As a spicy food lover, it’s bound to happen. You’re chopping jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers for your meal, and some of it gets on your skin and starts to burn. Or you take a bite of your freshly prepared spicy dish and whoa, the spicy heat is just too much.
Honestly, this happens to the best of us. Luckily, you can do a few things to alleviate the jalapeno burn of chili pepper burn from your skin and from eating hot peppers.
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Chili Pepper Burn On The Skin
The best way to avoid chili pepper burns on the skin is to wear gloves when handling them, nitrile gloves in particular. Hot peppers can burn your skin because they contain an oily substance called “capsaicin” that sticks to your skin.
Capsaicin is the substance that makes chili peppers “hot” and spicy, so avoiding the oil is the ideal way to go. However, we often forget to wear gloves or don’t think of it. This can cause burning on the hands and on other sensitive parts of the body that you touch with your hands, particularly your eyes.
Below are several ways to combat the jalapeno heat or other hot pepper heat on your skin or “hot pepper hands.” Some are my recommendations, but some ideas are from spicy food readers who have shared their personal experiences.
Be sure to read the comments below to learn other ways people have alleviated the heat for themselves.
Dish Soap and Water – Recommended
Dish soaps help clean oily plates, so they can effectively wash away the chili oil from your burning skin. If you feel burning on your skin from handling hot peppers, wash them thoroughly with water and dish soap several times to wash the oils off your skin.
Use Milk (or other Dairy) – Recommended
Dairy products like milk contain the chemical “casein” that combats the capsaicin effects (the chemical that makes peppers hot) by stripping it from its receptor site on the skin.
To use milk to help stop the jalapeno burn, soak your hands in milk in a shallow bowl for several minutes or until the heat subsides. If needed, wash your hands thoroughly with dish soap and soak them in milk.
Use milk, yogurt, sour cream, crema, or even ice cream to soak the burning skin.
Here are some other suggestions from spicy food lovers.
The oil that makes chili peppers hot, capsaicin, is more soluble in alcohol. So a quick rub down with rubbing alcohol (or even high-proof booze) can help wipe it from your skin. Just be careful, as the initial application of rubbing alcohol can cause an initial burning or stinging sensation.
Oils can be effective in helping to dissolve the burning chili oils. Dab some olive oil or vegetable oil onto your burning skin with cotton balls or a napkin. Soak or wipe the skin to help dissipate the chili pepper burn.
Weak Bleach Solution
This tip is according to Alton Brown of “Good Eats.” He says to douse your already burning hands in a mild solution of 5 to 1 water to bleach. The bleach helps wash away the capsaicin that hasn’t yet been absorbed into your skin.
Baking Soda or Cornstarch Paste
Starches can help draw out the oil from your burning skin so you can wash it away and possibly neutralize it. Mix one tablespoon of baking soda or cornstarch with one tablespoon of water to form a paste. Rub this into your skin and scrub to remove the oils causing the hot pepper burn.
Please note that the chili pepper burning sensation on your skin will dissipate over time, so don’t think it will last forever. For most people, it lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, so give it time. It’s not actual “burning” or damaged, only the burning sensation, so you don’t need to worry.
Hopefully, this helps you find some relief from your burning skin.
Stopping Chili Pepper Burning In The Eyes
If you’ve been handling hot peppers and touched your eyes, they can start to burn and sting, as your eyes are susceptible. If this happens, the best thing to do is soak a paper towel in milk and then hold it to your burning eye.
The milk contains a “casein” chemical that counteracts the burning chemical, “capsaicin,” which makes hot peppers hot.
Stop The Burn From Eating Hot Peppers
Many of us have experienced the burn after eating something too spicy. Often it’s too much hot sauce or a random bit of heat at a spicy food restaurant. Or you’ve miscalculated the heat of pepper from your garden.
If you are experiencing mouth burn or tongue burn from eating jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers:
Because of the innate hotness of all chili peppers, they can burn the inside of your mouth and your skin. If you find that you can’t bear the heat after eating a chile pepper, try to consume a dairy product like milk, yogurt, or ice cream.
Dairy products contain a casein chemical that combats the effects of capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers hot) by stripping it from its receptor site on the skin.
Milk can take some time to quell an intense burn, but it works. You’ll notice an initial heat dissipation, but scorching peppers and foods can persist, so continue with the milk or dairy. Rinse and then swallow if necessary.
I’ve also tried sugar, which seems to work in a pinch. Sugar can help absorb some of the hot chili oil and reduce burn.
The burning heat from eating spicy foods will eventually dissipate over time, so at least you know it won’t last forever. Even though it may feel that way.
If you’ve found a solution that worked for you, please share your methods below to help others stop the chili pepper burn.