Have you ever taken any time out of your day to research why paper cuts hurt so much? No? Well I have and let me tell you, the science behind a paper cut is much more complex than you may think. When you get a paper cut, not only do you have to accept the fact that you were injured by a seemingly harmless sheet of paper, but you also have to endure the constant pain faced while doing anything involving your hands.
A combination of the properties of your hand and the properties of paper makes paper cuts the biggest pain of an injury. To start, according to an ABC news article titled “The Peculiar Pain of Paper Cuts”, your hands are full of nociceptors. Nociceptors are nerve endings that shoot signals of pain to the brain if one’s skin is experiencing enough pressure or temperatures extreme enough to damage tissue. Paper cuts are often deep enough to expose these nerve endings, but not deep enough to draw blood. This lack of blood keeps the paper cut from clotting and leaves the nociceptors exposed for longer periods of time. This constant exposure to the air causes dull pain that does not seem to go away until the cut is healed. Humans use their hands for almost everything they do and this constant movement of the skin on the hands causes paper cuts to reopen.
s stated previously, the hand is not the only thing to blame for the pain of a paper cut. Although it may seem smooth, on a microscopic level, the edge of paper is very jagged. This dull serrated pattern causes paper to cut like a saw and leaves a rough cut behind. The process of creating paper also involves many chemicals. When an individual gets a paper cut, some of the chemicals used in bleaching the paper are left behind in the wound causing irritation.
Now that I have informed you why paper cuts are so painful, I think it would be appropriate to tell you the best way to treat a paper cut if you are unlucky enough to receive one. The first thing you should do when you get a paper cut is flush the wound out with cold water. After you have flushed the cut out with water, gently wash the cut with soap making sure not to reopen the wound. After the cut is cleaned with soap, apply antibiotic cream and apply a bandage.