Paper cuts are undoubtedly the tiniest, most harmless injuries we can have. But we believe that most of you will agree that it hurts a ton more than many of us would expect.
We’ve all experienced that unexpectedly painful sensation that comes from accidentally cutting our fingers with the edge of a piece of paper.
You’d suppose a bit cut like that wouldn’t be therefore dangerous, but it’s as if your skin has been ripped open.
So why do these minor wounds hurt so much?
In a nutshell, the paper acts as a much smaller handsaw. It’s several times thinner than the average kitchen knife blade which allows it to make very fine cuts on the skin despite its flimsiness.
Thin cuts can activate many nociceptors or our pain receptors over a small surface area. Our fingers have a high concentration of nociceptors, making paper cuts so painful.
Paper cuts also tend to not bleed as much as other cuts, exposing more pain receptors to the air, which then sends more pain signals to the brain. Learn more about why paper cuts hurt on the video below.
This most likely explains why my dry and cracked fingers when it cold are so difficult to tolerate. Who knew paper could be such an efficient weapon?