When a tick attaches itself to a person's skin, its head is typically embedded under the skin to some extent, and it is important to try to remove the entire insect including the head. If possible, one should try to extract the head along with the body by firmly and steadily pulling it away with tweezers. Should the head break off during this process, a sterile needle or razor blade may be used to gently tease or scrape it out of the skin. It is also important to remember to keep the area clean while removing tick heads. Those who are unable to get the head out themselves may wish to have a doctor help.
Ideally, when one is removing a tick, the head will come out along with the body. This can be accomplished if one carefully grasps the tick with a pair of blunt tweezers near its mouth, as close to the skin as possible. The tick should then be drawn straight away from the skin in a steady motion, without jerking or twisting, as this can break the body away from the head and leave it in the skin.
In instances where the bodies break away, removing tick heads can be achieved by using a razor blade or needle. The skin where the head is embedded can be pinched to make it protrude slightly. A razor blade can then be gently scraped over the skin to bring the head out. Alternatively, a needle may be used to break the top layer of skin and tease the head out like a splinter. In either case, the chosen instrument should be sterilized prior to use.
When removing tick heads, one should take precautions to help prevent infection. Alcohol on a cotton ball can be used around the tick head prior to extraction. After it is out, the bite should be cleaned again with alcohol or soap and water. It is also a good idea to wash one's hands before and after removing it.
If home methods are ineffective, one might seek a doctor's or veterinarian's assistance for removing tick heads. The doctor may have better instruments to get them out and will be able to help if they are in too deep. He or she may also be able to give advice on whether the tick should be tested for Lyme disease.