o How do I get my hands to stop burning ??? (Archived thread)

Posted by Eden7 SE USA on Sat, Jul 20, 02 at 14:31
I was making salsa and cut up a habenero..one little one :) and now my hands are on FIRE!!! Is there anyway to stop the burning ??? Yeah I know...next time wear gloves LOL!!

Posted by: RetroDame z9 FL on Sat, Jul 20, 02 at 14:59
Milk helped the time that I got pepper oil in my eye. (ouch! Never, NEVER rub your eyes while you are making chili!)
Maybe soaking in milk would help your hands? Either that, or a quick dip in some rubbing alcohol or vodka.

Let me know if it works.


Posted by: Byron 4a/5b NH on Sat, Jul 20, 02 at 15:26
Automotive waterless handcleaner, vegetable oil, tomato juice.
Wear gloves.

Posted by: Taba z5b MO on Sat, Jul 20, 02 at 18:54
Ouch. Rubbing alcohol is supposed to cut the oil, then follow that with a lotion or ointment. Bag Balm is a great skin balm if you have it.

In general, use alcohol products to kill the burn externally, and milk products internally. The milk might help externally, too.

Posted by: NorthEast_ChileMan 6a MA on Sun, Jul 21, 02 at 8:47
I remember reading someplace that rubbing WD-40 on your hands works.

Posted by: pikkle 6 on Sun, Jul 21, 02 at 11:13
Wear gloves

Posted by: Structure0 Ames, Iowa on Sun, Jul 21, 02 at 17:51
The best solution is to use gloves, but a bleach and water solution is the only one I know of that will neutralize capsicum.
Not recommended for eyes though...so don't rub them whatever you do...

Posted by: dwalls 7 AR on Mon, Jul 22, 02 at 12:09
Yes, Chlorine Bleach - full strength will cut the capsaicin.
It's hard to rinse off the bleach, but it will work.

Posted by: Taba z5b MO on Mon, Jul 22, 02 at 14:09
A friend of mine is a cancer specialist (since 1970s and constantly speaks at medical conferences) and he saw me using chlorine without gloves once and was horrified. He believes chlorine (bleach) and many other household chemicals are general health hazards even on the skin so recommends gloves for everything.
Not sure if it's true but I no longer use chlorine, gasoline, or other harsh chemicals without gloves. So if you try to keep things as healthy as possible,
you might try the rubbing alcohol before the bleach.

Posted by: Cajun2 z 7b/8a - FW TX on Mon, Jul 22, 02 at 15:47
Benedryl. It can be (and might be) an allergic reaction. I did this once with mild pablano chiles, making green chili and thought I'd DIE before I got relief.
I finally ended up calling Poison Control (after calling Mom, the hospital ER, and 911).
It worked!

(and I'd tried almost all of the above (except the bleach), along with ice,
anti-bacterial soap, and a few other things)

Benedryl also makes a topical ointment. I keep both on hand.

Posted by: Eden7 SE USA on Mon, Jul 22, 02 at 17:44
Thanks all. I am printing all these remedys out in case there is a next time LOL
Peppers usually don't bother me but that habenero really burns and it lasts a long time.

I tried washing my hands in Dawn diswashing liquid...nothing I put vinegar on them..only short term relief.

I finally just put ice in a ziploc bag and held it till my hands were numb.
It took about 8-10 hours for the burning to quit and this was a teeny tiny hab about the size of a nickle.

I am buying plastic gloves today when I go to town
Thanks again everyone

Posted by: chirple 9 Ca on Sun, Jul 28, 02 at 22:47
I have an employee who makes chile often, she told me that if your hands burn,
just rub them through your hair and it will go away. Haven't had a chance to test it yet though.

Posted by: dwalls 7 AR on Mon, Jul 29, 02 at 8:17
I don't think so, Chirple.
Hmm. Hunan hair. That would be a good way to really tick off your hairstylist.


Posted by: LatenightGoddess 5Il on Wed, Sep 4, 02 at 1:33
should have known better myself.... wont go in to the whole idiotic how i got to the point but my fingers are/were burning bad! so far without going into the bleach, i did a combo of lemon juice, alcohol rub, vinegar water soak.
they all helped a little, but what i did was pretty bad. boy are my hands going to look rough tomorrow. i cant believe i almost forgot about the garden web!
shame on me!what would i do without you guys???):C???

Posted by: NathanS WA Aust on Wed, Sep 4, 02 at 3:33
The only reason why rubbing your hands through the hair may help is the oil in the hair. I believe capsicum is oil based (that's why water doesn't offer much relief). To me something like vegetable oil would make sense. And I know from experience milk helps, even externally...

I once had a parcel with Dave's Ultimate Insanity in it. Little did I know one of the bottles had smashed during delivery, and I ended up getting some on my hands when opening it. Even the next day the skin was red from where the sauce had burnt it. :O

Posted by: John__ShowMe__USA 5 on Wed, Sep 4, 02 at 8:21
These disposable gloves work quite well. 25/$1.49

[picture of Tidy Hands gloves]


Posted by: Nelz z5 NW PA on Sat, Sep 7, 02 at 1:05
For those of you that recommended chlorine bleach;
1 piece of advice.

Read the warning label on this stuffe. Please. It may cut (see next sentence) the capsaicin, but then it will eat the rest of the skin off your already burnt and oversensitive hands. You would have to show me some controlled study regarding cutting capsaicin, not just antecdotal evidence.

1 question.
If you think the bleach idea is the way to go, would you consider putting your hands in the stuff? I would hope not!

I agree with Taba's friend regarding chlorine bleach and household checmicals.
If they are bad for the skin, what are they doing to our (not mine, I don't use them) mucous membranes, and our environment. I have read many studies over the past 15 years pointing to increases in specific types of cancers being related to continued exposure to 'normal' levels of various household chemicals.
The numbers and studies escape me now, but they were in the 10%-30% range,
and one was 40% regarding chlorine and intestinal cancer. It startled me enough to swear them off, and I have found natural alternatives for everything.

I've yet to experience this on my whole hands, but I'm sure I will sometime.
I have done the eye thing though, thought it was safe to wipe just above the eye lid. Appearently our skin is porous, and the eyelid thin. Lot's of eye drops and flushes.

I was thinking Go-Jo that garages have to clean oil and grease off hands.
Just squirt, rub it in, wipe off on a rag, no water necessary.

Bleach on skin, please. Not just skin, but already burning skin, double please!


Posted by: NathanS WA Aust on Mon, Sep 9, 02 at 3:43
Thanks for giving me some ammo to get out of some house work Ken :) Just got to hide the gloves first...

Posted by: TrentTheThief z6 NJ on Thu, Sep 12, 02 at 15:25
I foolishly picked some wild peppers once while tooling through the jungle and stuffed them in my cargo pocket thinking to make chili with them. Silly me.
I ended up in sick bay with huge blisters on my leg. The corpsman used alchohol to clean them and then slathered burn lotion over them. I don't know what kind it was, but it worked.

I don't put peppers in pockets anymore.

Posted by: Structure0 5 Ames, Iowa on Thu, Sep 12, 02 at 19:11
I put my hands in bleach all the time. (I use it for various household cleaning tasks and disinfecting duties related to canning, beer making, cheese making,
etc.) I do keep them away from full strength bleach. They are just fine. And no my skin isn't wrinkled, spotted, etc. Its great if you want to be careful and avoid household chemicals. Just don't imagine that all of us have the same sensitivities.

I also know for a FACT that using a bleach mixture like Clorox Clean Up will remove capsaicin from both human skin and tools such as knifes, cutting boards,
etc. I've processed large quantities of habanero chile before when I was part owner of a hot sauce company. Gloves or no gloves, there were times we had to use this.

Also note that capsaicin does not, repeat DOES NOT, burn your skin. It may feel like it, but it isn't actually burning you. Thus washing with a bleach solution won't cause you any pain. And no, nobody should use bleach on their eyes, mouth, etc. I hope that is obvious.

Of course, as pointed out at the start of this thread, the best idea is gloves.
But when you have an emergency you have an emergency, and a brief exposure to a bleach solution once or twice isn't gonna kill you. Certainly not any faster than bad diet, lack of exercise, excessive alcohol consumption, etc.

As for the environment. Absolutly. We should all avoid the use of as many chemicals as we can. I make most of my contribution though by riding the bus everyday, and doing most of my other trips by bike. Even when its has meant riding on ice. :)

Posted by: annie1992 Z5 MI on Sat, Sep 14, 02 at 15:24
I know it's no consolation, Eden7, but a friend of mine brought me a couple dozen little habaneros yesterday. I have a really not bright secretary, who bet she could eat one, whole and raw. She took the first bite, chewed, swallowed,
and I'll be darned if she didn't then take the second bite, chewed, swallowed,
smiled (sweated and turned red). When my friend left, the secretary went to the bathroom and thew up, then went to the pharmacy for milk of magnesia, tums,
Immodium, Emetrol, and about 4 other things. She was sick all day....I'll bet she still feels lousy.

Posted by: peppermania Z9 Texas on Wed, Jan 1, 03 at 20:10
I wish all my Chilehead buds the VERY best in 2003 and an awesome chile garden to boot!

Beth in Texas

PS: About the burn, I started using Evelyn & Crabtree Gardeners Scrub and Lotion Combo I had received as a gift earlier this year. It works GREAT for breaking down the CAP! Smooths the hand too! Might be pricey, but it's worth it, at least to me.

Posted by: mirandy z7b AR on Wed, Feb 26, 03 at 9:04
Mom always used Pet Evaporated milk, full strength. It worked. A small can costs less than fifty cents! Doesn't hurt to drink it straight from the can either--I should know as we kids were always up to the next "Hottest" challange.
Works on the exterior of the body as well.

Posted by: NCTomatoman z7 NC on Wed, Feb 26, 03 at 11:18
Bleach is the only thing I found that worked, but I use it only when in extreme discomfort (like the year I grew out and saved seeds from 20 different Chinense types!).

Posted by: Taba z5b MO on Wed, Feb 26, 03 at 23:45
I recently used yogurt (again) topically for chile burn. Not exactly pretty,
but it helped. Reduced my dessert by a bit, tho. hehehe.

Posted by: Taba z5b MO on Fri, Apr 18, 03 at 0:44
I just ground more habs a week ago and breathed in the dust AGAIN (don't ask me why). I think I felt my lungs dissolving. Had to wear the lovely yogurt facemask again around my mouth and nose. LOL!

Posted by: TMFU on Fri, Apr 18, 03 at 12:02
I've never had my hands burn, but have accidently touched my eyes after washing my hands several times. Since that one time, here is what I do...

I wash my hands very well with dish soap and water, dry them with a paper towel. Next I rinse my hands again with lemon juice... This seems to work...
I've never accedently gotten the old hot pepper eye since using the lemon juice after a good washing.

Boiling habaneros in hot water gives off some really almost toxic steam. On a couple ocasions I've done this and basicly everyone in the house was mad at me for a long time afterword.

Posted by: vieja z7NM on Mon, Apr 21, 03 at 0:00
My mother-in-law rubs her hands with either milk or table salt; ....me?: I make hubby take care of his Mucho Nacho and Biker Billy jalapeños!

Posted by: bluerepper on Mon, Apr 21, 03 at 8:26
Plunge them burnin digits down your trousers and rub, rub, rub!
I promise you wont notice your burning hands anymore!! ;0)

Posted by: Catrina z4b WI on Tue, Apr 22, 03 at 9:23
If you are going to do a lot of chili's your hands can start burning even if you are wearing gloves. I where double gloves not if I have a lot. If you are wearing gloves even if your hands aren't burning you can still have some on your hands when you take off the gloves. So, even if you wore gloves and the hands feel ok still don't touch your face. remember the knife and the cutting board have the stuff on too.

Bleach works, but so does milk. With the milk you have to leave your hands in it though, not just rinse. I tried the yogert when I got it on my face and I thought it helped and its safe to put around your eyes.

Posted by: GreenDemon z5 MA on Tue, Apr 22, 03 at 11:04
I have a similar problem with crushed pepper I made from Thai Dragons. This stuff is lethal -- like mace. When I shake it on a dish, I have to hold my breath and close my eyes, else my senses enter a new dimension of torture.
But it tastes good...

Posted by: boxturtlemexican on Fri, Apr 25, 03 at 8:20
I found this discussion while searching the web for suggestions on how to wash hot pepper oil off my hands (the need was immediate - I had just finely chopped many serranos and jalapeños for pico de gallo ). I tried the rubbing alcohol suggestion (I soaked my fingers in a small bowl of it while scrolling thru all of the suggestions above). It really did work!

Posted by: BARSTOWGARDEN 9SoCAnoDesrt ) on Fri, Apr 25,
03 at 8:34

I prefer the alcohol method also, but use the intermal method(hic)

Posted by: plants1010 z6 WA on Fri, May 16, 03 at 15:07
Its good to hear the isopropyl alcohol soak actually works, I always assumed it would but never tested to make sure- kind of rough on the skin though.

Did you use the cheaper less irritating/drying 70% type?
Acetone or MEK would work MUCH better but they are pretty toxic and they are absorbed through the skin.
Naturally one should never, ever, ever, ever use DMSO!!!!

Posted by: John__ShowMe__USA 5 on Fri, May 16, 03 at 15:18
> Naturally one should never, ever, ever, ever use DMSO!!!!
Why not? I still reminisce about the resulting garlic taste in my mouth. Am I doomed to die?


Posted by: plants1010 z6 WA on Fri, May 16, 03 at 15:51
DMSO takes anything on your skin (or in the DMSO) and injects it directly into your tissues and veins- imagine injecting habanero oil into your flesh,
and you thought hunan hand was bad!!! If a chile head washes their hands with DMSO they should expect pain intense enough to cause delusion, hallucination,
and unconciousness followed by their hands swelling to the size of a watermelon (that sure would be a good way to baffle the ER doctors, they would probably be looking for a snake bite while your hallucinating giant habanero deamons setting your arms on fire with napalm).

Posted by: John__ShowMe__USA 5 on Fri, May 16, 03 at 16:04
> ...they would probably be looking for a snake bite while your hallucinating giant habanero deamons setting your arms on fire with napalm).

Cool! I think I'm having a flashback. DMSO was sold as a muscle pain releiver maybe 20-30 years ago. Maybe something was added to it? Can't remember how to spell it, but was something like dimethyl sulfoxide. I still remember the resulting garlic taste in my mouth after rubbing it on.


Posted by: fire_bear on Fri, May 16, 03 at 16:15
Been there, done that!
Ethyl alcohol works! No, don't wash your hands with it - drink it and go to bed! All kidding aside, unlike mucous membranes whose nerve endings are at or very near the surface, the tougher and thicker skin of the hands has its nerve endings several layers down. So, if your hands are burning it means the capsaicin has alreay penetrated too deeply to wash it away and your best bet is to suppress the central nervous system and chalk it up to experience - live to play another day, a wiser and more cautious chile-head!

Almost any organic solvent will remove the residual capsaicin from the skin surface and prevent its accidental spread to other, ahem, sensitive areas (especially those belonging to your spouse!), but this will do little for the afflicted area and amounts to closing the barn after the horse is out.


Posted by: Juzen z7 Germany on Sat, May 17, 03 at 6:13
>"DMSO was sold as a muscle pain releiver maybe 20-30 years ago. Maybe something was added to it? Can't remember how to spell it, but was something like dimethyl sulfoxide"
As "plants1010" said: DMSO (dimethyl-sulfoxide formula: (CH3)2=SO) is used as a nontoxic (as far as I know) carrier for analgetics and other therapeutics (or poisons! or carcinogens!) as plants said. Therefore it's carrier-function is used in many salves and cremes, used by athlets "Mobilat" etc.,
but also carries "testosterones" and other (anabolic-) steroids.
Although DMSO itself is harmless, it's carrier-function might be very dangerous!
Cave DMSO, handle with care!!!


Posted by: John__ShowMe__USA 5 on Sat, May 17, 03 at 8:00
Thanks for the info. No steroids for me, thank you. I was on massive doses during treatment of a chronic illness and they literally changed my body & personality with aftereffects lasting a year or more. Even high school athletes use similar crap now.

And I clearly see the danger of misusing DMSO now.


Posted by: allenboatman 9b/10 FL on Sat, May 17, 03 at 23:02
July?!?!?! now there is a thread with some life.

Posted by: Beatrice_z9 z9 FL on Mon, May 19, 03 at 10:45
I have yet to find a pair of gloves that I can use safely when I'm using a sharp knife. What are you using, surgical gloves?

Posted by: Juzen z7 Germany on Mon, May 19, 03 at 11:53
>"I have yet to find a pair of gloves that I can use safely when I'm using a sharp knife. What are you using, surgical gloves?"
There are (silicone based greases, oils or pastes) so called "liquid gloves" at the market (link below), I think in USA too. These are able to protect the skin and are used instead of rubber gloves and easy to handle.

A problem using surgical gloves is, that they are very easy to perforate and a hurted glove is bader than no glove!


Here is a link that might be useful: [Epi-shield liquid gloves]

Posted by: John__ShowMe__USA 5 on Mon, May 19, 03 at 12:48
Juergen writes: >There are (silicone based greases, oils or pastes) so called "liquid gloves" at the market...
I would check at an auto parts store. We used to have barrier creams at GM for the paint dept. Probably manufactured by DuPont or 3M. Came in a tube.

PaulMA sent me a pair of nitrile gloves last year that work the best of any gloves I've ever had. Don't know where he gets them.


Posted by: Robinjaneen Brantford on on Mon, May 19, 03 at 14:25
I burned my hands cleaning up after cutting up japapenos. I tried a lot of things like milk, yogurt, vinegar and I washed my hands really well too. I also tried first aid cream, cortisone cream with no relief. It felt like my hands were being held over an open flame. I didn't read about the bleach until the day after or believe me, I would have tried it! The only relief I got was from keeping my hands in a bowl of ice water. I couldn't believe it really took 8 hours for the pain to go away. I had my hands in ice water for most of that time. I will never do anything with hot peppers again without gloves.

Posted by: Juzen z7 Germany on Mon, May 19, 03 at 14:33
>"I will never do anything with hot peppers again without gloves."
Quot errat demonstrandum.

Posted by: Taba z5b MO on Wed, May 21, 03 at 18:19
I've learned to wear gloves - didn't help last weekend though. I opened a bottle of Habanero Tabasco sauce and somehow managed to fling some directly into my eye! AAAAAaaaaeeeeoooo Excruciating pain and immediate gushing tears and swelling. And I was thinking - well here's my worst nightmare for pepper burn.

Wasn't sure if there was a quick "best fix" for in-the-eyeball so called poison control. They said to hold my eyes (open!) under running lukewarm water for 15-30 minutes, then use moisturing eye drops for a couple of days (not saline drops). If the eyes were still swollen the next day they said to see a doctor to make sure there was no damage. The warm running water helped a lot and my eye was only a bit watery and puffy the next day. It was much better than I thought it would be.

So if you get a big squirt of hab juice in your eye.... well, just hope that you don't!

Entered by Taba

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