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How to Treat a Pepper Burn

 

Here’s the thing about me.  I injure myself at least 3 times a week.  I cut myself, burn myself and just generally maim myself.  I have bruises and no idea where they came from, scratches that seem to appear out of nowhere and this week for instance, my left butt cheek was so sore I could barely even sit down.  Just the left cheek.  And I have no idea why.  I was doing something, that’s for sure.  I could have been hopping on one foot for an extended period of time (which is totally possible).

Regardless, I injure myself.  A lot.  It’s not because I’m particularly clumsy or careless … I just do a lot.  Most of the time I just ignore these injuries and know they’ll go away in a few days.

But last week was different.

I had a self induced injury that I couldn’t ignore.  Nor could anyone who looked at me.

 

eye patch

 

It all began with a pot of chili.  I was home alone, making one of the last pots of chili for the season (I have a “no chilly, no chili rule).  It just seems weird to eat chili while looking at someone with tan lines and mosquito bites.

It was all done and simmering on the stove when I got an itchy eye.  That happens, you know.  People *do* get itchy eyes.  Now, I didn’t scratch my eye out due to itchiness … in fact I barely even touched my eye.  But as it turns out, when you have a finger full of hot pepper juice, that’s all it takes.

I scratched at my eye with a finger that had pepper oil on it.  I *had* washed my hands after cutting my peppers, and I was pretty careful while cutting the peppers too.  I didn’t wear rubber gloves or anything, ’cause …. well, who *really* does that?  Especially when cutting a pepper as innocuous as a California Chile pepper?  They’re normally pretty mild.   “Normally” being the operative word.

So I scratched at my eye and about 2 seconds later underneath my eye started to burn.  BURN.  I left it.  I figured it’d go away.  Because I wanted it to.  Funny, that technique never works with headaches or annoying visitors either.

This by the way, is the offending pot of chili and angry little pepper.

Chili

 

So I turned to a pretty reliable technique for getting rid of pepper oil burns.

Milk.

 

Milk 2

 

To effectively get rid of a pepper oil burn you have to know a little bit about why it burns so much and why water will NOT get rid of it.

Hot peppers contain Capsaicin, a natural oil.  If you get it on your skin it burns.  A lot.  Just ask the makers of pepper spray.  You cannot wash the oil off.  So in order to get rid of the pain, you have the neutralize the alkaline oil.  And the best way to do that is with something acidic.  And believe it or not … milk is incredibly acidic.

So if you get a pepper burn anywhere on your body, including your eyes, your fingers, your mouth, your … um … private parts … the very best thing you can do is soak it in milk.

The tissue underneath my eye was burning as well as my actual eyeball and the corner of my eye.  So I felt my way around the kitchen to the fridge, poured some milk into a bowl, and then poured milk into my eye like you would with an eye cup, circa 1800.  I then soaked a makeup remover pad in the cold milk and pressed it on my eye.  I wanted to continue on with my day because burned eyeball or not, I had shit to do.

So I fashioned a little eyeball protector sling out of some gauze I found.  Then I fastened it to my head with one of those small butterfly clips that keep the orchid stem attached to a stick.  ‘Cause even if you’re injured, there’s no reason to lose all fashion sense.  I think my picture is proof that being in the centre of a medical emergency doesn’t mean you can’t look your best.

I left my eye sling on for 20 minutes total and I replaced the cotton pad with a freshly soaked pad every 5 minutes or so.  You should feel instant relief from the milk, but as the burn starts to come back, replace with new, cold milk.

When the burn seemed to stop burning, I removed everything and let the cats lick at my face.  No sense wasting good, dried up, crusty eye milk.

To reiterate …

list to do

 

Now if you’ll excuse me I have a  mystery scab that needs to be tended to.

 


 

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100 Comments | Filed Under: Everything Else, Kitchen |

100 Responses to How to Treat a Pepper Burn

  1. Alix Bouchard says:

    My ex boyfriend did that…. The private parts situation.. hah

  2. Rebecca says:

    If you’d only been wearing your onion chopping goggles, this never would have happened. You should probably just wear them any time while cooking, just for safety’s sake.

  3. robin says:

    Another trick… Use vegetable oil as a ‘wash’ for the area. It dilutes the capsacian oil.

  4. Teresa says:

    This is one of the many reasons I love reading your blog, truthful and real to the point of pain. As usual, thanks for the laugh, as well as the knowledge that I am not the only one who “knows better” but does it anyway, and who is too hard headed to let anything stop me from the shit I gotta do!

  5. Jamie says:

    Great tip! I have a tendency to hurt myself a lot too…I have a 6 inch scar now from tripping over a very large chunk of air. Yup air. And whats really really sad about that, it wasn’t the first time the pesky chunks had tripped me up.

  6. Brenda j says:

    A friend ended-up hospitalized due to this stuff on her hands…2nd degree. FOR THE LOVE!!!
    Please be careful Karen; if you have to start typing in braille..I wont be able to read your blogs. (that probably sounds nasty)Its all about me.

  7. Spokangela says:

    Well, now you know two people who’ve endured the private parts burned with pepper “situation”. Sure wish I’d have known about the milk thing then…
    I was making Thai… for the new boyfriend, took a shower, decided to “clean up the nether regions” and WHOA!!!! Well, needless to say he go NO ACTION that night.

    I love that you said you had “shit to do” I swear you are one of our long lost sisters :) There’s four of us and we love dink jokes, doin’ “shit” ourselves and gnarly dogs from Ikea. And, we don’t have a Karen… It’s plausible!

  8. Vivienne Grainger says:

    Karen, you crack me up. Not for the situations you get yourself into (because I’ve done the same thing) but your reactions to them. You go, girl.

    As for dipping one’s private parts into milk, I’ve always wondered how guys reloaded that thing …

  9. Yikes! I was so wrapped up in your story I burned my breakfast. Sounds very painful. Hope you are ok now.

  10. Diana says:

    Poor Karen!

    I hope, you are fine again…

    And -ähhhm- I am the one who wears rubber gloves:o)
    I hate cutting cold and bloody meat.(Eating- yeah! feeling-no!)
    Or the smell of garlic on my fingers two days after cutting it.

    All the best for you
    Diana

    • Brenda j says:

      To remove smells like fish and garlic etc., from your skin… and skunk from your dog…use toothpaste! Cheap and easy.

      • Diana says:

        Thanks Brenda j:o)

        sounds good! I will try it.
        someone gave me the advice, to use coffee grounds.
        The only success I had where brown fingers smelling like a coffeebar!

    • White says:

      For garlic (at least), “wash/rub” with clean stainless steel (although they sell s.s. bars for the purpose, any s.s will do, e.g.: sink, utensils, etc.). Effect is immediate.

  11. Ginny says:

    I haven’t done that yet. Yet being the key word. But I always seem to end up with a bruise and/or scratch that I have no idea when or where it happened. I usually blame the cats for the scratches whether or not it looks like a cat scratch. I mean they get blamed for any of the strange noises that happen in the middles of the night. They don’t seem to mind. Hope your eye feels better!

  12. Arlene says:

    I had an eyeball burn from a mystery plant last week too…was leaving the house to run back to work _ looked out at my poor little chickens longing for something green from the yard to eat.. So I decided to grab whatever large and leafy plant I could – which included the identifiable dandelion and another larger and yummier looking plant that left an orange stain on my fingers when I picked it. I had second thoughts as I stuffed this mystery plant through the chicken wire ~ but it clearly did not stop me from just crossing my fingers and hoping I didn’t just kill them. Later in the afternoon I too had an itchy eyeball— and used the offending stained finger to scratch my eyeball. Needless to say it Burned Like Hell. Without my newly instilled knowledge (thanks for that) I suffered in vain. Birds are still alive — now just get this crazy burning sensation in my throat when ever I eat an egg :)

  13. Deborah says:

    OUCH! Love the new fashion trend you started, watch out Stella McCartney! LOL! And for the record, I don’t wear rubber gloves when dealing with peppers either…rubber gloves are for wussies. :P

  14. cred says:

    I have burned my eyes with residual chili oil on my hands but clearly to a lesser degree than yours since it usually subsides rather quickly without milk. Needless to say, relief to be had sooner is welcome- so thank you for the milk remedy.

    btw- the chili looks delicious. My mom always says that her meals taste better when she’s burned or cut herself while preparing it- although, then she enjoys it less. The sacrifices women make!

  15. Kristin says:

    OMG!!! I hope you’re doing better today. Thanks for the great advice and the “oh so lovely” visual
    :o)

  16. Mary Kay says:

    I did that once – canning hot peppers and rubbed my eye – man 15 mins later I thought it was going to burn right out of my head. I read somewhere about using milk and grabbed the gallon jug and starting washing out my eye – worked BRILLIANTLY!!

  17. Magpiebird says:

    This morning I gave myself a twine burn on the eye! (lid/corner area.) And thought about googling how to treat a twine burn to the eye, but figured even the internet wouldn’t know that one. And here you are with pepper burns to the eye advice. So weird.

    • Magpiebird says:

      Also weird that a “You might also like” article on your site is treating a mild burn with the bleach method. O.o

      • Karen says:

        Hah! That works too. Nobody believes me, and everyone is scared of it, but it’s a fantastic cure for a mild burn. Apparently I burn myself a lot. ~ karen!

  18. Mary Werner says:

    Great way to start my day – with a laugh from you. I got lost in past posts and am now ordering the hand pepper grinder which is just too much fun for the kitchen. May be a better bedroom device as a signal to spouse for what lays (no pun intended) in store for the evening. Or take with me in the car to provide appropriate driving scores to those around me! Wish they made a 3 foot one for when my mother-in-law comes over.

  19. marilyn says:

    charming look karen..lol but at least it worked.

  20. Barbie says:

    So sorry about your eye! However now I know how to cure a pepper burn should I get one someday. We have dried chili peppers out in the warehouse that we use in production of herb “wreaths” and my toddler (yrs ago) got into them and then rubbed his eyes ….we just had to wait it out….wish I had known then about the milk….however….he is allergic to milk so that wouldn’t have worked either I guess….hmmmmm

  21. Codi says:

    I love you (not in a stalker way), and I love your blog (in a stalker way), but this is the first time I’ve seen your facts be a little off. Milk? Only slightly acidic. It’s the FAT in milk that helps. I’d assume whole milk would work better than skim for your eye injury, or even better heavy cream – plus I think you’d get a better crust for the cats that way ;-)

  22. Karena says:

    Karen you are too much! I hear Wendy’s has good Chili!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena
    The 2012 Artist Series

  23. Sara says:

    LOVE your site! found it during the homies 2012. a-mazingness! wish i knew about the above pepper burn remedy two weeks ago when i diced chillies, for the first time ever, and without gloves! my fingers were slightly cracked and the chillies seeped into those cracks… my poor fingertips burned for a LONG time! never doing that again!

  24. Melissa says:

    One word: goggles. Get yourself a pair of goggles – not only because they’re essential to swimming laps, but because they can do dual purpose for rinsing eyes. Or install one those eye washing sinks you find in chemistry labs.

    • Karen says:

      Melissa – I actually own a few pair of onion goggles. I’m going to be honest with you. If my eye itched, I’d just pull up the goggle and itch it. I know I would. ~ karen

  25. Lisa says:

    eye drops, like visine, are also mildly acidic. You can also use a diluted vinegar solution to wash your hands. Pour 50/50 vinegar and water into a bowl and soak your hands for a minute.

    I grow jalapenos and cayenne peppers, and when I freeze/can them in the fall, I DO wear the hospital-style non-latex gloves that you can buy at the drugstore!

  26. Sarah A. says:

    Hope you are feeling better, Karen!

    It makes me feel better to hear that you also get hurt but don’t let that stop you from getting stuff done. I also often am working around the house covered in a strange arrangement of gauze!

  27. Lucy says:

    NOW you tell me. A couple of decades ago I had the worst night of my life after making salsa with HOT New Mexico Green Chiles with my bare hands. Was up all night with both hands soaking in ice water, which only helped til I either took them out or the water cooled. Also tried baking soda to no avail – thinking that would help. I remember watching Mongolian Throat singing on some cable channel at 4 AM…at least I was on vacation but it was NO FUN.

  28. Shirley says:

    That tiny milk “tear” on your cheek was the piece de resistance of your sad picture. Now I’m not calling you a clown, but is that Pagliacci I hear playing in the background?

  29. Tracie says:

    Too funny! I wonder if your recipe for chili is around anywhere….I make a pretty good chili most of the time, but I always rely on the packaged chili-o spice. I doubt you do that, but then again, you do buy the seasoned nuts…..:)

    • Karen says:

      Tracie – No, my chili recipe isn’t up on the site yet. One day. I didn’t even know they sold chili-o spice! U use oregano, pepper, salt, cumin, chili powder (only the dark kind … hard to find), a hot pepper (clearly) and a few other things. Tobasco, red pepper flakes …. bay leaf. A bunch of junk goes in it. ~ karen

  30. Tracie says:

    Thanks Karen, I am really looking forward to your recipe. Mine isn’t bad but ends up with that kind of pre-packaged taste. It does sound like a lot of stuff goes in, but I am more than willing to take the plunge! Love chili! I have even been known to make a pot or two in the heat of summer….yum!

  31. Abbey T says:

    There are also enzymes found in milk that bind especially to capsaicin when not much else does, and it sweeps the capsaicin molecules away with the milk. =)

    At least… that’s what I learned from Food Detectives!

  32. Gayla T says:

    Karen, Karen, Karen! You may as well just pack it in now cause I can tell you that the rest of your life is going to be more of the same since you are in that same groove I’ve been in all these years. It’s that creative gene and it gets us every time. Oh, and please don’t encourage Mary with the grinder. One step up they call it a wood chipper and she could run her mother-in-law through that. As a MIL myself, although an much adored one, I have step in here in behalf of all MILs in the world. Now, as a mother, I have to say, “You better stop that before your face freezes and you look like that forever. Now, you can see how much good I do in the world and why my DILs love me so much. Love Cindy

  33. Kim says:

    I’m with you on the “no chilly, no chili” rule. Although if we get a freak, below 50 night in the Illinois late summer, I do find myself wanting to make it.

  34. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    Wow..don’t know if I can sleep tonight after seeing that picture..lol..Hope your burn is all gone girl..

  35. Pixieskulls says:

    My mom always said that if you get chili in your eye you should eat a 1/2 teaspoon of salt. We’re hispanic, do I’m sure that we’ve had this remedy handed down generation to generation.

  36. Kate S. says:

    I’m really curious as to whether your fella saw this fashion statement? If this had happened to me, I would have rigged up a similarly ridiculous makeshift bandage and about the time I had it looking particularly rakish, my husband would suddenly appear. My life is a litany of my husband’s befuddled facial expressions . . . more’s the pity.

    • Karen says:

      Kate S. – No, he wasn’t home at the time, so I took a quick iPhone picture and sent it to him with the caption “More on this and other top stories, later … “

  37. Pat says:

    Cut up hot peppers in the a.m. to start a dish I was making. Took out contact lenses in evening. That stuff was still on my fingers and I probably washed my hands numerous times through the course of the day. I know your pain ….

  38. inki says:

    Dear Karen I do love your stories….

    I remember not washing my hands after a chilly cookout and later going to the bathroom to use a tampon!!!!!!!

    Wont forget that night. But I sure get a laugh out of folks when I tell that story ;-)

    Love from Faraway….

  39. Patty says:

    Funny (?) you posted this as I just splashed a drop (I think) of gasoline in my eye when I was filling my lawn mower yesterday. I thought oh,crap, I don’t have time for this, but went inside and held a cup of water against my open eye. It felt like just 1 drop had gotten in and I don’t know how it got around my glasses, but it never burned, I lost interest in spending any more time in my medical care and I can still see today. I hope you are doing fine also and that your chili was delish!

  40. Tricia Rose says:

    Suddenly restaurant eating makes SO much sense…

    Did you do something nice for yourself after that Karen, just some little treat to kiss it better? Brandy maybe?

    • Karen says:

      Tricia – Meh. I just soldiered on with my day. I injure myself so often, if I treated myself with a brandy every time I’d be in Betty Ford. ~ karen

  41. Diane says:

    Ha! I did this last year with jalapenos. I washed my hands about a katrillion times, give or take a few. It’s insane how that shit stays in your skin (and your eye) so long! Wish I had the sense to know this information back then, instead I suffered it out like the trooper I am.

    Great read…and laugh! Thanks!

  42. Pate says:

    I’m so sorry that I have not used chilies so I’d have a burning eyeball story to share. But wait….. I do have a finger and food story …… ever cut and trim fresh artichokes? Prep about six and for some reason stick your finger in your mouth?
    OMG! What IS that awful taste? So gross!

    xxxxx
    Pate

  43. kelliblue says:

    You poor kid ~ ouchie. That’s quite the getup too…hm, you sure you’re not a robot like the one in Alien? He ‘bled milk’ too. :-\

    My first year in TX, I pulled a ‘Lucy’ as she noted above. I volunteered to make pico de gallo; and of course throughout the day, I too, had an itch here…there…everywhere. My face. Around my eyes. Under my nose. My armpits. Other places.

    My hands started burning. Rinse. Continue chopping. The heat grows more painful. Rinse, repeat, thinking it’ll go away. But my palms, while looking absolutely normal, are now burning with an invisible fire so intense, I can’t even think straight. Then my face starts burning: my upper lip, around my eyes, my pits…those other places. I was in agony. I also tried soaking my hands in ice water, but like Lucy, as soon as I pulled them out of the water…ouch.

    Of course I had absolutely NO fun at the party. Then I had to figure out how to get my contacts out of my eyes without my burning fingers burning my eyes too (get really close to a mirror and literally flip them out of your eye with a fingernail so they stick to the mirror). Needless to say, I burned (but not in a good way) for a solid 48 hours, finally subsiding on Monday, just in time for work, yay. Yup, I had NOT worn gloves, a painful lesson to learn. Haven’t touched pico since. :(

  44. Jacqueline says:

    I saw the photo of you and thought “The things Karen does to herself, just to teach us all something usefull…”

    • Karen says:

      Jacqueline – Once when I was being interviewed about my job as a television host the reporter asked if I minded basically making a fool of myself on television all the time. (I did the same sort of thing on television as I do on my blog). I said no. Not at all. I don’t do anything more ridiculous or embarrassing than anyone else, I just do it in public. And get paid for it. ;) ~ karen

  45. Marti says:

    Geez, what if God froze you when you made that face? Think about it… you’d be stuck wearing your “fashionista eye mask” for the rest of your natural life!

    DON’T MAKE THAT FACE EVER AGAIN!

    • Karen says:

      You’d be amazed at the involuntary things a face will do when clotted with pepper burns and crusty milk. ~ karen

  46. Rhonda "SmartyPants" says:

    Great save, Karen. You should turn it in to the folks that do the “Got milk?” ad campaign, but only if they let you in on the upswing in profits it would be sure to cause.

    I really feel sorry for your accident, but the milky white tear got me to thinking about the milky white mustaches that are so phony looking and your tear/drop was real. At least I think it was.

    Please, tell me it was real. I need to believe in something.

  47. Mmmm, crusty eye milk. I knew I should have eaten breakfast. Sorry about your eye. When we’re at the beach, after a day of swimming in the community pool full of chlorine and who knows what else, when everyone’s eyes are red, blurry and painful, nothing feels better than a few drops of milk. I take an eye dropper and keep it full of milk in the fridge. I always thought it coated the eye. Little did I know, until today that is, that it actually changed the ph.
    Thanks, I can officially say I learned something new today!
    Caroline

  48. Kendra says:

    Stainless steel is also pretty good at removing oil from your skin. I don’t know why, but if you just rub your fingers on a stainless steel surface (like the kitchen sink), it will rid them of all that pesky pepper, or garlic, or fish oil (and the smell along with it). Now I think the trick is just to get it off your hands before it gets to your eyes… I’ve never had to try rubbing my eyeball on the kitchen sink before!

  49. Caitlin says:

    Glad it worked :)

    Milk is only slightly more acidic than neutral, but the reason it works the best is because it contains casein and fats, which dissolve and break up the oils. Which is why they serve sour cream with Mexican foods and yogurt raita with curry :)

    C

  50. Hannah says:

    Oh, goodness, that really sucks. I made curry last week and the same thing happened to me.

    I just wanted you to know, milk is actually fairly neutral, with a PH of 6.5-6.7. Water is 7.0, so while it is slightly acidic, that factor really has nothing to do with why milk or oil are able to neutralize Capsaicin. You see, capsaicin is a fat soluble molecule, meaning it will only dissolve in a liquid containing some fats. This is why water will not work. Capsaicin also bonds with the receptor cells in your mouth longer than the molecules that convey sweet, bitter, salty, sour, or umami. This means that you will continue to taste the hot/spicy food, until a fat molecule bonds with it and is able to break it away from the receptor on your tongue.
    In a study at the School of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, researchers discovered that humans seek spicy foods that activate pain pathways because the brain will release an endogenous opioid, the body’s answer to morphine, which we humans like. They also discovered that capsaicin opens the calcium ion receptors in cells, this emits a nerve impulse when the intracellular electrical potential reaches a certain threshold.
    People become desensitized to spicy foods (and the reason capsaicin is used to relieve pain) is because capsaicin can bond with these calcium ion receptors and leave them permanently open. The cell receives too many calcium ions and the sensory fibers will die.

    You should check out Molecular Gastronom: Exploring the Science of Flavor by Herve This. Translated by M.B. DeBevoise. It explains this a lot better than I can, and many other interesting things too. Some knowledge of biology and chemistry is helpful, but not necessary. If you’re a giant nerd like me, you’ll get into it either way. What Einstein Told His Cook by Robert L. Wolke is another good reference.

    TL:DR Science!!!!

    Best of luck with peppers in the future,
    -Hannah

  51. Hannah says:

    Also, I imagine we like milk best because it is cool, which helps to calm the burning sensation, sort of like a cold cloth on a sunburn. We need to change a ‘milk bandage’ to get more unadulterated fat molecules around the capsaicin bonded cells. Milk also has a protein called casein that acts as a detergent against capsaicin.

    • Karen says:

      Hannah – Thanks! However, there is something specific in milk that helps. It’s not just the cold. I’m gonna stick with this exact method because it worked perfectly. Definitely cut through the pepper oil. Plus I like the milk tears. ~ karen

      • Hannah says:

        Oh definitely, milk is best. I was just trying to clarify that it wasn’t the acid/alkaline nullification, but other properties in milk that makes it work so well.

  52. Cat says:

    I wear gloves. Because no matter how mild the pepper I end up with burning hands about two seconds after I start cutting them up and it lasts for hours. Plus I can just pull them off, throw them away and not have to worry about touching my eyes or nose or whatever.
    I’m not a wuss, I’m practical.

  53. Meg says:

    You’re too much, Karen– my right cheek is hurting, so if one of us figures out what causes bilateral butt soreness we’ll have to let the other know!

    I was cutting some habanero peppers for dinner one night and one of them was (don’t ask me how) juicy and squirted me in the eye. That was awesome. My next door neighbor (yaaaay!) was an ER nurse and told me to keep rinsing my eye with room temperature water in addition to the milk patch. So, an addendum, don’t be afraid to rinse with water between milk applications AND don’t think you’re the only person who ever managed to get a stinking hot pepper in their eye…

    (My husband once, on accident, snuffed a nosefull of cayenne pepper– dried and ground. His sinus trouble cleared right up, but I have never heard him yell like that!)

  54. Charli says:

    My skin is really sensitive to capsaicin. I recently got some on my hands and face (thankfully not my eyes)… I knew I’d heard milk was supposed to help. I don’t remember if I was out of milk or what, but I ended up slathering plain, full fat yogurt on my face and hands. It seems like it was even more effective than milk, and I didn’t have to change it out as often.

  55. amy mills says:

    been there. washed my hands, went after my diva cup… wow, that’s a whole different kind of pain and i could figure out how to get milk there:(

  56. cynD says:

    malox helps with the burn of peppers the eyeball well maybe not so much but other parts of a body.. yep good ol’ malox. I found this out with a Kelliblu event cutting peppers with out gloves or with abandon ugh! mercy.. malox did the trick for me. I was ever so grateful. I am not in to pain of any kind. The Eye patch thing WOW how creativev and useful is that with the butterfly clip and every thing! woo hoo

  57. Justine says:

    THERE IS A BETTER WAY!!! (Am I allowed to say that?) But f’real. Banana peels. or banana in general. Mush that stuff all over pepper burns for some much quicker relief.

    • Karen says:

      Justine – You’re only allowed to say it if you write a post about it and prove it, LOL. Just joking. Kind of. Actually, I only post things on my site that I have tested and have proven actually work. Milk really is the best thing for this particular burn, and the other thing is most people always have milk in the house but might not have bananas. If the chance arises again and I have a banana on hand, I’ll do a post amendment. :) ~ karen!

  58. Summer says:

    Us chemists have a joke.. it’s pretty terrible, but here it is: Only chemists and pepper pickers wash their hands BEFORE they go to the bathroom!

  59. Krista says:

    Karen, another remedy is hair. When I lived as a student in Mexico I got jalapeno juice in my eye. My host kept yelling at me “pelo,pelo!” (hair, hair) and i was Like NO my EYE! my EYE! Next thing I knew she grabbed a handful of my hair and rubbed it over my eye. Pain gone instantly! I’ve made sure to keep my hair just long enough ever since. However, for you I would advice not cutting peppers unless the fella was around to rub on. I have no idea why it works but it is instant.

  60. Jill says:

    Karen, my daughter and I were de-seeding what we were told were mild peppers for drying. About five minutes into it our faces started swelling. Seven minutes into it our lips were on fire and we couldn’t see. : O My fingernails hurt. The skin underneath my fingernails hurt.

    After realizing that just having these peppers IN THE SAME ROOM AS US caused us these injuries, I removed the offending veg to the front porch. If I hadn’t, we were doomed. I think our brains were slightly charred too.

    We had never touched our faces.

    Went online and sought advice where I read that Pepto Bismal helps. We applied pink masks. It helped. Needed more relief so we we tried sour cream AND Pepto.

    As the pain subsided (it took over an hour), my husband walked in the house and saw us. He just shook his head and retreated to his man cave. That says a lot about the shit he witnesses around here (usually involving me).

  61. LInda says:

    I mixed with a hot pepper once and I found that solarcaine worked wonders. We were on vacation and i didn’t have milk and didn’t know that would work. I tried alot of stuff but the only thing that did work almost instant was the solarcaine.

  62. Liz Lyons says:

    Thank you for your advice. I burned my hands preparing jalapeno poppers for my step-son and his friends. I heard that just the seeds of the pepper burns your skin so I was extremely careful coring the pepper. Well not careful enough, very painful burn which lasted for hours. My step-son’s friend who was watching me prepare the peppers told me later that he kinda knew I would burn my hands but he didn’t say anything. I replied, is that your confession? Can you imagine someone so sadistic?

    • Karen says:

      Oh dear. That sucks. Did you get to my advice in time? Or is it stored in memory for next time? ~ karen

      • Liz Lyons says:

        Thank you for your empathy. No, unfortunately I did not get your advice in time. I am educating people, like you do. Yes it is burned in my memory; however, there will never be a next time, because I am now aware.

  63. logan says:

    burned my nose today and thank god you had this up here cause if not i might have burned to death and want to know if the burning will just go away

  64. ckdesigner says:

    That milky tear is poetic! As the recipient of nearly every rare skin affliction that can possibly happen to a hyper-cautious person, I have considered starting my own line of Rescue Wear. Your design is superior and dare I say, Trending.

  65. Jenn says:

    Pepper in the eye can be serious business. I onced worked at a restaurant where we carried over 100 different hot sauces. One was so outrageous that you had to sign a waiver before we could let you use it. One of the servers I worked with had someone that was going to use it, so he pulled it down, and for whatever reason opened the bottle for the customer. The lid popped up a bit and a tiny drop flew up into his eye. He’s been blind in that eye ever since.

    I’ve dealt with enough issues in restaurants that I simply have a box of disposable exam gloves in the kitchen – raw meat or peppers, onions or garlic get the gloves. Cheap and you can find them everywhere! Walmart even has them in boxes on the shelves.

  66. Guillermo says:

    Thank you Karen, you just saved my life, or at least my lips and nose. Being Latin American and living in Europe I often laugh at Europeans threshold for Chilli, so I was preparing a recipe to treat my work colleagues, thinking that I would spice it up a little, I cut up a very innocent looking Scotch Bonnet and before adding it to the recipe, I put a tiny speck of it in my mouth to try it. After an hour of incredible pain and not letting up, I googled it and found your article. Thank you as I will be able to go to bed and sleep, something I thought impossible half an hour ago. Needless to say, I now have a new found respect for innocent looking chilli peppers and of course milk.

    • Karen says:

      HI Guillermo! I’m glad it worked! (I’m guessing it worked otherwise you’d be cursing me not thanking me, lol). And yes … BEWARE of the innocent looking scotch bonnet! Welcome to my site. Hope you stick around. :) ~ karen

  67. Guillermo says:

    Hi Karen, it did work and it brought me back to life. At one point I was watching in case I’d get hives in my skin, as I thought I was having an allergic reaction, it was that bad. I’ll never look at chilli peppers the same way. Your blog is great and your story is well written, with a lot of humour, so I’ll check your site from time to time. Thank you and enjoy Thanksgiving.

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