How to neutralize hot pepper or chilli acid from your skin

my homegrown chillies

Last night whilst cooking dinner I did something very very stupid. Actually I did not only one stupid thing but two – firstly I diced some strong kick-ass chillies without any gloves and then I decided to measure up a pinch of chilli powder using my fingers… I am not sure what I was thinking and how I could be so careless but I was and it happened. So dinner was bubbling away nicely and my fingers were now on fire.

To be honest with you I actually thought that I must have burned myself somehow. I wasn’t totally sure how or even when I had burnt them but this was the only thing I could think of as to the cause of my discomfort. It was actually Mark who pointed out that the cause of my discomfort is most likely my careless toying with chillies – whilst making those condescending “derrr” sounds.

I survived the evening and went to sleep. As long as I didn’t put any pressure anywhere near my fingernails I was fine… more or less.

So, I woke up this morning, did my morning routine and sat down at the computer to do some work. Houston, we have a problem! I couldn’t type! Every time I tried to press the keys on my keyboard using one of my chilli affected fingers I was in agony, literally.

It was a time to search for some help.

I spent almost an hour reading various forums, blogs and website in search of the perfect solution. I started to notice that a few methods were repeated more than others, so it was a time to try them out.

First I washed my hands with a washing up liquid. I have washed my hands probably 20 times since last night but it didn’t seem to help a lot… but I hadn’t used any strong grease cutting soap, so this was step one.

Quite a few people suggested washing your skin with a strong alcohol. Apparently Jack Daniels is perfect for this task. I was very tempted to try it out but I knew Mark would probably moan as he doesn’t share Jack, he says it’s a monogamous relationship, so I skipped that test 😉

Next solution on the agenda was a dry salt rub. I tried it but found it not ideal for me as the most affected part of my fingers was close to the nail or under the nail to be exact and I couldn’t really get the salt to the affected area easily.

After that epic fail I tried a milk bath. I poured some milk into a small bowl and just kept my fingers submerged in it. It helped a little but I could still feel the chilli burn when I pressed my fingers together.

So my last hope was a yogurt. Luckily I had a small pot of full fat natural yogurt in the fridge. I just applied it to my fingers and rubbed it in. I used the entire contents of the small pot and the whole yogurt exercise lasted about 5 minutes. Guess what…..

It worked!

My fingers were no longer on fire!

I could happily go back to work now.

I did learn a valuable lesson that day. Respect the chillies and do not toy with them!

Do you know of any other home solutions that could help in this situation?

33 thoughts on “How to neutralize hot pepper or chilli acid from your skin

  1. Thank you for the tip! My husband and I cook with a lot of peppers…many of them pretty hot. I have had to throw out some contacts because I could not get the residue off of them…and I would wash my hands many times! I will definitely tr the yogurt next time.

  2. oh my good god – what chillies where you chopping to burn your fingers so much you couldn’t type?! The worst is forgetting and then touching your eyes – been there and done that >_<

  3. Gosh I wouldn’t even think you could burn your fingers from chillis. I’ve rubbed my face with chili on and that hurts a lot but I thought fingers would be a bit hardier!! Great tip though, I’ll remember that.

  4. Hence the reason why a mango lassi or salt lassi is commonly enjoyed with an Indian meal I reckon! 🙂 Glad you are OK, sounds super painful!

  5. I do that all the time! You would think that I’d be a bit more careful after so many times, but I’m always in a rush of some sorts. At least now I know that yogurt will work since I always have some plain Greek in the fridge.

  6. OMG I never knew chilis and hot peppers could do that! Not surprised yoghurt worked as I’ve watched people eat really hot chillies and then had yoghurt afterwards to stop the burning in their mouth! x

  7. Oh, boy.Chilis have actually “scared” me. I’ve never used them before. Even watching the cooking channel with their safe tips, I still would be intimidated.

  8. I’ve always wanted to know the cure for that problem! I gave up on real chillis because I so hate the pain in my fingers afterwards, but you might actually persuade me to go back to using them (my husband will be pleased!)

    1. Apparently if you oil your hands a bit before handling chillies, the acid from them will not get into your skin and you can “play” with them as much as you want… or just wear food safe gloves (which I personally really dislike)

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