How to Make Hot Peppers Stop Burning

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Pepper Spray Delivery Systems

Pepper spray is an effective and concentrated inflammatory agent which is typically sprayed from a pressurized container.

There are other forms of pepper spray delivery systems, and we will discuss those in a moment, but we will start with the most readily available styles in the US: Stream and Gel

Stream: A liquid spray which easily penetrates the eyes, nose and lungs. Splatters to cover a wider area and can also affect space beyond the immediate spray area. Susceptible to strong wind and reverse contamination.

Gel: Can shoot further than spray in a tighter, more concentrated area. Less splatter than liquid but less likely to be absorbed into nose or lungs.

Stream Spray delivery

Stream Spray delivery

There are other types of : Foam, Cone, Fog and Projectile.

Foam: Not as common as the other types. Less effective range than stream or gel. Greatest pain generation if attempted to wipe off.

Cone: Less effective than stream or gel, but highly effective on the respiratory system. Significant risk of self contamination in enclosed areas or environmental factors (wind) due to wide area of spray.

Fog: Not available for individual use, it is designed for correctional and riot control applications.

Projectile: These are pepper “bullets” if you will. They have the best range and as a result the lowest risk of self contamination. They cost more and the delivery systems are more complex than sprays. Limited number of projectiles in delivery system.

What NOT to Do

If there is a fire and we want to put it out, we throw water on it. Right? Surely if there is a fire in our mouths, the first thing we would think of to put the fire out is water. Worst mistake ever!

Because capsaicin is an oil, the water will just glide on by. If anything, it will just spread the pain around making things worse.

Stay away from anything water-based if you are on fire. That means no:

  • ❌ Water
  • ❌ Coffee
  • ❌ Tea
  • ❌ Soda
  • ❌ Beer
  • ❌ Wine

The last two could appear irrational given one of the remedies that work listed below; therefore, let me deal with them now.

Please keep the methods in mind these methods for stopping the chili pepper burn on your skin

Rubbing Alcohol

The oil that makes chili peppers hot, capsaicin, is more soluble in alcohol, so a quick rub down with rubbing alcohol (or even a high proof booze) can help wipe it from your skin.

Use Dairy

As mentioned above, dairy products contain the chemical “casein” that combats the effects the capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers hot) by stripping it from its receptor site on the skin.

Consider using milk, yogurt, sour cream or crema, or even ice cream to soak the burning skin.

Oils

Oils

Oils can be effective in helping to dissolve the burning chili oils. Dab some olive oil or any other vegetable oil onto your burning skin with cotton balls or a napkin. Soak or wipe the skin.

Dish Soap and Water

Dish soaps are meant to help clean oily plates, so they may be effective in washing away the chili oil from your burning skin.

Weak Bleach Solution

Weak Bleach Solution

This 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 absorbed into your skin.

Baking Soda or Corn Starch Paste

Starches can help draw out the oil from your burning skin so you can wash it away and possibly neutralize it.

Hopefully this helps you find some relief with you

Hopefully this helps you find some relief with your burning skin.

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How to use Pepper Spray

There are several steps for effective liquid or gel pepper spray delivery to your target.

Prepare

Store your spray or gel where it is easily accessible, and quick to deploy. In a pocket, on a belt clip, at the top of your bag or purse.

If you are in a situation where you feel nervous, get it in your hand with a firm grip, get it ready should you need it.

Someone who is 20 feet away from you can close that gap in less than 2 seconds. You need to be ready.

There’s nothing illegal with showing that you have the spray in your hand to deter a would-be assailant, but don’t advertise it unless you need to.

Be mindful of wind, and try to minimize or avoid splash back onto you if you are downwind of an attacker.

If you are indoors you will likely be affected by the spray to some degree. Leave the area as quickly as possible.

Stance

If possible take a defensive stance like this: Empty arm forward, hand open.

Arm with the spray behind the extended hand, at head level and inline with your nose.

This serves two purposes:

This serves two purposes:

  1. You attacker will likely go for that arm first, giving you more time to deliver the spray.
  2. You will block some spray that might come back in your direction.

Move & Spray

If you are rushed by an attacker, move. Get off the “X” is the expression.

Step to the side or move at a 45 degree angle. Try to avoid stepping backwards, you could trip and fall over your feet or an unseen object.

To apply to your target, spray in an sweeping burst pattern across eyes and head, it will get around glasses if the target is wearing them. Spray into nose and mouth if possible.

Move again. Side step and apply again from another angle if possible, move offline at a 45 degree angle.

Don’t just spritz them, soak them down until they drop.

Retreat

Get away from your attacker quickly, it takes several moments for the spray to reach full impact on the target.

In that time they could still reach you and get a grip or a blow onto you.

Watch This Video

This is the best video I’ve found about the technique I’ve learned and advocate.

What he is using here is a cone spray to fill an area. Cone sprays are a little harder to find in the US, and the downside to them is they can contaminate you. They can fill a big space, but don’t travel as far as the concentrated sprays.

If you want to get a cone type sprays: Sabre Red 2.0 oz Max Strength Pepper Spray, Cone Delivery or Pepper Enforcement PE510MF-FT Fogger Pepper Spray

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!!!

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.

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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