How To Stop Chili Pepper Burn On Hands And Skin

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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.

Chili Pepper Hand Burn

Watch The Video:

In This Article:

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 your skin.

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

Lemon dish soap.
Lemon 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.

Glass of cold milk.
Glass of cold milk.

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

Similar to a sunburn, you can try applying some aloe vera gel to your spicy pepper burn. Aloe can help increase blood circulation and provide some temporary relief for chili burns on the skin.

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!

Closeup of eyes burning from chili oil.

With the eyes, there is really only one method to help alleviate a jalapeno burn.

Use Milk

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?

Of course you didn’t. You’re just like me. You’ll just bookmark this article for when this inevitably happens again.

Calvin Thumbnail


One of the original Pepper Geeks! When Calvin isn’t gardening or learning more about peppers and botany, he might be traveling new places or playing some music.

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    1. @Jennifer, I came to this page because it’s been days. Halfway through my Habenaro sauce making, I drove to the shop. The next morning, taking the car to work my hands got PTSD. It’s been 2 days; does it ever end? Stinging hands in an ice bucket, water is the worst!

  1. This might be one of the dumbest things I have ever done but I had pepper still on my hand and I itched inside of my ear, near the ear canal. any suggestions on the best way to get rid of this pain? I cannot find relief and having the burn inside my ear gives me a lot of anxiety. Any suggestions would be so helpful.

  2. Well as capsaicin is the essential ingredient in tear gas, I will share the info about treating eye burning from tear gas. An antacid suspension such as Maalox or similar works wonders when applied to the eyes, face etc that have been exposed and then rinsed off after relief is achieved. It may be due to the calcium ions binding to (and inactivating) the capsaicin.

  3. Poison Ivy wash, such as TecNu, is very good at removing these oils that get in the skin pores. Interestingly, TecNu was originally developed to wash away radioactive ash and fallout in the event of a nuclear event.

  4. Thanks for sharing. I foolishly minced some hot peppers for a lovely Thai curry, without gloves of course. Interestingly, the resulting Jalapeno Hands made the symptoms of my Raynaud’s disease go away 🙂 Something to discuss with the doctor, I think.

  5. I was cutting a variety of peppers at a food bank, wearing gloves. Afterwards, I had the most painful burns on my fingers. I tried milk, yogurt, oil, mustard, honey, milecular water, baking soda and the only thing to releive the pain was ice water. After about five hours of pain, I called a teledoc. He suggested advil and vaseline. It really hurt to take my hands of the ice water and apply vaseline, but after about an hour it started to get better. I feel sooo much better the next day. The burned areas are sensitive, but no more dreadful pain.

  6. I had the carolina reaper pepper today and
    The heat levels were no different than before I’ve been eating chili’s for 31/2 decades or so and now I it’s even better cause I don’t have feeling in my mouth cause neuropathy and it don’t even phase me cause I’ve eaten the ghost and
    Scorpion pepper I’ve always known milk
    And dairy products help cool the mouth outside of letting the burn die off.

  7. Butter. Real butter. Slather it on an let it do it’s magic. Use the gloves that you should have been weary to
    keep it on your skin.

  8. Baking soda powder on my hands helped.

    Putting ice on my hands helped. I put ice and water in a plastic cup with a top and held it while I slept…seriously…they only way I could get to sleep.

    Today just a few burning spots left on hands.

    I thought about going to ER as my heart started to race and I almost passed out. But just getting the pain under control helped resolve the issue.

    But my ghost pepper sauced turned to amazing.

  9. Unfortunately none of these worked for me! After 3 hours of trying everything I could find and contemplating going to the ER, what DID end up working was mustard! I saturated my hands in it and out gloves on for about 30-45 minutes and they finally stopped burning!

  10. Gosh I think dynamite is not hot😭 and I said to myself ohh theirs no spicy 😪 but after all at the end 🤯🔥 o my goodness it’s really hot and spicy 😅 the more I washed it water, the more it’s burning so now I’m here for searching 😅😢

  11. I very much look forward to your newsletter.
    I have tried growing several types of chili peppers for the first time this year.
    Your website is a great reference.
    I harvested Red Savina Habenero, cut them in half and touched them with my bare hands as I dried them before in the dehydrator.
    I washed my hands with water and wiped them with a towel.
    And then I wiped my face with the towel.
    …..I had a very hot experience. Lol (*≧д)ノシ彡☆

       from Japan.

    1. @Scott, There are a couple products that are specifically formulated for removing oils from poison ivy, oak, etc. They will also work on the oils from hot peppers. Interestingly, these products were initially developed to wash away radioactive ash in the event of a nuclear event.

  12. It feels better now, I tried multiple times with soap and cold water for an hour.

    1. Also like everyone else we tried everything! But 1 thing that definitely worked and is still working is a baking soda paste. It stops the burn. For real!

  13. The toothbrush was a big help for me. Thought I was doing a good job hand washing with dish soap alone, but it wasn’t helping, nor was milk or rubbing alcohol. The toothbrush plus dishsoap was a significant improvement, even if it didn’t take all the pain away.

    1. I tried milk, hand washing soap, vegetable oil but all of this didnt worked.. I tried honey it takes a while but its totally working 10-15 min soaked with honey do it again its really working..

      1. You have to keep your hands in the milk dipped for min 10 minutes… and then wash it of dishwashing liquid….seems pacify quite a bit

  14. The best and fastest relief I’ve ever experienced to apply tooth paste couple of times to burning chilly skin and within minutes the pain has gone totally.

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