Remedies for a paper cut

Fact Checked

A paper cut is a small and very painful slice on the skin. Paper cuts are caused by paper or other similar thin material such as an aluminum foil, plastic sheet, cardboard, boxes and packaging materials. The cuts are shallow and the surrounding skin usually close quickly but sometimes foreign particles can become trapped inside the skin and cause infections. Paper cuts usually occur on the fingertips and cause severe pain than abrasions.

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Causes and symptoms of a paper cut

The paper cut causes severe pain because the cut does not bleed and the receptors of pain are exposed to the air and cause more pain. Fibers from paper and any chemicals found in the paper can make the condition worse.

Disclaimer / More Information

The material posted on this page on cuts, scrapes and bleeding, including paper cuts, is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage cuts and bleeding by taking a first aid and CPR class with one our training providers.

Paper cut
Clean the affected area using hydrogen peroxide which helps eliminate bacteria in the wound.

Treatment

  • Rinse the affected area using cool water to eliminate any dirt and debris. Cool water lessens the stinging sensation of the cut.
  • Clean the affected area using hydrogen peroxide which helps eliminate bacteria in the wound.
  • Scrub the area with water and mild soap. Avoid scrubbing the wound too hard to prevent the condition from worsening.
  • If cool tap running water is not available, use a bulb syringe or make a hole on a plastic bottle filled with cold water and squeeze the water on the area.
  • If the affected area is bleeding and does not stop, apply gentle pressure using a clean washcloth or bandage until the bleeding is lessened.
  • Apply an over-the-counter antibiotic cream or ointment to prevent any infection and promote rapid healing of the area. If rashes develop on the skin, stop using the medication.
  • Close the paper cut using a clean bandage especially if it is located in an area that gets dirty easily. Covering the wound can prevent bacteria from entering the wound that can make the condition worse. Avoid wrapping it too tight to prevent disruption in the blood flow to the area.
  • If the bandage gets wet or becomes dirty, clean the wound and cover it again with a clean bandage for fast healing of the area.
  • Rub honey on the cut.
  • Apply a few drops of aloe vera on the affected area since it lessens the discomfort and promotes rapid healing of the area.
  • Boil a mint tea bag and let it cool off and apply on the paper cut. An alternative is to soak the affected area in a basin with cooled mint tea.
  • Apply petroleum jelly on the paper cut to prevent air from causing irritation on the exposed area of the wound.
  • After cleaning the paper cut, apply clear polish to close the exposed tissue of the affected area and prevent air and germs from irritating the wound.
  • Close a deep paper cut wound by pushing both edges of the wound together and apply a strip of surgical tape. The tape should be perpendicular to the affected area.

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The information posted on this page is for educational purposes only.
If you need medical advice or help with a diagnosis contact a medical professional