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miracle (?) fix for chili pepper burn

I forgot to wear gloves, a chili pepper was far, far hotter than I expected and my whole hands felt like they were on fire. So I checked this site (and others) for solutions, and tried those -- lemon juice, oil, yoghurt, milk. They offered relief for a few seconds, but nothing more.

But the peach chutney I was making was also far too hot, so I decided to dilute it with one more peach, and one red onion and keep boiling.

And after I chopped the onion, the burning just stopped, first on my fingers and then, after I rubbed leftover onion over the rest of my hands, everywhere.It was almost instantaneous. I'm posting here in the hope that it works for others too, and you will suffer less than I did.

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  1. Thanks for the tip! My hands are much more sensitve to chili burn than my cast-iron mouth.

    1. Rubbing your hands in your hair also helps quite a bit. I made the mistake of peelings 5 pounds of green chiles without gloves and a friend told me about that little tip. Something about the oils in your hair helps alleviate the burn.

      3 Replies
      1. re: dalaimama

        That sounds a bit haphazard; what if you get scalp burn?

        1. re: OCAnn

          At that point, you can then rub the onions all over your scalp!

          1. re: OCAnn

            Well, at that point I had washed my hands thoroughly, so I wasn't rubbing chiles in my hair ;>

        2. Great tip! Thanks for letting us know. Whenever I buy chilies from now on, I'll get some onions too.

          1. At a friend's house, my wife was given fresh peppers out of the garden and asked to slice them up....nobody warned her to wear gloves, and she didn't know better. Her hands have been on fire for 3+ hours.
            We tried: Onions, potatoes, vegetable oil, milk, baking soda, lemon juice, rubbing alcohol.... none of these worked.

            Then, we tried: facial mud mask rubbed all over the hands and wait 10 minutes. This started to help. But, in the end, what did the trick was:
            Gojo waterless handcleaner, followed by several generous helpings of Dawn dishwashing detergent. They guy down at the hardware store told me Dawn will disolve any oil based substance (including the oil based substance which makes peppers hot) and was even used to cleanup major oil spills such as the exxon valdez spill.

            Anyway, her hands are almost back to normal now...

            1 Reply
            1. re: dougg

              Dawn is also used to clean up the poor wildlife that gets caught in the oil spills.

              Dawn is also used to wash a car the first time prior to applying a showcar-quality polish.

              I use Dawn for my dishes, and now I can use them on my hands after inadvertant chili burns! Thanks!

            2. Chili pepper burn is actually known as Hunan Hand in the industry. We often recommend to our customers that they use dishwashing liquid and COLD water... hot water will open the pores and help drive the capsaicin (what makes the chillies hot) deeper into the skin. The best remedy by far is to not get it on your skin in the first place.

              1. hunan hand is a sign that you're making a decent meal ;)

                1. swarfega or almost any mechanics hand cleaner does the job

                  1. Interesting. My guess would be that it's the sulfuric acid produced by the onions that helped. Were your hands wet? I'll have to give this a try next time I'm burning up.