How to Get Marker Off Skin

Markers can be incredibly useful when it comes to artwork and taking notes. However, when you get marker stains on your skin, they can turn from useful to annoying. 

If you’ve been having a tough time getting rid of permanent marker stains from your skin, check out our methods below! 


Grab some coconut oil, baby oil, or olive oil from your cupboard and apply it to a cotton ball. Apply it to the marked area of your skin and use a circular motion to clean it. Use either a dry paper towel or cloth to wipe away the excess oil.

Wash your hands with warm water and mild soap. If the permanent marker ink is still on your skin, repeat the process until the mark is gone. 

Sea Salt Scrub

Coarse sea salt is an exfoliant which can be excellent for removing stubborn stains from the skin. Start by mixing one tablespoon of sea salt with a teaspoon of water and mix it until it forms a paste. 

Gently rub the mixture onto the stained area of your skin in circular motions until the stain begins to disappear. Use warm water to rinse your hands. If there are still marker stains, you can repeat the process. You may also want to apply some hand cream to the area after to avoid the skin becoming dry or irritated. 

Toothpaste & Mouthwash 

The lightening effects of whitening toothpaste can be applied to more than just your teeth. 

Apply a thick layer of toothpaste to the stained skin and rub it gently in circular motions. Next, apply some alcohol-based mouthwash to a damp cloth and use it to rub the toothpaste into the skin again. Use a cloth or paper towel to remove permanent marker pigments and excess toothpaste/mouthwash.

Wash your hands with warm water and soap to remove the toothpaste, mouthwash, and any leftover Sharpie marks. You may need to repeat this process a couple of times until the stain is completely gone. 

Rubbing Alcohol

Isopropyl alcohol is great for getting rid of stubborn Sharpie stains. Add a small quantity of rubbing alcohol to a cotton ball and apply it to the affected area. Gently massage the alcohol in circular motions on the area before leaving it to soak into the skin for around 20 seconds.

Use a clean cotton ball to remove the alcohol and stain. You can repeat the process until the permanent ink comes off completely. It’s also best to moisturise your hand after to prevent irritation and dryness. This is especially the case if you have sensitive skin as it prevents skin irritation.


Permanent markers are great for art projects and taking notes, however, we often don’t realise just how permanent they can be until they get on our skin.

Be sure to use the above tips to quickly and effectively get permanent marker stains from your skin every time. If you want to avoid this problem altogether for body painting, using a washable marker may be best.

Also read: Best Markers for Coloring


Can marker stains on the skin be dangerous?

This depends on the type of marker that you’re using and the kinds of ingredients it has. Some permanent markers contain potentially poisonous ingredients, such as toluene and resin. However, others are made with safe ingredients that don’t cause harm. 

If you have delicate skin, be sure to check the label of the marker to see if it contains any harsh chemicals. Some markers have a more natural chemical composition which may be better for your skin. You can also find washable markers to avoid permanent marker spots.

Can you use makeup remover to remove permanent marker from skin?

Yes, makeup remover can be a great way to remove permanent marker stains due to how they’re made for the skin. Apply the makeup remover liquid to a cotton ball and rub it gently on the ink stain. Do this until the marked skin is clean. This method can also work great for temporary tattoos or other body art projects.

Can you use hand sanitizers to remove permanent markers?

Yes, applying hand sanitizer can be effective at removing permanent marker stains faster. Alcohol-based sanitizers are best because they reactivate the permanent marker stain. As a result, you can wipe it off more easily.

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Written By Adam Rushton

Adam has made a name for himself in the illustration industry and is a passionate blogger and writer on the subject of art, illustration and graphic design.

His artwork has been featured in countless publications and used for very well-known media projects. As a professional illustrator for over 20 years, Adams media outlets, a wealth of knowledge, and experience enable him to consult and advise artists and illustrators in this country (from York and Manchester to Southampton and London) and all over the world.