Cactus spines can be easily removed with a pair of tweezers if you manage to get one or two stuck in the flesh. But what if you end up being one of the unfortunate people who gets stuck with a hand, foot, or butt full of needles? Elmer’s Glue works well for this, just spread a thin layer of it over the surface.
Once the glue has had time to dry completely, allow it to sit for a while before peeling it off. Your skin-piercing needles will rise to the surface and be pulled out by the glue. If you get a good foot- or handful, you might need to repeat a number more times.
Using duct tape is a different choice that I haven’t personally tested but that has received excellent recommendations (should you be out of glue.) However, since you’ll have to apply pressure in order to trap the needles, this seems uncomfortable.
In either case, when you remove the spines, make sure to thoroughly cleanse the area with antibacterial soap. You don’t want the injury to contract an infection.
If portion of the needle does not stick out above the skin, you can find it more challenging. You could want to leave it in your skin for a few days if it isn’t hurting you. The needles are pushed to the top by the body, which makes them simpler to catch.
Call an ambulance if you experience a serious fall and become coated in needles, but in reality, it would be best to stay clear of the cacti altogether.
Can tiny cactus needles shed themselves?
“Dieter claims that it is a natural response. However, if at all possible, “you’re better off not using your fingers.
It’s all too simple to make things worse, especially if you attempt to remove cholla bits with your own hands. Nobel once seen the results of this choice in a couple who had been harmed by the infamous teddy bear cholla in the Saguaro National Forest. As one of the couple initially got trapped on a piece of stem, his wife became caught when she attempted to remove him.
According to Nobel, the more they fought, the deeper their spines went.
They were holding hands with the torturous joint while yelling for aid as they walked along the road in an uncomfortable embrace. By removing the spines with a pair of wire cutters, Nobel was able to liberate the pair.
Before dealing with the individual prickers, Puente-Martinez also suggests cutting the section of stem to which the spines are attached, like he did in Mexico when his friend’s lip turned into a pincushion. He suggests using a pair of scissors or pliers to cut the stem-attached spines, leaving about a half-inch piece of spine still embedded in your flesh. The stem and some of the spines can also be worked free using the teeth of a comb. If you don’t have any tools on hand and the spines are stuck in your hand, another option is to lean over, step on the stem joint, and pull your hand free. However, this will probably result in a little more blood as the spines are drawn out.
Depending on the kind of spine you have, there are different things you should do next. You can try using a pair of tweezers to remove larger, needle-like spines. The straight spines on saguaro cacti are the easiest to remove, however barbed cholla spears or hooked spines like those on barrel cacti require a little more effort to remove.
When you try to remove cactus spines, they frequently break, leaving bits under your skin. According to Trager, “[the area] will stay sensitive to the touch, so you’ll know if you haven’t gotten it all.
To find the spine fragment, you can try using tweezers or a needle, however they may be transparent and difficult to find.
According to Trager, trying to manipulate the spine with a needle frequently results in more harm than the spine itself did. “It might not be worth performing unless you can truly see the broken base of the spine just under the skin or something. According to him, some of the discomfort from implanted spines can be relieved by soaking in a warm Epsom salt bath.
Without glue, how do you remove tiny cactus needles from skin?
You can be watering or gently removing your cactus from the pot when you suddenly discover that a thorn is lodged in your finger. What should you do in these circumstances? Well, the first step is to try to maintain your composure while grabbing some tweezers or sticky tape (tape) depending on how big or small the object is.
Once you have it, all you need to do is either use tweezers to remove the cactus that has become lodged in your skin or to pass duct tape over the area where it became lodged. I suggest using a sterile needle or one that has already been cleansed with pharmaceutical alcohol to gently poke around until the thorn is removed if it has been fractured and/or has remained entirely inside the skin.
Instructions: Removing cactus stuck in skin
- Find the cactus needle injury by looking over the affected person’s body.
- Make a note of the cactus needles and the location where they enter the body.
- Examine all of the clothing, shoes, and other equipment you were wearing when you came into touch with the cactus plant. Without being physically affixed to the skin, needles can irritate skin by poking through socks and clothing.
- If cactus needles can be seen with the naked eye, pinch and remove them using tweezers. An optical magnifier can be useful.
- Every time you extract a cactus needle, clean the tweezers on a piece of paper. Before pulling out more needles, each one must be taken out of the tweezers because they can become stuck. Keep the paper towel away from any other surfaces. When you’re finished, throw away the paper towel.
- To reduce inflammation in the affected area, use a cooling face toner, such as witch hazel.
The Glue Method
- Apply a thin layer of white craft glue that is water-soluble to the affected region. Any glue needle that has a portion of its surface protruding through the skin should be removed. Dry the adhesive well. White craft glue can be swapped out for rubber cement adhesive, masking tape, or tape.
- Peel one edge of the sticky film slowly up. With your fingertips, lift the edge, and then swiftly peel it away from your flesh. This method of getting rid of cactus hair is comparable to shaving with hot wax.
- Using new tape, repeat the process if you’re using it. Never use the same tape twice since you run the danger of getting thorns again.
- Apply the affected area with a cotton ball dipped in a cool face toner, such as witch hazel.
The Pantyhose Method
- Put some heavy disposable gloves on your hands.
- Old pantyhose can be rolled up and brushed over the affected area in a single direction. The panty will remove needles from the skin with each swipe. It might take a few swipes. As long as you swipe in a single direction, you shouldn’t feel any needles trapped in your underwear.
- Panty should be brushed in the other way. This needs to be done multiple times. To prevent re-injecting needles into your skin, follow a guide.
- Create a fresh plug out of the pantyhose, then brush the afflicted region clockwise. Cactus needles may need to be removed with several swipes, but make sure to turn your hand clockwise to prevent reinserting them into your skin.
- The damaged region should be covered in a counterclockwise motion. If you want to get rid of all the cactus needles, you might need to repeat this instruction. Till all needles are gone, turn counterclockwise.
- Put the tights and gloves in the garbage after use.
The Wait-and-see Method: Do cactus needles dissolve?
Is the cactus needle embedded deeply enough that there is really no way to remove it? The likelihood is that after some time it will emerge on its own. If you do experience a lot of pain, you can use a pumice stone to smooth the needles in your skin in less sensitive areas, such the area beneath your foot. Instead than pulling the needle out of your skin, you sort of grind out the tips.
- Leave the cactus spikes where they are in the injured region.
- Watch for the cactus spines to finally melt or fall to the ground.
- While you wait, keep an eye out for discomfort or infection. Apply witch hazel to the area to clean and cool it if you see any redness. Consult a doctor if irritation lasts a long time.
Are cactus needles skin-soluble?
Maybe you’re hiking through a small desert canyon twenty miles off the beaten path. Or perhaps you take a wrong turn through your aunt’s succulent garden after two martinis at her cocktail party. Cactus spines can hurt, whether you encounter them in the wild or in a botanical garden, and if you’re not careful, the tiny, hairy ones known as glochids may even endanger your health. The best course of action is to avoid getting into contact with cactus spines, but if that is not possible, here is how to fix the problem.
Cactus spines can be divided into two categories. The majority of cacti have the thick kind, which is easiest treated like a splinter, and the glochids mentioned before, which need to be extracted using a whole other technique.
First, let’s talk about the common spines. Unless you really wail on the plant, as I did here with my bare foot, most cacti’s spines won’t come away from the plant when you brush up against them. The best approach to treat a cactus spine puncture wound that then has the decency to remain attached to its parent plant is to treat it just like you would any other scratch or puncture wound, despite how terrible it is. Ensure the cleanliness of your new piercing. In the wilderness, this might call for moist towels and a product resembling hand sanitizer. If you’re close to a plumbing system, soap and water will do the trick. After that, simply monitor the wound as it recovers to prevent infection.
It’s considerably more likely for thin-spined cacti to break off and stab your skin. Most of the time, you ought to be able to remove these by treating them like a small splinter. If you don’t have tweezers, you should use the blade of a pocketknife to scrape the spines loose. It should go without saying that you should use extreme caution when doing this.
It will be much harder to remove the spines if none of them stick out above the skin. You might be able to locate the spine with a sterile needle if it is close to the surface of a rough patch of skin, on a heel, a kneecap, or another location comparable.
You may rationally opt to leave the spine in place to dissolve gradually over a few weeks if doing so would be too similar to surgery and it isn’t causing you too much discomfort. Many individuals who frequently come into contact with cacti do precisely that. However, putting any foreign body in your skin does dramatically raise your risk of contracting an infection. Additionally, you have no idea what type of terrible stuff may have covered the spine before it became your new home, from bird feces to a decaying carcass.
The best course of action for badly lodged spines that you can’t remove on your own is to have them removed for you by a doctor, skilled First Aid professional, or other knowledgeable individual. The advantage of this is that you can ask them to check the wound for infections and assist you in keeping it clean while you recover.
There can never be just one glochid wound. A glochid that penetrates your skin most likely brought several hundred of its companions with it. Glochids make their way into your flesh to the point where their hilt would be if they had hilts, and because their shafts are barbed, it is more difficult than it should be to remove them. Glochids detach with the slightest wind.
The good news is that only a small number of cacti, including cholla and prickly pears, have glochids. There are a lot of cholla and prickly pears out there, which is bad news. The bad news is that even the best methods for getting rid of glochids on your skin only work approximately 95% of the time, leaving 5% of them behind. And when you rub that patch of skin in the wrong manner, the stupid things hurt a lot more than their size would suggest, creating pains that range from bothersome to terrible.
If you get punctured by several glochids, there is one thing you must do immediately: keep the affected area of your body away from your mouth. Unbelievably often, when someone has a patch of glochids trapped in their hand, they go for their lips and almost instinctively try to suck the irritating spines out of their skin. The risk with this is that it occasionally succeeds in sucking the glochids out of your skin and into your mouth. There, they can become lodged in your tongue, gums, or even your windpipe, where the consequences can be lethal or extremely uncomfortable.
Similarly, you should never touch your face, especially the area around your eyes.
Tweezers are your first line of defense when dealing with glochids, just as you would be with their larger, less irritable relatives. When using tweezers carefully, in bright light, with patience, and good vision, you can remove somewhat more than half of the glochids that are typically transferred during accidents. The fact that the organisms frequently fall off the plant in groups is advantageous; you may be able to remove a few dozen glochids with a single tug.
Adhesives can also be used to mass remove glochids. I’ve successfully covered the troublesome region with duct tape, ripped it off, and used it again. This effectively destroys between a third and a half of the glochids, any local hair, and sporadically the top millimeter of skin.
The best way to remove glochids appears to be a two-step procedure. With tweezers, first get rid of as many as you can. After that, wrap the damaged region in gauze and thoroughly cover it with white glue. Peel off the gauze when the glue has had time to cure. You can remove all but 5% of the glochids using a combination of the two techniques.
Unfortunately, even the most successful removal techniques frequently leave the glochids’ barbed points buried in skin. This doesn’t bother many people or simply makes them slightly uncomfortable. However, these lingering barbules can lead to extremely bothersome dermatitis, which is best treated by scraping the sores open and removing the barbules using dissecting equipment and a microscope.
It goes without saying that admiring glochids from a distance is the best course of action.
The image up top suggests one more cactus spine removal scenario: frequently enough, an entire portion of cholla will lodge in your skin and refuse to come off. It’s best to avoid the urge to use your free hand to try to pull the part away because you’ll almost surely wind up impaling it. More essential, avoid vigorously shaking the limb the cholla stem is clinging to in an attempt to remove it. The cholla has been known to come off at a high rate of speed and strike more than one person in the face.
Instead, pry the part away from you using a foreign item. A huge comb is a common item carried by desert rats who are used to live in cholla country since it is an effective tool for removing the stems of chollas by hand. If you don’t have a comb, get a clean stick—not a cactus skeleton, since those frequently still have spines attached—and use it to carefully peel the stem off by yourself with the least amount of throwing. Then look for glochid areas on your skin and prepare the tweezers and white glue.