Why Does Bacon Fat Draw Out Splinters? Getting to the Meat of This Folk Remedy

You’re prepping a nice Sunday breakfast when a piece of bacon fat splatters on your hand As you try to wipe it off, a small sliver of wood from the cutting board pierces your skin Now you’ve got an annoying splinter! But before you grab the tweezers, your grandmother recommends an odd trick put a slice of bacon on it overnight and the fat will draw out the splinter by morning.

This folk remedy for splinter removal has been passed down for generations. But does it actually work and if so, what causes the bacon fat to extract those painful wood shards? Let’s dig into the purported powers of pork to find out.

A Closer Look at Splinters

To understand why bacon fat can reportedly remove splinters it helps to first look at splinters themselves. A splinter occurs when a small thin fragment of something like wood, glass, or metal becomes lodged in the skin.

Splinters come in many shapes and sizes. They can be tiny hair-like slivers or large spear-like shards. The composition, thickness, and depth of the foreign material affects how easy it is to remove.

Shallow splinters are often simple to tweeze out. But deeper ones can be painful to extract. Home remedies promise a hands-off approach to coaxing out even stubborn splinters.

The Theory Behind Bacon Fat and Splinters

So how does slab bacon supposedly remove embedded splinters without digging around in your skin? There are a few proposed reasons:

  • Drawing action – Fats and oils are thought to literally draw out splinters due to capillary action. The splintered material soaks into the fat, which then acts as a wick to pull the splinter up and out of the skin.

  • Softening – Fats can moisturize and soften skin, which may allow the splinter to shift itself out naturally overnight. The emollient effect lubricates the area.

  • Swelling – Placing any occlusive barrier over a splinter may cause tissue swelling that pushes the shard up towards the surface.

There’s little scientific data on these theories. But anecdotally, people claim bacon fat succeeds where tweezers fail. Let’s look closer at why pork fat in particular is prime for splinter removal.

Why Bacon Fat Works Better Than Other Fats

While in theory any fat could draw out splinters, bacon fat is often singled out as the best. But what properties make it ideal for this purpose?

  • High in fat – Bacon contains 50% or more fat, giving it excellent emollient properties. The fatty acids moisturize skin to loosen splinters.

  • Low melting point – Bacon fat softens at cool room temperatures, allowing it to thoroughly coat and penetrate skin.

  • Nitrites – Bacon is cured with nitrites that may contribute antimicrobial properties to help prevent infection.

  • Salt – Bacon contains salt which may help facilitate osmosis to pull fluid from tissues and float out the splinter.

So bacon’s high fat content, spreadable texture, and curing agents support the proposed splinter extraction mechanisms. No wonder it’s often recommended over alternatives like vegetable oils or butter!

Step-By-Step: Removing Splinters With Bacon Fat

If you want to test this folk cure, here are the basic steps:

  1. Clean the affected area thoroughly with soap and water.

  2. Cut a thin sliver of fat from an uncooked strip of bacon.

  3. Place the fat directly over the splinter and cover with a bandage or tape to hold it in place.

  4. Leave the bacon fat on overnight, ideally 8-12 hours.

  5. Remove the bandage and bacon strip in the morning. If the splinter hasn’t risen enough to tweeze out, repeat steps 2-4.

The bacon fat may draw the splinter up enough to easily remove it, or at a minimum, soften the skin for less painful extraction. Just be sure to use fresh bacon and monitor for any worsening.

When to Seek Medical Treatment

While bacon fat may help some minor splinters, it’s not a cure-all. Seek medical help promptly if:

  • The splinter is large, deep, or fragmented into pieces
  • Signs of infection develop like redness, swelling, oozing, or fever
  • The splinter is composed of rusty or dirty material
  • It remains painfully lodged after 2 days of bacon treatment
  • Severe pain, numbness, or inflammation occurs

For serious splinters, avoid home remedies and go straight to a doctor. Trying to self-treat large, deeply embedded or infected splinters can make the problem worse.

Other Household Splinter Aids to Try

If bacon isn’t handy, you can try these other home remedies:

  • Potato – Its starchy moisture can help draw splinters out. Hold a thin slice on the area for 30 minutes.

  • Baking soda paste – Combine baking soda and water to make a paste. Apply to the splinter overnight under a bandage.

  • Epsom salt – Make a hot compress by dissolving Epsom salts in hot water. Apply for 15-30 minutes to soften skin.

  • Adhesive tape – Use the edge of cellophane or duct tape to lift out splinters close to the surface.

  • Flax seed poultice – Mix ground flax seeds with warm water and apply to the splintered area to help draw it out.

So next time you’re impaled by a sliver, turn to your kitchen before reaching for the tweezers. With various home cures, you can usually avoid digging around painfully in your skin and let nature gently draw out those annoying splinters overnight instead. Just don’t forget to cook up the rest of that bacon for breakfast!

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Will bacon fat draw out a splinter?

Bacon Fat. Cut small amount of fat off a fatty piece of raw bacon. With a band aid, secure the bacon fat on the affected area. Leave on overnight. The fat will draw the splinter out.

Will fatback draw out a splinter?

A poultice of white potato was made to draw a boil to a head or a splinter to the surface. Fat back will do the same thing, she says.

Can you put bacon on an open wound?

Apparently, the high salt content of bacon is believed to induce swelling, which causes the blood vessels to constrict, slowing the flow of blood and helping clotting. It does make bacon Band-Aids sound like less of a gag gift.

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