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?


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

  1. 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!)

    • 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)

  2. thanks for sharing this trick :o) I cut chilli today too and I accidentally got a cut inmy finger… think this finger screems for a yogurt-bath :o)

  3. I hate that burn – never heard of using yoghurt to soothe it

  4. Oh wow how would have thought! I am glad it worked, sounds like it hurt!

  5. Kimberly Bergeron

    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.

  6. Great to know! Our conure (bird) loves hot pepper and I’m always too Leary to cut it up for him for this reason!

  7. 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

  8. Melissa Smith

    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.

  9. Wow! Thank you for the advice. My wife would love you by giving this informaton 😉

  10. bavariansojourn

    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!

  11. nessjibberjabberuk

    Oh goodness what an ordeal! I don’t cook with raw chilli but I will remember the yoghurt trick.

  12. Cass@FrugalFamily

    Ooh that sounds painful – I didn’t even know you could get burned by chilli like this x x

  13. Sylvia

    I always use yogurt for any kind of burns – simple natural always works. For neutralizing hot feeling in your mouth apparently vodka is the best.

  14. 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.

  15. I had no idea the milk bath was going to work, but it makes sense because it would also work in your mouth (i.e., if you eat something too hot, wash it down with a glass of milk!)

  16. Michelle

    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 >_<

  17. I didnt know chillies could get that hot! lol but great post and tips. I had no idea that worked. Thanks for sharing.

  18. I like hot stuff!!! and these peppers are on the list! thanks for sharing this tip!

  19. lilce51286

    I love hot peppers and I did hear that milk will help

  20. Wow, I hope you’re feeling better. And thanks for the tip, sometimes the oddest things make the best solutions!

  21. Great tips thanks for sharing

  22. You got that right! Chilles are no joke!

  23. This is interesting. This is my first time hearing of this.

  24. 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.

  25. What???? Yogurt, really? Oh I have got to remember that. I just recently heard about mustard and honey for burns too 🙂

  26. My first thought was milk. I can understand the yogurt working but I would have never thought of it on my own. I am going to remember this for the future.

  27. I had no idea you could burn your fingers whilst cutting a chilli!

  28. I eat a lot of hot peppers so I’m familiar with the creamy mentions. Any milk product helps to cool things down.

  29. Anything with milk will help you with the burning sensation. I always forget that I have chili in my hands and then rub my eyes. And yes, milk helps with the eye-burning also.

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