I never where gloves in the kitchen when I am making hot sauce. Not wearing gloves while making hot sauce is a very dumb thing to do. However, I seldomly use anything hotter than a jalapeno or serrano as these two peppers are my favorites. Shame on me for not wearing gloves because even peppers as mild as these always seem to irritate my skin.
What should I do if hot sauce is burning my skin?
Baking soda paste and corn starch can alleviate areas of the skin that are burning from hot sauce by absorbing the capsaicin oils in hot peppers. Also, washing the area with COLD WATER and an oil dissolving dish soap like Dawn can break up the capsaicin oils from the hot peppers quicker than a bar soap.
When the word “burn” is associated with hot sauce it is not referring to the burn from a flame or fire and there isn’t any permanent damage. The oils in the capsaicin only stimulate the nerve cells in your hands creating that “burning” sensation. It eventually goes away.
According the newscientist.com our hands and fingertips are one of the most sensitive areas of our bodies. Therefore, we will feel the burn from hot sauce in an increased manner more than other parts of the body and obviously because this is the main point of contact with the hot pepper.
I have worked with my hand a lot in and out of the kitchen and I just don’t like wearing gloves. I like the sense of touch with whatever I am working with. I worked as a painter for years and used many different chemicals without wearing gloves. Some chemicals irritated my hands, and some did not. I was really surprised at how irritating the burn of a jalapeno and serrano pepper were on my skin.
Here is my experiment
*Please do not try this at home
After I sliced open the serrano, I remove the seeds by just scraping through the peers with my fingers. What ends up happening is the residue gets under my nails. This is always difficult to remove completely. I then rubbed the inside of the pepper all over the back of my hand. Don’t do this!
I tested each of these methods on purpose to see which one worked the best for me, but I am not putting hot sauce in my eye to test any theories to relieve that burn. However, I did wash my face once with my hands after I had cut up some jalapenos and thought I had thoroughly removed any of the residue. Duh! Peanut butter is great at relieving the burn from your mouth so I was curious if it would work on the skin as well as some other methods.
19 Methods to relieve hot sauce burn on the hands (in no particular order)
1. Rubbing alcohol and then dish soap
I dabbed a cotton ball with rubbing alcohol and rubbed the back of my hand where the burn was. I then washed my hands with hot soap and water. The burn seams to be agitated every time I run hot water over my hands. Cold water was much better.
2. High proof alcohol
I tried the same concept with 80 proof alcohol as I did with the rubbing alcohol and did feel a slight relief. I did not want to continue doing it for several times as that’s just a waste of good whiskey. It works best if you drink it.
3. Aloe Vera Gel
Aloe Vera Gel works great on your hands for a variety of burns, cuts or other similar abnormalities you may have to your hands. When applied to the hands after a jalapeno or serrano burn it does provide instant relief and a cooling sensation but only temporarily or until it dries up. Applied with a heavy layer it was able to offer significant relief for a few hours until the burn eventually wore off.
4. Weak bleach 5 parts water I part bleach
Not great but worked OK. I hate the smell of bleach. It did provide some relief, but I did not want to apply it again to see if it would get better. I would not recommend this method to be your first option. Bleach can also irritate your skin if it is not diluted in water properly.
5. Corn starch
Corn starch works similarly to the baking soda by drawing out the capsaicin oils from the skin. I only mixed a paste and poured it over my hands the same way I applied the baking soda. Soaking your entire hand or affected area will produce better results.
6. Neutrogena Deep Clean Cleanser facial soap
This is one of the better remedies for hot pepper burn on the hands or skin. I have only tried the brand listed above and it took three times, but it did last the longest. Also, it smells way better than bleach or vinegar and feels natural on my hands. It did not relieve the burn completely but offer significant relief.
7. Citric Juice Lime juice or lemon juice
Yup. Worked like the others. Provided temporary relief until I was able to deal with it. My hands have a strong tolerance to chemicals and a burn from hot peppers but a good way to determine how much residue is left on your hands is by licking your fingers. I still felt the heat and was not afraid of this test like I would after using bleach. In addition to removing the burning sensation I wanted to make sure that I was not transferring some of the residue on to other surfaces.
Worked like the lime juice. Provided instant comfort on the back of my hand but it did not relieve it permanently. I used it several times and the burning sensation felt slightly better each time. You will get better results soaking your hand in it. Especially if you have hot peppers or sauce under your finger nails.
I have only tried vegetable oil with this experiment, but it did not provide the immediate relief and cooling effect that some of the others did. I tried it three time and washed with cold water a dish soap each time as well. The go away, however slightly, with each application.
The mustard provided only mild relief, but I only used it once and for a short while. I did not have a lot in the refrigerator to continue the experiment, but it is the vinegar content in the mustard that breaks down the capsaicin oils.
11. Milk or dairy Cottage cheese or yogurt
Milk worked ok to relieve the burn from hot sauce, but you will need to soak your entire hand or areas that is affected into the milk or dairy product. Simply pouring theses items over your hands does not work as well.
According to poison.org the National Capital Poison Center states that Maalox antacid will be helpful in relieving the affected areas of the skin. Also, mdedge.com states similar results can occur within 30 minutes and other similar antacids work the same.
13. Hand grease cleaner
This can be as effective as the degreasing dish detergent and can usually be removed with paper towels. Try to stay away from water as much as you can. These hand cleaners are usually thick and have a consistency between hand soap and lotion.
14. Peanut butter
I basically washed my hands in peanut butter. It tasted great with a little zip of serrano pepper to it. I may have to make a recipe combining the two. It did provide some relief, but I only used a small amount on the back of my hands, but it works great on the tongue.
15. Nail polish remover
It’s the acetone in the nail polish remover that will break up the capsaicin oils. This has to be done several times with large quantities of remover. This was not my most favorite but worked OK and I did also wash my hands as well.
Rub your hands with mud because everyone has mud laying around their kitchen. I have not found anything with any significance stating that this is an effective way to relieve your hands from hot sauce burn or any burn. I have a reduction in the amount of burn but I am sure this process depends on the PH level of the soil used in making the mud.
Many of these items worked to cool the burning sensation from my hands but the burn would come back, some quicker than others. What works the best is washing your hands with hot water and an oil dispersing dish detergent like dawn and then rubbing your hands with olive oil or vegetable oil.
17. Baking soda paste
This works great. Almost every kitchen has a box of baking soda. I mixed in just enough water to make a thick paste and dumped it on the back of my hands. I gave it about 1 minute and washed if off with cold water. The burn did not come back in the areas where it was applied.
18. Baking soda and sour cream
Baking soda and sour cream works in a similar manner to straight baking soda. I read about this method somewhere, but I don’t think the sour cream is a necessary step. Everyone is affected differently by a hot pepper burn to their hands.
This is by far the best remedy for a lot of things, especially hot sauce burns to the skin. It obviously is not providing instant relief but the burning sensation from hot peppers does not cause permanent damage to your hands or other parts of your body and will go away.
What did not work
Starchy foods – bread & uncooked rice
Again, I must have read this somewhere and half expected it to work as it has it removing water from a cell phone. I don’t think I was patient enough to test this experiment, but it certainly did not provide any instant relief.
Don’t be a pussy
C’mon. You must have certainly made hot sauce before and expected this. Almost every recipe I have come across has wearing gloves listed somewhere in the steps. You can try several of these methods, most work, or you can just tolerate it for a couple days.
Don’t rub hot peppers on your hands for the purpose of a blog post. This experiment went on for days and gave an uncomfortable sensation to my hands. I know I can tolerate it but at times I just shook my head trying to understand what I was doing.
JUST WEAR GLOVES!
Latex gloves, rubber gloves, plastic gloves, winter gloves, baseball mitt etc… get em here!
All this could have easily been avoided if I had just worn gloves. I am becoming more and more accustomed to them and have started wearing them working with hotter peppers like habanero and ghost.
Note that the water used to wash your hands will irritate the burn further, but it is the soap that is breaking up the capsaicin oils that are saturated in your hands. Don’t worry we are not going to discuss the burn that can happen the next morning on the toilet and I ain’t stickin no peanut butter up my butt. The results could vary depending on the brand of products used, the type of hot pepper and someone’s individual tolerance to hot pepper burn.