How to Remove a Permanent Marker Stain from Skin

an open black marker on paper with a black squiggle

A permanent marker stain on skin can be the cause of some worry. Some of the materials used in the production of permanent markers can be toxic. If the palms of the hand are the area affected by the permanent marker, avoid touching food before the stain is completely removed. Also keep the ink away from your face.

Most permanent markers are not totally permanent, and can be removed with some patience and the right materials. Whether you stained yourself while marking an object, or your kids were being adventurous, you can stop worrying. Try the following tips to remove the stain without harming the skin.

1. Soap and Hand Sanitizer

a pink bar of soap

Before trying any harsh chemicals, always try to get the stain off with soap. This works most of the time, especially when the stain is fresh on the skin. Wash the stained part of the skin thoroughly with soap and warm water. The mark on your skin should get considerably lighter. Hand sanitizers can also be quite effective in getting rid of such stains. Apply a small amount on the skin and rub it with your fingers. Then wipe it away with cotton or a soft cloth.

2. Nail Polish Remover

The active ingredient in nail polish removers is acetone, which is a paint thinner. Acetone and other paint thinners are highly effective in removing the layer of color that permanent markers create on any surface. To remove a permanent marker stain on skin, dab a small amount of nail polish remover on a cotton ball or a soft towel. Press the wet cotton or towel on the skin until it becomes damp. Use gentle pressure to scrub away the mark. Repeat a couple of times if necessary, and then wash the skin with soap and warm water. You can also use rubbing alcohol in the same manner. For children, try to use other gentle products such as baby oil, products like nail polish remover and rubbing alcohol may be too strong for their delicate skin.

3. Sunscreen

squeezing sunscreen out of a bottle onto a hand

Sunscreen is a pretty reliable tool when it comes to permanent marker stains. You can use either a spray-on sunscreen or a lotion. If using sunscreen, spray it on the affected area and wipe it off with a cloth or paper towel. Repeat if needed. If you're using lotion, dab a little on the skin, and rub it gently. Wipe it off with a towel. Wash the area with soap and warm water.

4. Makeup Remover

Eye and face makeup removers can be very useful in removing permanent marker stains. Dab some of the liquid or crème onto a ball of cotton and wipe the affected area. Follow up with soap and warm water.

5. Hairspray and Body Sprays

Spray some hairspray or body spray on the affected area. Wait for a little while and rub the skin. The ink from the permanent marker should begin to melt and come off easily. Wipe clean with a towel. Wash thoroughly with soap and warm water.