Paper Cut Awareness Day is August 14th
August 14 is National Paper Cut Awareness Day in the US. Paper cuts are strange injuries: despite being fairly shallow and minor, they can be extremely painful. Why are paper cuts so universally painful? Tegner-Miller Insurance Brokers compiled the following facts about why paper cuts can be so excruciating.
1. Why do paper cuts happen so easily? Skin is fairly strong against pinpricks due to its collection of randomly oriented collagen fibers. However, the random array of these fibers makes them more susceptible to cuts and gashes. This is why a piece of paper can cut your hand open, but circus performers can lay on a bed of nails and emerge unscathed.
2. Why do these relatively small cuts hurt so badly? Despite being fairly shallow, paper cuts stimulate a large number of pain receptors. These shallow cuts do not bleed much, which leaves pain receptors exposed to open air, increasing pain.
3. Why does paper specifically cause painful cuts? Despite its flat appearance, paper actually has microscopic bumps, ridges and a fibrous surface. This roughness on the paper can increase discomfort. Additionally, paper may be treated with bleach and other chemicals, increasing irritation.