So you did it again. You ignored all the warnings to wear gloves when cutting peppers, and now you have hot pepper hands. You’re not alone.
Though I am an advocate for wearing nitrile gloves and eye protection, I often slice jalapenos without gloves when I’m in a hurry. It doesn’t take much spicy pepper juice to get your hands burning from peppers. Regrets.
So, this one is for all of us who will never learn to be proactive. But, we can at least learn how to get rid of hot pepper burn on the hands. Use our methods to get some quick relief from hot pepper hands, and to help prevent this in the future.
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Hands Burning From Jalapenos – Why It Happens
Jalapenos are plenty spicy to notice a burn, either in your mouth or on your skin. If you neglected to wear nitrile gloves (yes, they should be nitrile) while slicing spicy chili peppers, you may end up with severely irritated skin.
This burning from jalapeno oils can start hours after you finished cooking! We call this ‘jalapeno hands‘ in the Pepper Geek household, and it happens far too often.
It can also affect other areas of the skin, not just the hands. If you get enough capsaicin on your ears, face, eyes, nose, or other sensitive areas, you may feel a spicy burn later on.
The reason hot pepper burn happens is due to the chemical compound known as capsaicin. This chemical is found in all spicy peppers, and it is the ingredient responsible for their addictive, fiery flavor. However, its effects can be felt on any tissue, including
When you get a spicy chili burn on your skin, it can last for hours and hours, even days if it is strong enough. This is because the mouth typically flushes itself out with saliva and digestive enzymes. This does not occur on the skin, meaning that you will have to treat a hot pepper burn on the skin differently.
How to Stop Chili Pepper Burn on Hands and Skin
Don’t worry, you can stop the burn fast if you follow our instructions. You essentially want to remove the chili oils from your skin and soothe the existing pain.
Remember, capsaicin is the spicy ingredient in peppers, and it is an oily substance. This means that we have to use some sort of detergent to remove it from the skin.
Water won’t work! Scrubbing with water will only make things worse. So follow these tips to stop the chili burn fast.
1. Scrub With Dish Soap
Dish soap is a detergent. It is formulated to remove grease and oils from your dishware, and it is also safe for use on skin. This makes dish soap the perfect ingredient to remove oils from your skin.
Start with a healthy amount of dish soap and scrub your hands with just a drop or two of water. Allow the pure detergent to emulsify with the capsaicin as you lather the affected skin. Then, rinse off the soap with cool water.
Repeat this process multiple times if the burn does not seem to be soothed after one wash. The more intense the burn, the more scrubbing will be required to remove all the oils.
Tip: Use a soft toothbrush or a gentle sponge to scrub under your fingernails with the dish soap.
We do not advise that you use dish soap in your mouth or on your lips. Many dish soaps are toxic when ingested, so only use dish soap externally.
2. Don’t Shower!
Most people tend to notice the hot pepper burning their hands or skin after showering. This is because the capsaicin on your skin is oil-based, and massaging it with warm water will spread it out rather than wash it off.
This, combined with the pore-opening effect of steamy water causes the burn to increase. Ouch.
Make sure you have dealt with the capsaicin before you go to take a shower. We’ve had the experience of spreading the hot pepper burn to…other sensitive locations. No fun.
While we’re on the topic of no-nos, there’s another big one we don’t want to miss. Don’t touch your eyes. Dealing with a spicy burn in your eyes is terrible.
The solution is usually to wait and cry it out (see below). You can flush with water or saline, but this is only minimally effective. If you’re suffering from spicy eye burn, your eyes will eventually flush out the oil with tears.
3. Dip It In Milk
Milk is by far the best solution for spicy pepper burn in the mouth. However, it can also be very effective at treating it on the skin. The fats in milk help to break down the pepper oils and provide immediate, though temporary relief.
Use cold, full fat milk for the best effect, and feel free to submerge for as long as you want. The milk will not cause any damage to your skin, so fill up a bowl and let it sit.
As the milk warms up, the effect will wear off and the burn will return. Add some ice cubes to the milk to prolong the relief.
4. Apply Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe vera can be used after all of the other methods have been tried first, or if you don’t have any of the other ingredients on hand.
5. Give It Time
Unfortunately, the only thing left to do is wait. No method is effective at completely removing chili oils from the skin. Eventually, your skin will shed and the oils will be flushed from your tissue, providing complete relief.
Until then, learn the best way to avoid spicy pepper burn: wear gloves!!!
Stopping Jalapeno Burn In The Eyes
First off, don’t panic, you’ll be okay!
The first thing to know is that spicy peppers won’t blind you. Unless you’ve dumped pure capsaicin in your eyes, the burn will subside. So don’t go putting chemicals in your eyes trying to stop the burn. It won’t help, and you might cause more damage to your eyes than relief!
With the eyes, there is really only one method to help alleviate a jalapeno burn.
Once again, we call on the cow gods to help us. Soak a paper towel in high-fat, ice-cold milk. Squeeze out excess milk, and then lay the cold paper towel over your closed eye. This should provide some quick relief.
The paper towel will eventually get warm, and the relief will subside. Repeat the process until you can bear the pain.
Tip: Be sure to wash your hands before preparing your milk paper towel. If there is more pepper juice on your hands, you may end up making the eye situation worse.
Give It Time
Unfortunately, the only other cure for a chili burn in your eyes is time. Don’t expect the milk to completely fix the problem. Your eyes will water until the majority of the oil has been expelled.
Other Methods to Stop a Chilli Pepper Burn
After we released our video on how to stop jalapeno burning your skin, we received countless recommendations to make it stop. It would seem we’re not the only ones who have experimented to make the burn go away.
We have not tested any of these methods, so we can’t really recommend them. However, if you are looking for more ideas on how to make the pepper burn stop, here are a few.
- Banana. One of our commenters claimed that they stopped the pepper burn on their hands by rubbing the inside of a banana skin. I have to admit, this does sound like it would be soothing.
- Chili plant leaves. This was one of the more interesting solutions that was suggested. The comment claimed that crushed up fresh pepper plant leaves helped alleviate the skin burn. Yin and yang!
- Sour cream/full-fat yogurt. I have no doubt that either of these would provide some relief. However, as with milk, the relieve would likely be temporary. Make sure it is ice cold!
- Olive oil. A few people recommended using oil to alleviate the burn before washing with dish soap. The pure fat content of the oil is said to break down the capsaicin.
- Hot water. Multiple people have recommended submerging the burn in very hot water for several seconds to help relieve the burn. They claimed that after removing it, the burn is better. I have not tried this, though I have run hot water over the pepper burn, and it hurts. Only try this if you dare!
- Bag of ice. Ice defiitely provides temporary relief, though I have to say that in my experience using it, the burn comes right back with a vengeance.
- Toothpaste & water. While you’re using a toothbrush to get under the nails, why not try using some toothpaste, too? Multiple viewers swore by toothpaste to alleviate their pepper burns.
- Alcohol. Again, this was a common suggestion. The claim is that strong alcohol (such as rubbing or grain) breaks down the chemical compounds, relieving the burning sensation.
- Lick salt (for eye burn). If you are suffering from pepper burn in your eye, one of our viewers said that a quick lick of salt made the pain vanish. Seems odd, but might be worth a shot if you’re suffering!
This list could go on and on, but our best recommendations remain dish soap and milk. They are our tried and true pain relievers for a spicy pepper burn on the skin.
Well, have you learned your lesson yet? Did you order a box of nitrile gloves on Amazon yet?