Small but mighty, most everybody is familiar with the extent of pain that is brought on by a paper cut. But why are these seemingly non-existent lines along our fingertips so painful and disruptive?
The first reason for the painful injury can be attributed its placement. Imagine getting a paper cut anywhere else on your body like your leg or shoulder. It wouldn’t hurt nearly as much as a fingertip. This is because your fingertips are the number one location for which your body perceives the sense of touch. Hundreds upon hundreds of nerve receptors are located here — also referred to as Nociceptors. Obviously, fingertips are constantly being used, causing the cut to be repeatedly agitated. This results in an increase in pain and a longer healing process.
Although it can’t be seen through the naked eye, the dull edge of a piece of paper creates an extremely rugged and damaged cut along your skin. This is comparable to cutting a piece of meat with an extremely dull knife. Not only this, but because papercuts are usually shallow and do not bleed, the nerves endings in your fingertips are exposed to the open air and all of the irritants which it contains.
So, the next time you find yourself distraught over the nearly transparent line on your fingertip, be sure to put on a band aid, aloe vera, raw honey, tea tree oil, and most importantly — avoid hand sanitizer at all costs.