Fix Your Paper Cut Woes With This Easy Chapstick Hack

You're flipping through those papers your boss needed, like yesterday, and suddenly slice your finger along the edge. In addition to the shocking pain that a little cut brings, it's pertinent to stop the bleeding and get back to work. The most common way to treat a paper cut is how you treat any other cut on your body—rinse it off, add antibiotic ointment, and bandage it. But you don't always have a bandaid available when needed. Grab some chapstick out of your bag or desk to stop the bleeding and seal up that cut before it drips on your precious documents. 

It might be a surprise that plain ol' chapstick can be a saving grace when it comes to sealing up a paper cut, but the wax in lip balm provides an excellent sealant for the skin, just like how it soothes those tingling and burning chapped lips by locking the moisture in. That barrier is a time saver that lets you get on with your day.

You can keep your fingers moving and your boss happy by learning how to seal a paper cut using chapstick.

How to use chapstick to seal a paper cut

Your fingers see a lot of different things in this world and paper cuts are one of the more tragic things they face. Not only are paper cuts downright painful, but they are always in odd places that can make bandaging them difficult. Rather than pulling your bag apart trying to find a bandage or struggling to get a bandaid to custom-fit your finger, reach for a wax-based lip balm, like ChapStick. 

After cleaning the wound with water and soap, either swipe the lip balm across the paper cut to help ease the pain and stop the blood, or you can use a tissue to grab some product and apply it. Using a tissue ensures you don't get blood in your chapstick and keeps any finger germs off your lips. Reapply it as it starts to hurt again. It's really that simple.

The reason that your lip balm works is because the wax works to create a seal over the cut, so the bleeding slows, and the pain diminishes because the nerves in your fingers aren't exposed to air anymore. Additionally, lip balm is designed to seal and heal lips that are cracked and dry. Those vitamins and moisture-locking ingredients also work to nourish and promote healing on your cut. 

Now that you know how to use chapstick on your cut, find out why paper cuts hurt so badly in the first place.

Why a paper cut hurts so much

After adding a bit of chapstick to your finger, the shallow cut feels much better. But it doesn't make sense that a little slice of the paper could bring a tear to your eye—or does it? The human body is full of nerves, but a 2014 study in Annals of Neurology showed that the "fingertip was the area of highest special acuity, for both touch and pain." So, when a sharp edge of paper slices through the skin, exposing the nerve endings in your finger to the air, it's more excruciating than if that paper were to slice your leg or back. And our always-moving fingers continuously open the shallow wound, exposing those pain receptors to the air. 

In addition to chapstick, you can also use a liquid bandage or antibiotic ointment to reduce airflow to the cut. Finding a way to keep the cut sealed is key to getting on with your day. 

So, when a bandage isn't an option, reach for your lip balm to help heal and seal up a paper cut. Not only does it help stop the excruciating pain of the shallow cut, but the vitamins and nutrients for chapped lips help promote quick skin healing. However, try to find a chemical-free lip balm for your paper cut because some ingredients in lip balm — like phenol, menthol, and salicylic acid — can dry out your skin and do more harm than good.