If you've ever worked with hot peppers in the kitchen, you've probably realised touching them with your hands leads to all sorts of disastrous things. Here's how to relieve the burning in your skin and eyes.Photo by Marlon Bunday.
If you cut up peppers and chillis with your bare hands, you're likely to get a lot of those oils on your hands which can really burn. What's even worse is that split second moment of stupidity where you rub your eyes, and then they start burning like there's no tomorrow. In these cases, weblog BlogHer recommends using the same thing you'd use to relieve that pain in your mouth: milk.
Using one of our little drinking glasses, I was somehow able to get milk into my eye. (Don't ask me to demonstrate.) I also did a fairly good job of making the milk run all the way down my face and neck, but whatever.
Instant relief. I stood there, blinking milkily in unbelief. Could I really have just gone from that much pain to practically no pain with just a few swishes of milk? Indeed I had.
eHow also says you can use liquid antacid, though the milk is probably closer in reach.
If you feel your hands burning and want to get the pepper oils off before touching your eyes, washing your hands with soap and water won't help. Weblog The Kitchn notes that oil-based products, however, will:
Olive oil! When the pain became unbearable, I rubbed a tablespoon of olive oil all over my hands for about a minute, then washed them with soap and water. The olive oil helped to dissolve the capsaicin in the jalapeno -- which is more soluble in oil than in water -- so it could be rinsed away.
Both are clever ways to solve the pepper-burn problem, but as a pre-emptive strike, we recommend wearing gloves whenever you handle hot peppers. If you do, you'll probably avoid ever having to use the above tricks.