So you did it again. You ignored all the warnings to wear gloves when cutting peppers, and now you have hot pepper hands. You’re not alone. Though I am an advocate for wearing nitrile gloves and eye protection, I often slice jalapenos without gloves when I’m in a hurry. It doesn’t take much spicy pepper juice to get your hands burning from peppers. Regrets. So, this one is for all of us who will never learn to be proactive. But, we can at least learn how to get rid of hot pepper burn on the hands. Use our methods to get some quick relief from hot pepper hands, and to help prevent this in the future. Chili Pepper Hand Burn Watch The Video:

In This Article:

  • Hand Burn Cure (Skin)
  • Eye Burn Cure
  • Other methods

Hands Burning From Jalapenos – Why It Happens

Jalapenos are plenty spicy to notice a burn, either in your mouth or on your skin. If you neglected to wear nitrile gloves (yes, they should be nitrile) while slicing spicy chili peppers, you may end up with severely irritated skin. This burning from jalapeno oils can start hours after you finished cooking! We call this ‘jalapeno hands‘ in the Pepper Geek household, and it happens far too often. It can also affect other areas of the skin, not just the hands. If you get enough capsaicin on your ears, face, eyes, nose, or other sensitive areas, you may feel a spicy burn later on. The reason hot pepper burn happens is due to the chemical compound known as capsaicin. This chemical is found in all spicy peppers, and it is the ingredient responsible for their addictive, fiery flavor. However, its effects can be felt on any tissue, including your skin. When you get a spicy chili burn on your skin, it can last for hours and hours, even days if it is strong enough. This is because the mouth typically flushes itself out with saliva and digestive enzymes. This does not occur on the skin, meaning that you will have to treat a hot pepper burn on the skin differently. 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!!!

Stopping Jalapeno Burn In The Eyes

First off, don’t panic, you’ll be okay! The first thing to know is that spicy peppers won’t blind you. Unless you’ve dumped pure capsaicin in your eyes, the burn will subside. So don’t go putting chemicals in your eyes trying to stop the burn. It won’t help, and you might cause more damage to your eyes than relief! Closeup of eyes burning from chili oil. With the eyes, there is really only one method to help alleviate a jalapeno burn.

Use Milk

Once again, we call on the cow gods to help us. Soak a paper towel in high-fat, ice-cold milk. Squeeze out excess milk, and then lay the cold paper towel over your closed eye. This should provide some quick relief. The paper towel will eventually get warm, and the relief will subside. Repeat the process until you can bear the pain. Tip: Be sure to wash your hands before preparing your milk paper towel. If there is more pepper juice on your hands, you may end up making the eye situation worse.

Give It Time

Unfortunately, the only other cure for a chili burn in your eyes is time. Don’t expect the milk to completely fix the problem. Your eyes will water until the majority of the oil has been expelled.

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. Calvin Thumbnail


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. Help! My chili peppers have burned my tongue! or Help! My chili peppers have burned my skin! How do you stop the chili pepper burn? How to Stop the Chili Pepper Burn As a spicy food lover, it’s bound to happen. You’re chopping jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers for your meal and some of it gets on your skin and starts to burn, or you take a bite of your freshly prepared spicy dish and whoa, the spicy heat is just too much. Honestly, this happens to the best of us. Luckily, there are a few things you can do to alleviate the jalapeno burn or chili pepper burn from your skin and from eating hot peppers. A handful of Cayenne Peppers The best way to avoid chili pepper burns on the skin is to wear gloves when handling them, nitrile gloves in particular. The reason hot peppers can burn your skin is because they contain an oily substance called «capsaicin» that sticks to your skin. Capsaicin is the substance that makes chili peppers «hot» and spicy, so avoiding the oil is the ideal way to go. However, we often forget to wear gloves or just don’t think of it, which can cause burning not only on the hands, but on other sensitive parts of the body that you touch with your hands, particularly your eyes. Below are several ways you can combat the jalapeno heat or other hot pepper heat on your skin, or «hot pepper hands». Some are my own recommendations, but also some ideas are from spicy food readers who have shared their own personal experiences. Be sure to read the comments below to learn other ways people have alleviated the heat for themselves. Mike coring jalapeno peppers Dish Soap and Water — Recommended Dish soaps are meant to help clean oily plates, so they can be effective in washing away the chili oil from your burning skin. If you feel burning on your skin from handling hot peppers, wash them very thoroughly with water and dish soap several times to work the oils off of your skin. Use Milk (or other Dairy) — Recommended Dairy products like milk 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. To use milk to help stop the jalapeno burn, soak your hands in milk in a shallow bowl for several minutes, or until the heat subsides. If needed, wash your hands again thoroughly with dish soap and soak them again in milk. Consider using milk, yogurt, sour cream or crema, or even ice cream to soak the burning skin. Here are some other suggestions from spicy food lovers. 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. Just be careful, as the initial application of rubbing alcohol can cause an initial burning or stinging sensation. 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 to help dissipate the chili pepper burn. 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. Use 1 tablespoon of baking soda or corn starch mixed with 1 tablespoon water to form a paste. Rub this into your skin and scrub to remove the oils causing the hot pepper burn. Time Please note that the chili pepper burning sensation on your skin will dissipate over time, so don’t think it’s going to last forever. For most people it lasts anywhere from a few minutes to a few hours, so give it time. It’s not actual «burning» or damaging, only the sensation of burning, so you don’t need to worry. Hopefully this helps you find some relief with your burning skin. Mike holding a Manzano Pepper in his hand

Stopping Chili Pepper Burning in the Eyes

If you’ve been handling hot peppers and then touched your eyes, they can starts to burn and sting, as your eyes are extremely sensitive. If this happens, the best thing to do is to soak a paper towel in milk, then hold it to your burning eye. The milk contains a chemical called «casein» that counteracts the burning chemical, «capsaicin», which makes hot peppers hot.

Stop the Burn from Eating Hot Peppers

Many of us have experience the burn after taking a bite of something too spicy. Often it’s a bit too much hot sauce or an unexpected bit of heat at a spicy food restaurant, or you’ve simply miscalculated the heat of a pepper from your garden. If you are experiencing mouth burn or tongue burn from eating jalapeno peppers or other hot peppers, here is what to do. Superhot Hot chili peppers on a sheet, ready to roast Eat Dairy Because of the innate hotness of all chili peppers, they can burn not only the inside of your mouth, but your skin as well. If you find that you simply can’t bear the heat after eating a chile pepper, try to consume a dairy product, like milk, yogurt, or ice cream. Dairy products contain a chemical called casein that combats the effects of capsaicin (the chemical that makes peppers hot) by stripping it from its receptor site on the skin. Milk can take some time to quell an intense burn, but it works. You’ll notice an initial dissipation of the heat, but extremely hot peppers and foods can persist, so continue with the milk or dairy. Rinse and then swallow if necessary. Sugar I’ve also tried sugar and that seems to work in a pinch. Sugar can help absorb some of the hot chili oil and can reduce the burn. Time The burning heat from eating spicy foods will eventually dissipate over time, so at least you know it won’t last forever, even though it may feel that way at the moment. I hope this helps. Again, please review the many reader comments below who’ve shared their own experiences and methods for combating burning skin, burning eyes, and burning tongues from eating hot peppers and other spicy foods.

Share Your Experience — Help Others

If you’ve found a solution that worked for you, please share your methods below to help others stop the chili pepper burn. NOTE: This post was updated on 5/17/22 to include new information. It was originally published on 6/20/14. If you’ve ever made the mistake of cutting a pepper bare handed, you know how painful the experience can be. As I stared at my bowl of quickly deteriorating tomatoes, I tried to conjure up a fool-proof way to enjoy them before they went bad. A friend had mentioned the week before that she liked to whip up a quick salsa with old tomatoes, so I figured I’d give it a try. I stuffed my immersion blender chopper with sliced grape tomatoes, onion, garlic, and red chili pepper, and I let it work its magic. Moments later I had a container full of delicious, fresh salsa. I was thrilled. But, a while later, I touched my eyes, and the hot pepper burn began to spread. Of course, I wear contacts too which in itself was a disaster to remove. I’ll spare the details, but it took a full 12 hours before the burning sensation had left my eyes and hands entirely. I’ll never make that mistake again.

Eating healthy should still be delicious.

Sign up for our daily newsletter for more great articles and tasty, healthy recipes. Chili peppers hold a ton of heat, mostly in the seeds and membranes, from the alkaloid oil capsaicin. This oil spreads like wild fire (literally) along whatever it touches, and water won’t help in the slightest. A good rule of thumb is to always wear gloves when cutting a hot pepper, and if you don’t have any on hand you can coat your skin with vegetable oil. If you make the mistake I did, don’t touch anything else on your body and especially don’t try and remove your contacts or go to the bathroom before using these remedies to rid yourself of the oil.


Many of our staff swear by this classic burn-diminishing method of relieving the pepper burn. Pour yourself a glass of milk to blot your eye with or fill a bowl to submerge larger body parts, like your hands. Keep the burning area submerged for as long as you can, or until the sensation subsides. This is the only alternative method to water that we recommend using for your eyes.


You’ll often see spicy dishes at restaurants served with a cool yogurt sauce, like this curried cauliflower salad with yogurt. Yogurt does an excellent job at calming a fiery pepper burn, on your tongue or your skin. Spoon some yogurt into a bowl and submerge your hands into the creamy product. The burning sensation should subside soon, but we recommend keeping your hands submerged for up to an hour.


If you missed the memo to coat your hands with oil before you start cutting, try washing your hands with vegetable oil when you’re done. Hot pepper oil is more soluble in other oils than it is in water, so it should help wash away the spicy stuff residue.

Dish Soap

Though this method didn’t quite do the trick for me, it definitely helped calm the majority of the pain. Dish soap is specially designed to remove oil from dishes, unlike regular hand soup, so scrubbing this on and rinsing under hot water should help remove some remaining oils.

Baking Soda

Almost everyone has baking soda in your kitchen cabinet or fridge. Mix up a solution of baking soda and water and submerge your hands into the paste. Once the paste has dried, wash it off along with the hot pepper sting. Repeat as needed until the burning completely subsides.

Stainless Steel

An old wives’ tale says that if your rub your hands on stainless steel it will remove the scent of stinky foods like onion and garlic. In the same way, stainless steel should have the ability to remove painful pepper oil as well. Try rubbing your hands on a block of stainless steel to help remove the oils, then wash your hands with dish soap when you’re done.


There’s more use for that leftover bottle of vodka in the cabinet than just this pasta with vodka cream sauce. Pour 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.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *