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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.