice a day.
Olive oil or coconut oil
If you have olive or coconut oil at home, apply a small amount to your skin and rub in gently before rinsing away. These oils can help bind to your epidermis. In theory, the oil can then attach to the permanent marker stains on your skin and help remove them gently.
The idea behind mineral oil, or baby oil, is that it can attach to excess oils on the skin and then remove all substances. In theory, this could also work with permanent marker stains.
Apply a small amount of oil to the affected area and then wash and rinse as normal. Be careful if you have acne-prone skin, however, as applying extra oils could lead to more breakouts.
The same properties of whitening toothpaste that help lighten surface stains on your teeth may also potentially lighten permanent marker spots on your skin. Use this method twice per day.
As a bonus, you can even use a new toothbrush for exfoliation. Gently massage in circular motions around the dyed skin and rinse well.
Household chemical-based removers can remove permanent marker pigments if you’re in a pinch. These include:
- rubbing alcohol
- nail polish remover
- hand sanitizer
You can use these up to twice per day. Apply a small amount with a cotton ball and rinse with warm water.
Makeup remover may be another solution to removing permanent marker from your skin. This is also a less harsh option compared to household chemical-based removers. Apply with a cotton ball and massage in a circular motion for several seconds. Rinse thoroughly with warm water.
Traditional permanent markers that you find at office supply stores aren’t intended for your skin. In fact, mainstream permanent markers contain ingredients that are considered poisonous, such as resin, xylene, and toluene.
When these markers come into contact with your skin, mild irritation can occur. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and itchiness. Also, permanent marker fumes can be irritating to your eyes, nose, and throat.
An accidental mark from permanent ink is unlikely to cause any adverse symptoms. With that being said, you don’t want to apply permanent marker to your skin on purpose.
If you’re interested in markers for your skin for sports or temporary tattoos, you’ll want to find markers specifically designed for the skin. These are also waterproof, but unlike your traditional Sharpie marker, there are no toxic ingredients included.
Permanent marker will eventually fade with regular washing and natural oils from your pores. If you want to get rid of marker stains a bit quicker though, consider the home remedies above.
Use caution though, and don’t use any substance to which you know you’re allergic or sensitive. See a doctor if you develop any rashes or swelling from permanent marker stains on your skin.