Ah, the old pencil stab. A right of passage! Whether you were stabbed on purpose (it happens) or by accident, if you're of a certain age, you probably have your very own permanent mark to remember the occasion. Hands, feet, arms, face - pencil stabbings happened everywhere. Nowadays, we don't have to worry about little things like lead poisoning. Pencils aren't made using lead anymore, they're made with graphite, so it's pretty harmless. But it will stick around for YEARS, which you may have noticed if you got stabbed by a pencil in the first grade and still have the little black mark in your skin. People on Twitter shared their own pencil stabbing scars, and it's hilarious how relatable they all were. But why does it stick around? And should you be worried that you can still see the mark after so many years?
That tell-tale little black mark is the sign of a losing battle with a pencil. We probably all have one somewhere! But why do they hang around for so long? Well, basically, when you stabbed yourself (or were stabbed) with a graphite pencil, you pretty much got your first tattoo. The graphite leaves particles in the dermis layer of the skin, which is where tattoo ink is deposited when you get a tattoo. The dermis layer is the layer just below the outer epidermis layer.
Like we said, it's not harmful, since pencils are made with graphite and not lead, and there's a very good chance the pencil didn't reach the subcutaneous tissue. Your only real risk comes from infection in the stab wound itself. It's a dirty pencil, so obviously there's a chance that bacteria could be introduced into the dermal layer and cause a bacterial infection.
Hello. I got frustrated while practicing single digit multiplication in 3rd grade and decided to slam my head on the table. However, I hit my pencil that was sticking point up. It’s still here 11 years later. pic.twitter.com/ZrkKAsI8bS— Samuel Hepola (@HepolaSamuel) January 8, 2019
Pencil stab wounds may fade slightly over time, but if they were deep enough to go into the dermal layer, they likely won't go away on their own. If you have one in an obvious place, like the poor guy above, you can have it cut out or lasered off, if you're so inclined. Or, you can wear if like a badge of pride, and regal your own kids with stories of your very first stab wound. We recommend the latter - it's painless, and totally free.