Remove Pepper Burn From Your Hands With These 8 Tips

One of the best things about a garden is making homemade salsa- and one key ingredient is jalapenos!

But as tasty as jalapenos are, you have to be careful when cutting them or your hands will be ON. FIRE. Not literally. But they’ll definitely burn intensely nonstop! (I may or may not be speaking from personal experience…..) This is because of capsaicin- the stuff that actually makes the peppers spicy! When cutting into peppers, capsaicin gets on your skin- causing the burning sensation.

The best way to prevent this is to wear gloves when cutting into a jalapeno, but sometimes we forget to wear them, or we don’t have them around and choose to cut into a spicy pepper anyway (is there any price too steep for delicious, homemade salsa??). If you find yourself with a case of burning pepper hands, here are some remedies to help!

1. Wash your hands with dish soap. Basic, but this can be effective! You’ll want to use a grease-cutting dish soap to help break down the oil from the pepper. Sometimes this is all it takes!

2. Rub your hands in a baking soda paste. Baking soda is always coming to the rescue, and burning hands is no exception! Cover your hands in the paste and let it dry, and then rinse it off. (you can also try cornstarch in a bind). This can help draw out the oil and soothe your skin as well.

3. Pull out the dairy! Yogurt, milk, sour cream, ice cream- these are all soothing to eat after munching on spicy foods, so wouldn’t it make sense that the same principle would apply to our hands, and not just our tongues? Dairy can help remove the oil, but it will also feel cool and soothing to your burning fingers!

4. Lather your hands in olive oil. Sometimes you have to fight oil- with oil! Rub your hands in oil to help break down and remove the pepper oil on your hands. When really in a pinch, you could even try and rub a small amount of oil on your hands before cutting into peppers to prevent burning hands in the future.

5. Use watered down bleach. I would hesitate to use this remedy unless you’re absolutely desperate, but if you find yourself in excruciating pain, you can make a solution of 5 parts water and 1 part bleach and rinse your hands. The bleach helps to break down the oil and makes it easier to scrub away.

6. Alcohol. Rubbing alcohol can help dissolve oils, so this one is also worth a shot if you feel that nothing is working. Just a light rinse should do the trick!

7. Use a painkiller. I try to avoid taking medication unless absolutely necessary, but when you gotta, you gotta! If your pain is unbearable, try taking an ibuprofen to numb the pain until the oil dissolves.

8. Distractions!! Ultimately, the oil will dissolve- you just might need to find a good distraction to pass the time! A good book, a walk outside, crafting, talking to a friend on the phone- find something to keep you occupied until the burning subsides.

Hopefully these tips help you next time you find yourself with a case of burning pepper hands!

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    Camille Hoffmann
    Monthly Newsletter Contributor since 2014
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