Fiberglass most likely invades your skin if you’re a worker who’s trying to install fiberglass or doing some sort of work where fiberglass operation is needed. It could be anything like operating electronics, plastics, ventilation ducts, construction, and many more places.
As stated in the IDPH (Illinois department of public health) touching fiberglass shouldn’t affect your health in the long term. But at the same time exposure to fiberglass might show some serious symptoms, Agency for Toxic Substances and Diseases Registry says.
This article explains every actionable way to remove fiberglass from your skin within a minute. It also makes you aware of safety precautions you should take while working with fiberglass. And also how you can work safely with it.
Excited to dive in? Let’s Get started.
A Brief Overview of Fiberglass
What is fiberglass? Fiberglass is a synthetic material that is made up of tiny fibers of glass and these fiberglasses are so fragile that without even noticing they can penetrate your skin easily. As a result, it leads to pain and rashes.
Additionally, fiberglass is a man-made material and is typically made of or mixed with other materials like fibrous glass, wool, and glass wool.
Fiberglass is widely in use as it is cheaper and more flexible than carbon fiber. By weight, it is lighter than any metals. Due to these unique features found in them, they are also used in many industries and households.
How To Get Fiberglass Out Of Your Skin?
Let’s face it. Fiberglass is hard to bear and irritates your skin like hell. Most often fiberglass presence on your skin gives you a bad itch.
We figured out two approaches to remove fiberglass if your skin comes in contact with it. The first 7 steps we will go through, simple and manual methods to remove fiberglass. These are more simple methods and you might find them more comfortable to go with.
The second one would be some methods backed by the department of health and human services. That’s a little less practical, still, it’s important to be aware of these too. Let’s see the manual methods first.
1. Duct Tape or Electrical Tape
Duct tape has a unique feature that is it’s sticky and flexible. Considering this feature, duct tape can help to remove the Fiberglass from your skin and also pull out small fibrous hairs, which makes your skin feel irritated.
If you succeed in this method, you won’t have to deal with irritation any more. But before getting relief from irritation, you may feel some pain.
Steps To Follow with Duct Tape:
- Press the tape gently on the affected area. Hold it for 2-4 minutes with your hand above the skin.
- Smoothly pull off the tape from one direction and slowly peel it up. By repeating these processes a few (2-3) times, you can succeed in getting fiberglass off your skin. You must take care of your skin while doing the same.
- Check the affected area under light or magnifying glass after this method. By doing this, you can see if the glass flakes came out of your skin or not.
Caution: Do not wash the affected area with tap water before applying the tape. It can cause you trouble with the pressure of water and hence, it may push the Fiberglass more deeply into your skin.
2. Epsom Salt Bath
Taking a bath with Epsom salt can help you reduce pain. It makes your skin swell, thus helping you remove the fiberglass without having any feeling of itch and rash on your skin.
Epsom salt is a chemical compound made up of Magnesium, sulfur, and oxygen, commonly known as bath salt. You can find it online or near your cosmetic area, drug, and grocery store. Epsom salt dissolves in water faster than regular salt and commonly used in baths and applied for cosmetics
Steps To Follow with Epsom Salt:
- Add a cup of Epsom salt to a bowl of boiling water and leave it for 15-20 minutes.
- Now mix up the prepared solution of Epsom salt of boiling water into your bathtub.
- Make sure that salt dissolves totally in water, and your bathtub contains boiling water. It helps your skin to absorb the prepared solution.
- Take a deep bath if you feel itching throughout or simply dip the affected area in your bathwater.
Note: Please keep in mind this step may work for some people or may not for others. It mainly varies depending on the skin texture of the person.
3. Cold Showers
Dr. Adam Friedman says, If you have itchiness or rashes in your skin due to fiberglass or any other substance, a cold shower can help you overcome itchiness.
Note: Dr. Adam Friedman is a professor and interim chair of Dermatology at the George Washington university school of Medicines and health sciences. If you have any queries regarding any skin problems you have or face now, you can book an online appointment with him.
Steps for Cold Shower:
- Take a cold shower bath for 10-20 minutes. Notice whether the fiberglass fibers have been washed from the affected skin or not.
Note: This step might not work for extreme cases of fiberglass over the skin. So, follow this step when you feel your case isn’t extreme.
4. Sticky Glue or Skin Glue
Skin glue is a medical glue used to close wounds on your skin. It is the best alternative to Duct tape if you do not want to use duct tape to remove fiberglass. Sticky glue may also help you by protecting your skin and building a waterproof covering over the affected area.
Steps to Follow with Sticky Glue:
- Apply a skin glue or stick glue on the fiberglass exposure area and leave it to dry for about 10-15 minutes.
- Then slowly peel off skin glue, so that glass flakes come out of your skin with dried glue.
- Skin glue can even help with reducing the itch of your skin.
5. Baking Soda
It is formed by sodium salt and is also known as sodium hydrogen carbonate in chemistry. It is widely used in baking.
Baking soda helps you eliminate Fiberglass and itchy skin because it has a leavening property. Also, a baking soda bath often helps with soothing your skin. Besides these baking soda has a lot of other benefits.
Steps to Follow with Baking Soda:
- Add a cup of baking soda to a bowl and make sure that it is enough to cover the affected area.
- Mix the baking soda with water until it forms a thick paste. Leave the paste to dry for about 30- 35 minutes.
- Now apply the paste of baking soda over the affected area whether it is your arms or legs up.
6. Anti-Itch Cream
Anti-itch cream or drugs are common ways to prevent you from itching and moisture in the affected area. It is also known as Antipruritic.
An ideal anti-itch drug or cream should contain just 1% hydrocortisone. So keep this in mind before purchasing an anti-itch cream for yourself. Hydrocortisone can help your skin in many ways, such as allergies, rash itchiness, redness, eczema, and many other skin conditions.
Steps to Use Anti-Itch Cream:
- To use anti-itch cream to get fiberglass off the skin, you need to wash the affected area with water and then leave it exposed to dry.
- Follow the instructions given on product packaging. Shake it well before applying it to your skin.
- Apply a small amount of Hydrocortisone anti-itch cream in the affected area and gently rub it around four times a day.
Caution: Do not apply it to your face, mouth, and underarm pits. If the complications involve these areas, then simply take advice from your doctor before applying it. Keep in mind not to use this anti-itch cream for long.
7. Using Tweezers
Using a pair of tweezers can help you to pluck the fiberglass out of your skin. This step comes much more handy and effective if you have one or two fiberglass pieces pricked in your skin.
Steps to use Tweezers:
- First, clean the tweezers then use a magnifying glass to help your eyes see the glass beneath your skin.
- Move to a place where there is a good amount of lighting conditions.
- Finally, if you are able to see the fiberglass splinters under your skin use tweezers to remove them.
Note: Don’t become frustrated during this method. Tweezers can take several attempts to remove the splinters out of your skin.
8. Look Out for A Doctor
If fiberglass is left sticking to a place for long without any treatment, then this step is for you. Fiberglass can cause your skin to be inflamed if it remains on your skin for a long time. It may even lead to a skin infection in severe cases.
So, at this point, you can’t help yourself. But a doctor who is well skilled and experienced can remove Fiberglass from your skin with proper treatment.
What to do:
- Check for redness in your affected area as it can cause you skin problems by intense itching or irritation on the skin.
- Go for medical care if you notice that Fiberglass isn’t removed from your skin for long.
Health Department Suggestion for Removing Fiberglass
According to the US Department of Health and Human Services while installing or doing any work where Fiberglass is used:
- Wash the exposed area using tap or running water with mild soap as this will help you close your skin pores and to remove fiberglass use a clean towel.
- If you can see the fiberglass clearly on the outer surface of your skin, then using tape on the exposed area may remove the fibers from your skin.
This second technique may help doctors to diagnose fiberglass dermatitis. But if the fiberglass is deeply embedded then it might not extract them all but surely will remove a large number of fibers from the affected area.
Risks Involved While Working With Fiberglass
Fiberglass insulation is not generally considered dangerous, but coming in contact with it can result in difficulty breathing. This may even cause respiratory problems and irritation in the skin. (Source)
Fiberglass inhalation may even cause stomach discomfort, and conditions like asthma and bronchitis. Sometimes inhaling long fibers may lead to lung injuries.
So, to avoid problems such as Respiratory Issues and Skin Irritation – the insulations should be properly sealed off and should not be left exposed to the area of work. This can help prevent fiberglass to get into air vents and circulate throughout the home, as stated by the American Lung Association.
Precautions To Take While Using Fiberglass
Workers and general consumers who work with fiberglass regularly or sometimes must avoid direct contact with fiberglass.
You must follow 6 general precautions suggested by the New York City Department of Health for handling fiberglass with safety:
- To reduce direct skin, contact, and irritation, you should wear loose-fitting or long sleeves and gloves. It’s even recommended by IDPH.
- Remove and wash your worn clothes after working with Fiberglass.
- While working with Fiberglass, you should protect your nose, throat, and lungs by wearing the N95 mask.
- Wear Eye Shields or goggles during work periods; this will help protect your eyes from fiberglass 👀.
- Stay clear of direct contact/touch with Fiberglass. If you are exposed to Fiberglass thoroughly wash the exposed part with soap and water to protect yourself.
- To prevent your skin from fiberglass you may even choose to apply baby powder before starting to work with the same.
Is Fiberglass Safe or Not?
According to studies, fiberglass is safe for people and workers regularly working with it. But they must use protective gear while doing the same.
According to the U.S National academy of sciences, they found that “glass fibers do not result in the risks of your respiratory system cancer” and also do not trigger any carcinogen.
Another study done by the journal of occupational and environmental medicine looked at the health impact of vitreous fibers on workers. They simply concluded that – whenever you come in contact with Fiberglass proper safety equipment should be worn to avoid its inhalation and prevent irritation of your skin.
The Office of Environmental Health Hazard Assessment presented the modification and concluded that a cancer warning is not required in the packages of biosoluble fiberglass which are used in today’s fiberglass insulations.
Also if you have been exposed to fiberglass then it can lead to respiratory symptoms because the smaller particles settle in your lung. And this in turn causes symptoms such as itching, coughing, sneezing, and worsening asthma symptoms.
If you have faced any of the above symptoms while getting exposed to fiberglass then it’s always a good idea to consult with your doctor.
Summary: There is no evidence suggesting the risks of lung, cancer, and other breathing problems associated with fiberglass installation or insulation. This applies to everyone but proper safety precautions must be ensured before the same.
The Bottom Line
Removing fiberglass from your skin doesn’t involve rocket science. Basic things at home such as duct tape, baking soda, or a tweezer can easily help you deal with fiberglass over your skin. At the same time, you must not work with fiberglass without safety precautions such as wearing a mask, gloves, and a goggle. Working without them might make the situation critical.
Now, I turn over to you. What do you think, which method would you prefer to go for if you get stuck in this situation? Comment below and let us know what you think about this issue. 🙂
Where do you find fiberglass in your everyday life?
Fiberglass finds its use in industries and things like craft, boats, cars, bathtubs and enclosures, septic tanks, water tanks, roofing, pipes, swimming pools, surfboards, and external door skins.
Will fiberglass come out of the skin on its own?
No, it’s very difficult for fiberglass to get out of your on its. You must try to figure out a way to remove it by manual means or consult a doctor beforehand.
How Bad Is Fiberglass For Your Lungs?
Coming to direct contact with fiberglass may affect your lungs and may show you symptoms like coughing and wheezing.
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Adarsh Kumar is the guy behind the growing Health & Wellness blog Health On Planet. He is a 5 years old veteran of the Health Industry with previous expertise as a health writer for several other blogs. He provides his readers with articles about surgery, nutrition, and wellness related aspects.