Getting fiberglass on your skin can be painful, because this synthetic fiber consists mainly of glass. According to the Illinois Department of Public Health, fiberglass particles are rod-shaped, approximately three times longer than they are wide. The shape makes it easy for fiberglass to pierce your skin, and sometimes makes it difficult to remove. The IDPH recommends that when working with fiberglass you wear long sleeves and gloves to limit your exposure to the fiberglass rods and taking immediate measures to get fiberglass off your skin if you do come into direct contact with it.
Rinse the exposed skin area, without rubbing, under cold water. Rinsing will close your skin pores and remove any fiberglass particles lying on the surface of your skin, preventing further penetration.
Soak the affected area in warm water and Epsom salts to open skin pores and draw out fiberglass slivers embedded in your skin. When using Epsom salts for sliver removal, the Epsom Salt Council recommends adding two cups of Epsom salts for each gallon of water.
Apply a topical steroid cream to the affected skin area. According to Mass General Children’s Hospital, fiberglass slivers can cause a skin condition called contact dermatitis, characterized by itchiness, redness and swelling of your skin. A mild to moderate topical steroid such as hydrocortisone or clobetasone butyrate cream has anti-inflammatory properties that prevent symptoms from occurring.
Based in Green Bay, Wisc., Jackie Lohrey has been writing professionally since 2009. In addition to writing web content and training manuals for small business clients and nonprofit organizations, including ERA Realtors and the Bay Area Humane Society, Lohrey also works as a finance data analyst for a global business outsourcing company.