50 answers

My 4 Yr Old Poked Herself in the Forehead with a Sharp Pencil :-(

My 4 yr old daughter was playing on the sofa and there happened to be a sharpened pencil hiding between the cushions. Somehow, it poked her in the forehead just to the side of her eyebrow. It didn't seem to hurt her, because she didn't tell anyone about it until she was asked what the spot was, and I am so grateful and relieved that it was not in her eye. But I am worried about it because the spot is black, like there is still pencil lead in there. I pressed on it, the way you would a blackhead, and I can't get anything to come out of it. I washed it well with soap and warm/hot water but it doesn't change the look of it.

Does anyone know how to tell if the lead is still in there and if it is, how do I get it out? I need some direction here, as we are currently without healthcare and I can't really afford to go to an urgent care.

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What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thanks to everyone for all the wonderful replies! I knew there wasn't actual lead in pencils anymore, but that didn't keep me from being paranoid about it all afternoon! :-)

I have a family friend who is a nurse, so I had her look at it last night. We are not certain whether there is or isn't a tiny piece still in the skin, but she seemed fairly sure if there was, that it would work its way out. I will be picking up some of the Hyland's Silicea today, and we are washing with hydrogen peroxide, and coating with neosporin to fight infection. It doesn't seem to bother her, it's more me worrying for the infection.

The placement was done by angels, since it is at the temple end of her left eyebrow and an inch difference would have had it in her eye, and an inch in the other it may have pierced her temple. If there is a permanent mark, it won't be disfiguring, at least. It could easily be a freckle or a beauty mark.

I was greatly comforted by the many replies and complete lack of serious injury in any of them! Thanks for all your input!

Featured Answers

Hi V.,
I poked myself in the leg with a pencil in 3rd Grade (1971) and I still have the spot on my leg almost 40 years later. It has never been a problem. There is no lead in pencils anymore - it is graphite. You can show it to the doctor if it bugs you but it won't cause any problems.

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

Wow!! I didn't realize that I wasn't the only one that had "The Spot"! I'm 51 and got mine when I was in 8th grade math. A boy stabbed me in the top of my hand with his pencil. I'm looking at it right now and cracking up! Thanks for a great laugh. I needed it.

I'm reading the rest of the responses and laughing! I had no idea it was this common! This happened to me in third grade, someone was swinging their arm with a pencil in their hand and stabbed me in the hand (we're, what, 8 in 3rd grade?) I'm 43 now and I still have a graphite dot at the base of my left thumb and I'm just fine. [twitch.....twitch]

Hey, it missed her eye right? A miss is as good as a mile.

More Answers

If you make between around 4500 and 5500 a month, you should be able to qualify for Healthy Families and only have to pay $14.00 a month for healthcare. If you make less, you can qualify for Medi-Cal or Low-Cost Medi-Cal. With regard to the lead, maybe a needle, like when you have to get a splinter out. Wash the area well with rubbing alcohol. If you cannot get it out, you need to take her to the doctor. There are also free clinics in almost every city. Call the County Helth Services Office in your area.

2 moms found this helpful

Hi V.,
I poked myself in the leg with a pencil in 3rd Grade (1971) and I still have the spot on my leg almost 40 years later. It has never been a problem. There is no lead in pencils anymore - it is graphite. You can show it to the doctor if it bugs you but it won't cause any problems.

Hope this helps!

1 mom found this helpful

I am not an expert or anything, but if it were me I would just put a bit of Neosporin (?spelling) or peroxide on it to make sure it doesn't get infected. Other than I don't think there is much you can do. If there is still something in there, the body will push it out if it needs to come out (even most splinters eventually come out on their own - people are just not usually patient enough to wait it out since it hurts!) Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Okay, I Googled it and found this link...not sure if it helps...but, I was a kid when I got a piece of pencil lead stuck under the skin on my hand and not even my pediatrician could get it out. So, it's still there and I can still see it.

Good Luck!!


1 mom found this helpful

Call a homeopathic pharmacy and ask them about Hyland's Silicea #12. This remedy helps expel things from the body. I don't know if it would work but worth a phone call. Also check out epsom salt.
D. Merlin

1 mom found this helpful

the spot might be bruised so there might not be anything in there to begin with. I would just do the whole "wait and watch" thing for now, since you're without health care. Even is there is some pencil lead in there, its harmless in of itself since its really only graphite. Just watch to see if the sight starts to look infected (turns red, gets hot to the touch, is sore to the touch, ect).

And yes, thank goodness it wasn't her eye!
best wishes

1 mom found this helpful

When this happened to my older son years ago I called poison control about the lead question. I would recommend having the number handy & in your cell 800-222-1222. I've needed it a few times away from home. It was nice to have an explanation about why the mark remained.

1 mom found this helpful

Oh, not to worry, she's just given herself a beauty mark! I have one in my hip from when I jumped up & slid over in the front seat of our VW Bus as a kid. I haven't looked in who knows how long to see if it is still there but last I looked, it was a nice blue dot. A girl in high school had such a blue spot perfectly placed on her face. (Some people will actually pay to have beauty marks!)

Wow, what an incredibly lucky little girl!! I'm so glad she's ok. In my experience, any foreign object like that, if there IS some lead in there, will work itself out in a week or two. I just had something like that happen to me and in a couple weeks it had worked itself up to the surface where I could get it out. It WAS sore though, any time I pressed on it, so that will be some indication soon.
I'm sure she'll be just fine. If it were me, I wouldn't bring her in because there's no danger if that IS pencil lead (they don't use real lead anymore).

pencils are filled with graphite not lead- might leave a mark but won't cause permanent damage.

no need to worry, pencils's are made using graphite. The spot should go away eventually.

They don't make pencils out of lead anymore. So, I wouldn't worry about it. They are made out of graphite. I would either, leave it alone...the skin will naturally shed and new skin will be replaced or take her to a dermatologist for an opinion. If you don't have funds, then just watch it. I bet she will be fine, but you just want to watch for an infection...just like any cut. But, I bet she will be fine!

Yesterday, my daughter, 6 yrs, poked her lip with a pencil and was sent to the nurses station. They just washed it, put some vaseline on it and sent her back with a note.

My sister poked me with a sharp pencil when were kids, back in the fifties, and we were sure she had killed me. We were playing in the car, waiting for our parents to come out of church. We went and found Mom and showed it to her, and she researched it and found out that there is no lead in today's pencils. It is graphite, and non-toxic. I don't remember how we got it out. Running hydrogen peroxide over it might help, if it is away from her eye (don't want to pour peroxide into the eye.) I use it to bubble out splinters, and it works pretty well. You could call your local emergency room and ask to speak to a nurse, to verify that the pencil lead is non toxic. I have found that they will usually answer a simple question like that without you having to go in. Of course, they will finish by saying, "We couldn't say for sure without examining the child" but they will usually tell you what you need to know before that. B.

It took over 20 years to fade the pencil spot I had in my hand as a child. Your daughter is younger and may fade faster but I would ask the Dr if it is too noticeable.

I see that you posted a resolution. I did want to let you know though, in case it doesn't work its way out, that it will still be okay. I poked myself in the hand (at the base of my ring finger) when I was in school and now, well over 15 years later, it is still there. When I press on the area I don't feel anything, it doesn't hurt and it's never caused a problem, I just have a little darker spot where it is. When it happened, it was to far in to be able to get out like a sliver, trust me we tried (it hurt worse than it going in). If it doesn't work itself out, she will be fine.

I would try pouring hydrogen peroxide over the spot. If there is something in there, it should bubble up.

I think ( I could be wrong) but I think if there was actually lead in there you'ld be able to feel it bu lightly sliding your finger over it. slide your finget over the other eyebrow to see if there is a difference in feel. As for the black dot it may never go away. I know when I was about 7 a boy wanted to kiss me and I said no and so in return he stabbed me in the leg with his pencil (stupid I know) and the dot is still there right above my knee... I am almost 32 so pencils might have changed a lot since then but I like to call it my first tattoo... But I think she'll be ok.

This response comes a little late but I poked myself in the forehead, just above my eyebrow as a young child. I have a greenish-black spot as a result - it has never gone away. Occasionally people will comment on it - wondering if I got marker on my head or if it's a mole - I think I get asked more as an adult than as a child (maybe because I had bangs mostly as a child). When I tell people it's because I jabbed myself with a pencil as a child, we laugh and sometimes I find other people who have jabbed themselves with a pencil too. Good luck!

I agree that it won't hurt her, but disagree about it working it's way out. I was poked in the hand with a pencil when I was ten, and I couldn't get the pencil tip out of my skin. There is still a gray spot on my hand twenty years later. It's not really obvious on my hand, but the forehead is such a prominent spot.
If you can take her to someone to extract any pencil bits and clean the wound, I'm sure it'll look better.
I hope everything works out!

If you can't feel a bump under the skin, the lead is probably out. However, the coloration will remain there unless it is removed (the pigment will remain under the skin, like a tattoo). If it is obvious, and you can't wash it out, take her to a doctor to get the color out, otherwise the skin will heal over it and it will be permanent. Don't worry about her health, though. Pencil lead is graphite (carbon) and harmless. I stuck myself with a pencil in my knee 23 years ago and there is still a bluish spot under the skin. Good luck.

I had this happen before with my children. I just cleaned it and watched it for signs of infection. It turned out that it only looked like it had lead in it because the pencil had "drawn" in the wound when they got poked. It didn't hurt them, just took time for the mark to go away.

When I was a child, my brother stabbed me in the leg twice with a pencil. The color never came out, I now have two tiny blue dots on my leg. They are hardly noticeable.

is there a hole there or broken skin, ?? look at the pencil see if it looks like it was sharpened and the end of it broke off, or the end of it is smooth as if you were writing with it. If the lead is still in there the area will become infected puss will ooze it out, apply neosporn to the area just in case, is your daughter in school yet ? preschool they have a nurse, or maybe a neighbor is a nurse, you can take her up to the fire department see if paramedics are there, they won't charge you but a medic might take a look at it. Aww also if all else fails take her up to the pharmacy have them look and see if there is anything you can put on it..

Hi V.! I saw your post and although I don't have any personal experience with this, it made me curious because I've got 3 kids and I think this could happen so easily. I googled it and found this message board that will be of interest to you...

It sounds like it may not be super serious but from what I read, the lead color can stay there for many years if not permanently but it can be removed. Hope the info in the link helps!

Hi V.,
No need to worry. As a former school teacher I have seen this sort of mishap more than once. I can relieve your mind and tell you that today's pencils are not made of lead, but of graphite. It may leave a permanent mark, but it won't harm her health.

I know you can't afford urgent care, but if it occurred in her forehead, I would at least bring her to someone to have it checked out (paramedic, nurse, etc.) The only reason I say this is because it happened on her head and your brain is right there. You can never be too careful with things like this. Maybe there is a nurse line where you or a family member works? You could call them. Best of luck. Don't wait for this to develop into an infection because then your child suffers and you end up spending money on medicines anyway.

I still have my pencil tip embedded in my palm from when I was in the 1st grade. As others have said, health-wise, the only problem will be if the wound becomes infected. Keep it clean with hydrogen peroxide or alcohol and let it heal. If it's shallow enough, the body will naturally kick it out, the way it does splinters. If it's deeper, it will just become a part of your baby's skin, usually without any further ado. Unless it's causing a serious cosmetic defect, which doesn't sound like it from your request, I wouldn't worry about it.

Yikes, this happened to my brother when he was younger and my mom took him to the hospital. He actually ended up having lead poisioning, so you might want to take her just to be on the safe side and get it checked out.

Good Luck,


Hello V...

I was poked with a pencil in 3rd grade. Right on my shoulder... It's still there..
I does get lighter as the years go by. Don't poke at it or it will just get irritated.

If the wound is open, I would put Hydrogen Peroxide in there. It will bubble and get most of the dirt out. Hopefully, in a few days it will go away.

I would not go to Urgent Care. They will do exactly what you are doing now.

Just be patient and not make a big deal of it. That way your daughter will not be playing with it. Let it heal.

Clearly, this is something to bring to attention of your doctor, but just to ease your mind, here is my story: I was stabbed with a sharp pencil when I was a kid, right into my knee. The point is still in there, you can see it under the skin. I never got it removed and it never caused me c-er or anything like that. I think the small amount of lead (mostly graphite, actually) is insignificant compared to actually injesting some or otherwise getting lead particles into the bloodstream. On me, the stab was in the fleshy part under my kneecap and although it hurt at first, it never interfered with my knee's function. Back then you didn't go to the doctor unless you were shot or dying. LOL

I'm reading the rest of the responses and laughing! I had no idea it was this common! This happened to me in third grade, someone was swinging their arm with a pencil in their hand and stabbed me in the hand (we're, what, 8 in 3rd grade?) I'm 43 now and I still have a graphite dot at the base of my left thumb and I'm just fine. [twitch.....twitch]

Hey, it missed her eye right? A miss is as good as a mile.

Hi V.,

I haven't read the other responses but I just wondered if the nurse or doctor would recommend your daughter take an antibiotic? I saw a program on TV about a guy who stepped on a toothpick and later developed a staph infection. His wound may have been deeper though? Just wondered. J.

Hi V.,
I didn't read all the responses, and I realize you've already responded, but I wanted to clarify why the dot will remain for years to come. The carbon that now makes up what is called "the lead" in pencils (although there is no longer any lead whatsoever in pencils anymore) acts like a tattoo ink to the skin. It stains it permanently. So it is likely the stain that you see and not a piece of the pencil. I still have a dot on my palm from a pencil poke at age 11. But since her dot is in a visible spot, you may want to see if it can be removed later down the road by laser or some other modern technology.(when of course you get health benefits...my heart breaks for you) Food for thought anyway. But rest assured it is harmless as far as poisoning goes. Best of luck to you, my dear.
:) C. B

Check with your doctor, but I am almost sure they just leave it there. My husband has an actual pencil point in his arm from when he was a child. I am certainly glad that it was only in the eyebrow.

I don't have time to read all the responses tonight, as I usually do, and love to do, but I have a dark scar on my ankle bone that came from scraping it on the pavement. I was 13, and I am now 37, 24 years, and I still have a dark scar because I did not get all the pavement out of my skin. I cleaned it and did ointments so it would not get infected, which it didn't, and healed normally. But I look at it now and I am glad where it is, and not on a part of my body I care about. If you can get the pencil taken out, try to. But if you can't for financial reasons, I understand. I understand that you may not be able to spend the money on this right now, but maybe you will be able to in the future. If i had the money right now, I would give it to you. It will probably work itself out, but if it doesn't, maybe later you can get it out. It's probably best to do it now, but you can only do what you can do. It will work out, there is always reasons for everything, not always easy though. Good Luck, and God Bless!

It seems like it will get itself out eventually, but if you're worried it never hurts to give the doctor a call. Assuming your doctor has been in biz for a few years, he or she has probably seen it all! I also wanted to reassure a bit that pencils don't actually contain lead anymore, though we still call it "lead." It's graphite.

i did the same thing with my hand some odd 30 years ago. still tiny have blue dot. at the time my ped. said it's like a tatoo and did nothing to take it out. most likely, the can "cut it out" and leave a tiny scar, but w/o health plan your only option is free clinic
wish i could be of more help

Wow!! I didn't realize that I wasn't the only one that had "The Spot"! I'm 51 and got mine when I was in 8th grade math. A boy stabbed me in the top of my hand with his pencil. I'm looking at it right now and cracking up! Thanks for a great laugh. I needed it.

Even though you don't have health insurance you really should still take your daughter to a walk in clinic or someone who can help you! It could get infected and if there is lead in there i doubt you could get it out on your own!

My son poked himself with a pencil when he was 5. He's now 17 and had no problems. He still has the mark on his arm.

I did not see the original question, but I just have to respond. When I was about 2 I ran up to my dad and he bent down to pick me up. Well he had a pencil in his pocket lead sticking out. I nailed it just to the left and above of directly in between my eyebrows.

To this day, I am 39 1/2 years old and I still have a "blue freckle". I have freckles naturally, one just happens to be blue! It did no harm to me and that was back when there was real lead in the lead.

Don't worry it's not lead, it's graphite, so she won't get lead poisoning. Most of the time the body expels foreign matter in time. Unless it gets infected, like it gets hot and red and pus forms around it, then I would seek medical attention. Keep it clean and watch it. Don't go digging for it. That would just cause more of a problem. If you think it really needs to come out, then you will have to have a professional due it under sterile conditions. This probably isn't a good thing for mommy amateur surgeon to try unless you are willing to go straight to the doctor if it doesn't work. The only thing I can think of if you are really determined is a pair of very fine tweezers that have been sterilized in alcohol. Don't try a needle and thread.

On the last day of school of the 4th grade I was walking home swinging my purse and stabbed a (graphite) pencil into my leg below the knee. i thought for years I'd have lead poisoning, but alas no lead in pencils anymore. The mark is still on my leg 35 years later. Most foreign bodies will work their way out (people have trouble even keeping piercings in, because the body rejects them.

Is it an open wound or just the mark under the skin? I'd keep an eye on it, if there's any sign of infection don't hesitate to go to Urgent Care (much cheaper than the Emergency room) or schedule an appointment with her pediatrician.

She may be stuck with the mark, but suffer no other ill effects. Now I know why my mom didn't allow any pencils/pens/sewing needles on our couch--she never warned me about spinning my purse in the air though.

My daughter poked herself in the belly with a pencil. A little piece broke off right by her belly button. I could not pop it out like a pimple and I was making it red messing with it. So I called the doctor and he called me back and said it was no big deal and it could stay in there forever and never hurt her. However it worked itself out in a few weeks! no harm done!!!

Thought I would share our experience... when my son was 16 months he accidentally poked himself with my husband's mechanical pencil right below his eyebrow. That happened to be the day that we were getting pictures done too! My mothr in law told me that the mark would always stay there. It happened to her when she was 10 and she still has the mark. I was mostly concerned because it only missed his eye by a couple millimeters. If his eye had been open it could have poked him right in the eyeball! But I am glad it didn't. Now, 3 years later he still has a faint mark there. I don't know if anyone would notice it. These things happen!

I know this response is late and you have had many responses already, but I wanted to share a similar story about my sisters (it is one that the whole family jokes about now). My oldest sister poked my other older sister in the arm with a pencil when they were very little. The tip broke off into my sister's arm and it is still there to this day. She is 40 now. My mom was alone with 5 kids (dad left) and no health insurance so she could not take her to the doctor, but my sister has never had any problems because of it. It's just proof now that our oldest sister did one mean thing in her life ;)(she is the kindest, most thoughtful person you could ever meet).

I'm glad you have a friend who is a nurse who could look at it and I hope the homeopathic remedy works. I am sure she will be just fine!:)

i poked my daughter with a pencil in the mouth (she must have been 1 or 2) she will always have a black dot when she smiles (in her gum line) she is 14 now. it does not affect her in any way (she is a wonderful, confident child) but, it was not her choice to have this dot and nothing can be done about it now (other than possibly a permanant tatoo in pink to cover it up) so i do wish i asked her dr or a plastic surgeon at the time if anything can be done immediately to remove it because i did not realize that it would never go away.

i also still have a blue dot from being poked with a pencil when i was 8, i am now 30 & have no complication from it just a little blue dot, dont worry you should be ok. mamasorce is great

WebMD is a good source for information. It doesn't replace medical care,but can shed light on help you might need.

Also, state clinics can provide medical care on a sliding scale basis. In these tight $ times use your state resources. It takes a lot of time, but good health cannot be replaced. :-)

I can't believe it! I got myself with a sharp pencil in the ankle over a year ago and never could figure out why the dot didn't go away. Now I know! Thanks for posting.

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