How to Stop Hot Pepper Burns
*This is not professional advice from a trained doctor so please treat it as such.
To cut to the chase to stop the burning the tried and true method is to rinse your hands with a high proof alcohol like vodka or a regular rubbing alcohol over the burn for instant relief. High amounts of alcohol help to absorb the oils, keeping your hands pain free.
So you forgot to wear gloves. Been there; done that.
There is more than one way to treat a pepper burn. This blog post will cover some of the other ways you can treat the burn. To find methods to help cure the burn from peppers you ate check out our other blog post here.
Why Does it burn?
The short answer. Capsaicin.
The long answer, peppers have a natural oil in their seeds and membranes. So as soon as you open up those bad boys they can be painful without the proper rubber glove protection. The heat is derived from natural alkaloid oil known as capsaicin (you can read more here).
It calms the majority of the pain quite quickly BUT requires multiple rinses. Dish soap is designed specifically to remove oil from dishes, unlike regular hand soap. So scrub some on our hands and let it sit for 15-30 seconds then wash off with warm water. Repeat as necessary.
A common staple of every pantry; this is our usual go to in the event we run out of the other methods. Mix up a solution of baking soda and water and submerge your burning hands into the paste. Once the paste has dried out, wash it all off along with the burning sensation. Repeat as needed.
While we can’t vouch for this one its worth trying if all else fails. An old wives’ tale says that if you rub your hands on stainless steel it will remove the scent of stinky foods like onion and garlic. In the same vain it should remove the oil from the peppers. Try rubbing your hands on a block of stainless steel to help remove the oils and then wash your hands with dish soap when you are done.
Fighting fire with fire. But it works.
Try washing your hands with vegetable oil when you’re done cooking with hot peppers. Hot pepper oil is more soluble in other oils than it is in water. So in theory it should help wash away the pain.
So at the end of the day to prevent all of this from happening in the first place when preparing peppers wear food grade gloves. It's the easiest way to prevent the burn.