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Why Do Paper Cuts Hurt So Much?

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Why do paper cuts hurt so much? We've all asked ourselves this question after getting one of those nicks on our hands — or anywhere else on our bodies that we're unfortunate enough to get one. Paper cuts are such mystifying problem: They're usually tiny and may not even cause bleeding, so what's the deal with these minor injuries bugging us all day long?

As it turns out, science has a few fascinating explanations for why your small paper cut is giving you some big-time pain. First of all, you can partly blame your fingers themselves for the pain; our fingertips have more pain receptors than most other parts of our bodies.

"Fingertips are how we explore the world, how we do small delicate tasks," dermatologist Hayley Goldbach, MD, told BBC. "So it makes sense that we have a lot of nerve endings there. It's kind of a safety mechanism."

Next, you can also blame the paper for that unbearable throbbing that pulsates through your entire hand. Even though a sheet of paper looks smooth and tidy to the naked eye, you'd be surprised if you checked it out under a microscope; the edges are much rougher than they appear.

You can also blame how superficial the cut is on the skin. You probably have already noticed that you usually don't see blood when you slice your finger ever so slightly. Though this sounds great in theory (who wants to see blood?), it leaves the wound more exposed because there is no clotting or scabbing forming over it, like there would be with a deeper wound.

Finally, you might even cast a little blame to the way you perceive the pain in your own brain — if you believe in one scientific theory, that is. Some experts suggest that a paper cut seems especially painful to us because we see it as such a small thing that should be harmless — but clearly isn't.

We wouldn't think about that last part too hard, though; we don't want our heads to start hurting too!

h/t Science Alert

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