Why A Pencil Stab Leaves A Permanent Tattoo?

Black Dot from A Pencil Stab of a Person's Right Hand

In primary school or even in the kindergarten, conflicts tend to happen sometimes and thus some fights could ignite and stabbing with pencils is a form of what it could lead to. The pencil stab in the hand, unlike a wound or a hurt, sometimes it doesn’t fade away, and the black/grey mark remains in the palm of the hand for a long time, sometimes forever. So why is it so permanent? And can it get away somehow?

To have such an unnatural black mark in the hand, is annoying to many people, for some it even causes them personal problems either with the attacker or something else, while some have got used to it and simply treated it as a “tattoo” of a different kind.

A 45 years old man stated that his cousin stabbed him with a pencil when he was 8 accidentally and the mark is still in his hand till this day.

The Reason Why A Pencil Stab Leaves A Permanent Mark

Is that its graphite particles get dug deep under the upper layer of the skin, and reaching the one under it, which is scientifically called the “dermis layer” which is the same level where the real tattoo ink gets put in, that’s what makes it almost permanent because it’s protected from washing as long as it’s there, and fades away slowly over years or even over decades.

Layers of the skin image representation

Yevhenii Dubinko / Getty Images

Thankfully, those marks aren’t harmful, in fact pencils are no longer made with “lead” material that used to be back in the day, instead graphite is used. The reason being, is that “lead” is such an toxic chemical that shouldn’t be in any kid’s pencil case, for example. The latter used to contaminate water from old pipes and some housing materials. “Lead” eventually got banned from the US in 1978, but it still can be found in older homes.

On the other side, pencils containing graphite are nowhere near that, it’s non-toxic and basically just another type of carbon extracted from nature and put in hollow cylindrical pieces of wood, making a pencil.

With that out of the way, it’s clear now that the risk of a pencil stab is not actually the black mark, but the real risk is the wound it could cause. Some people believe and say that it may also cause bacterial infection down the road due to pencils already being a dirt object. But that’s not backed up with scientific arguments.

Well then, can this mark be removed?

Yes, this pencil stab mark can be removed with laser treatment or just a cut out if possible.

Now the unanswered question remains, why do kids even stab each other with pencils in the first place? And is the teacher responsible?