The Baking Soda Hack For Ridding Yourself Of Hot Pepper Hands

person cutting jalapeno peppers
person cutting jalapeno peppers - Aegeanblue/Getty Images

Dealing with hot pepper hands can be a painful and uncomfortable experience, especially if you accidentally touch a sensitive area like your face or your eyes. Fortunately, there's a simple hack involving baking soda that can provide relief from the burning sensation.

It's as easy as mixing a small amount of baking soda (cornstarch works, too!) with water to create a thick paste. Apply the paste generously to the affected area, ensuring it covers all the parts where the hot pepper oils have come into contact with your skin. Allow it to dry completely, which usually takes a few minutes. As it dries, the baking soda will help absorb the oils from the peppers, providing relief from the burning sensation.

Once the paste is dry, you can wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water to remove any remaining traces of pepper. Don't forget to scrub under your nails, an area that can sometimes harbor hidden residue. This simple yet effective hack will have you back to normal again in no time without any lingering discomfort.

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What Causes The Burn Anyway?

red chili pepper sliced and ground on a black surface
red chili pepper sliced and ground on a black surface - AtlasStudio/Shutterstock

When you handle hot peppers, the burning sensation you experience is due to a compound called capsaicin. Capsaicin is found in the membranes and seeds of peppers, and it's what gives them their spicy heat. In essence, capsaicin tricks the body by activating pain receptors and triggering pain signals, even though no physical harm is occurring. This is why consuming foods containing capsaicin can lead to sensations of heat and discomfort despite the absence of any real heat or damage to the tissues. These sensations can range from mild to intense, depending on the concentration of capsaicin and the length of exposure.

If you have sensitive skin or are prone to allergies, it's probably a good idea to wear gloves while handling hot peppers. That way, your skin won't come into direct contact with capsaicin, and the risk of irritation is reduced. You also always want to be mindful about touching your face or eyes after handling hot peppers.

Other Ways To Neutralize Hot Pepper Hands

yogurt in a glass bowl on a wooden board on a light gray surface
yogurt in a glass bowl on a wooden board on a light gray surface - olepeshkina/Shutterstock

Besides baking soda, there are a few other secret antidotes to neutralize the foe that is hot pepper hands. For starters, rubbing some olive oil on the hand that is handling the pepper essentially serves as a barrier and simultaneously breaks down the capsaicin, which is fat-soluble. If you don't have any olive oil handy, dish soap works similarly to help dissolve the capsaicin oil.

Dairy products can also assist here thanks to the casein in cow's milk. In the same way you're often told to drink milk to neutralize the spicy kick in your mouth after eating too many hot wings, rubbing milk, yogurt, or sour cream on the affected area can help alleviate the burn.

Alcohol, like rubbing alcohol or vodka, can dissolve capsaicin, providing relief from hot pepper hands. Simply dabbing the affected area with alcohol can help neutralize the burning sensation. Always test a small area first to ensure you have no adverse reactions before applying alcohol more extensively.

Read the original article on Daily Meal.