Nugget of Knowledge: Paper cuts

Paper fibers and chemicals irritate a paper cut

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – Why does a paper cut hurt so much?

We’ve got more pain receptors, more nerve endings, in the tips of our fingers than almost anywhere else in the body.

At a microscopic level, a razor blade looks straight, but paper is actually quite rough. It acts almost like a hacksaw, ripping through cells and nerve endings.

Paper also leaves behind tiny fibers and chemical residues, which irritate the wound even more.

Plus, paper cuts are usually not deep enough to start blood clotting or scabbing, so the damaged nerve endings in our fingers are left exposed. We flex that open wound every time we use our hands until the skin is repaired.

Here’s an experiment on nerve endings: get hold of a paperclip, then bend it so the two ends are close together and pointing in the same direction. Try poking your back or legs and see if you can distinguish between the two sharp points, then try again on your hands or your face.

It’s much easier to feel both points there because of the extra nerve endings.

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