Jalapenos are one type of chile pepper that is very hot. Jalapenos as well as other types of chile peppers get their heat from chile oil known as capsaicin. This oil is located in the pepper’s inner central membrane. Whether you are working with or eating jalapenos, it is possible to experience a burning sensation that is severe on your skin. You can do your best to prevent this burning sensation but you can also relieve it if it occurs.
Home Remedies for Jalapeno Skin Burn
The first thing to do is to try to prevent getting a skin burn when working with jalapenos. The best method is to wear gloves if you are handling them or coat your hands with cooking oil. You should also be very careful not to allow the pepper (or your hands) to come in contact with the rest of your skin. If you already have a jalapeno skin burn, here are some things you can try that can help reduce the pain.
1. Dish Soap
The first thing to do after getting a jalapeno skin burn is wash your hands with very hot water and a dish soap that is grease-cutting. Be sure to also use a nail brush to clean the oil out from underneath your fingernails as well. It is ideal to use dish soaps instead of hand soaps because they cut the grease better. Be sure to rinse well after using the soap and clean your nail brush using the dish washer. Because capsicum is a type of oil the detergent will remove the majority of it.
Another simple method is to have a drink of milk for burns on your mouth and rub some milk on jalapeno skin burns. That is because milk contains casein which is a phosphoprotein which is able to take capsaicin off of the mouth’s nerve receptor binding sites. This remedy works on the skin because casein can also act as a detergent for the capsaicin molecules.
Capsaicin, the cause of the spiciness in jalapenos, is soluble with alcohol. Therefore you can try using rubbing alcohol or a liquor that is high proof (such as vodka) to eliminate the oil causing the burn. You can pour it over your hands and get good results. Another option is spiritus which is a cleaning product found in many households that is 85% alcohol, making it just as effective in eliminating capsicum oil.
4. Vegetable Oils
In addition to being soluble in alcohol, capsaicin is soluble with vegetable oils. Because of this you can try to dilute it by rubbing a bit of olive oil or vegetable oil on your hands (or the part of the body that was affected). However, this should be one of your last options as this is only a bit more effective than using water to relieve the pain of jalapeno burns.
5. Lemon or Lime
Another option to help relieve the burn is using lime or lemon juice and this works for both burns on the skin and mouth. This remedy works because the juices contain citric acid which neutralizes capsaicin which is alkaline. You can use lemon or lime juice like a mouthwash or apply it directly to the affected skin.
6. Aloe Vera
Aloe vera is commonly used to treat light skin burns such as sunburn but some people find that it also helps with a jalapeno skin burn. To use this remedy, take a leaf from an aloe vera plant and break it with your hands. This will let the sap out so it flows into your hands. You can then gently rub it on the affected skin to feel relief.
7. Cold Compress
Capsaicin is not soluble in water but applying a cold compress can numb the area, bringing some relief. Remember that anytime the eye is burnt (whether the juice got directly in it or you touched it using burnt hands), you should flush it immediately using water.
8. Less Popular Remedies
- Rub a bit of honey on your burnt skin. You should do this every three hours or more frequently if necessary.
- If you need short term but immediate relief, try rubbing a soft corn tortilla or a bit of flour on your burn.
- You can also try coating your hands using salt. After that, rinse the salt off your hands and follow it up by using a hand cleaner that does not use water. Then rinse your hands one more time.
- If you need short term relief, you can take at least a tablespoon and mix it into a cup of water. Then use this to soak the burnt skin. The thing to keep in mind is that you will only feel relief while the skin is soaking in the mixture.
- You can also soak your hands in a can of tomato sauce for around 15 minutes.
- You should always remove all of the chile oils even if you do not feel a burning sensation on your hands. This will help prevent getting residue on your face or in your eyes.
- Always wait until your hands are completely clean before going to the bathroom, rubbing your eyes or taking out (or putting in) contact lenses.
- While the home remedies mentioned above work for skin contact (and some for mouth burns), you should only use a saline solution or water to flush out your eyes if they come in contact with the chile oil.
- If you are exposed to chiles and have problems breathing you should immediately contact 911. You can also talk to your poison control center.