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Four fingers on a hand that have black ink designs on them.

How harmful is it to write on skin with a Sharpie?

December 05, 2012

Q: How bad for you or your skin is writing on your hand or arm with a Sharpie pen? My nieces and other girls do it frequently to list their races before swim meets and later wash off the ink with sunscreen. Should I be worried?

A: The absorption of any toxic substances from the Sharpie is zero.

The ink dyes the skin cells, which are dead, and they are rubbed off with the sunscreen. So I would not be worried.

Cool idea regarding the swim meets!

-- Answer from Dr. Cameron, a physician on JustAnswer.

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