Cold Bare Metal, Gas, or Alcohol Stuck to Skin

Metal, gas, and alcohol can be astonishingly cold, which you discover when you touch it and cannot pull away without breaking your skin.


Touching your bare skin to frozen metal can cause your skin to stick. Your hand and your face, for example. Metal can be even more efficient than ice in taking your heat away. If your skin feels like it’s sticking, do not pull away. That can rip skin and you might need surgery. Instead, pour a warm (not too hot) liquid onto the contact area until your skin willingly, easily, and painlessly leaves the metal. If the liquid is too hot, let it cool a bit so you can safely dip a bare finger into it, then pour.

Prevent it by wearing gloves, even light gloves. Or just hold fabric or something like it when you touch metal.

(Psst: If no other warm liquid is handy, males can produce a flow. It’s disgusting and embarrassing, but it’s warm and can be cleaned up afterwards. Females have it too, but less conveniently.)

If a blow torch, candle, or other extreme device is all you have, consider applying it elsewhere on the metal. Or having a friend do it, someone with two hands. Depending on how extreme the device is, it should not instantly turn the metal hot at your hand. It’ll take a second or a minute or something and you’ll be able to pull away safely in time. But be careful about other circumstances.

An uncertain solution may be to insulate the hand in place and the nearby metal and warm the stuck person and their arm, as well as trying to warm the metal by rubbing nearby.

Calling 911 for a medic may help unless they think you’re a crackpot. In that case, call a hospital.

Gas and Alcohol

Gasoline and ethyl alcohol (the kind people drink) can be colder than ice. Don’t let it on your skin on a cold day. If it got there, get it off fast. Scrub your skin dry. If it freezes onto your skin, pour warm liquid onto it to melt it.

Red crabapples on branches and covered with ice.

Touching bare skin to frozen metal can cause your skin to stick to the metal. That’ll be a medical emergency. Also for gas and alcohol on skin.

Websites of Interest

These websites have some interesting content, although I disagree with some of it:


Hiking organizations:

General retailers of outdoor products:

General information: