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how to get pepper oil off my face and hands

r
rcburli Oct 8, 2009 03:20 PM

Chopped some home grown peppers tonight, and i thought they were not the hot kind...regardless, I have oil on my hands and in my nose, and it's burning....I just took off my contacts...yikes.

How do I get it off. I tried soap, and it's kind of still there. Soap again?

  1. Paulustrious Oct 8, 2009 03:42 PM

    A degreasing agent. Washing up liquid does better than soap, but a something that takes engine oil stains off works well. Some people recommend yoghurt.

    1. raytamsgv Oct 8, 2009 04:47 PM

      If it's on your face, I wouldn't really recommend anything stronger than soap. Try using liquid soap (and plenty of it). If that fails, you can try dish washing liquid, but that might sting.

      1. b
        brianl999 Oct 8, 2009 06:04 PM

        Well, I can't really help you for your face, but alcohol should neutralize the capsaicin. Whenever I'm handling peppers, I fill a small ramekin with rubbing alcohol and soak my fingers in it when I'm done. Soap and water doesn't cut it, it really gets in around your nails and such.

        Reminds me of the time I was doing something or other with habaneros. I washed my hands, and then scratched my nose (I wasn't picking, really!). You can imagine the fallout.

        As far as your face goes, sorry, but the tears will eventually flush things out.

        Thanks,

        Brian

        1 Reply
        1. re: brianl999
          alkapal Oct 14, 2009 10:40 AM

          i don't think alcohol "neutralizes" capsaicin. i think it does act as a solvent, to help release capsaicin from skin surfaces, though.

          best for washing up: oily soap and lots of lukewarm water.

        2. b
          BigE Oct 9, 2009 06:53 AM

          Citric acid works well, in my experience.

          Whenever I make guacamole, I always reserve half a lime to squeeze over my hands to neutralize the capsaicin from the peppers.

          1. luckyfatima Oct 9, 2009 10:29 AM

            Immersing your hands in yoghurt or milk should stop the burning. I guess you could apply the yoghurt to your face.

            1. pikiliz Oct 12, 2009 05:33 AM

              as brianl999 said alcohol works well I agree with that and also sea breeze face cleaner works well

              1. d
                danieljdwyer Oct 14, 2009 12:04 PM

                Obviously a suggestion that is too late, but, if it happens again, try a chemical exfoliant (like a face wash with salicylic acid or glycolic acid. Part of the issue is that the oils in the peppers readily absorb in to any dry skin cells they find on your face or hands. At that point, the only way to get rid of them is to get rid of the dry skin cells. A physical exfoliant (like a face scrub) is not a good option as it can created scratches in the skin for the oil to penetrate.

                5 Replies
                1. re: danieljdwyer
                  alkapal Oct 15, 2009 04:58 AM

                  with all due respect, daniel, the last thing i'd suggest is a chemical exfoliant to deal with capsaicin. talk about burn upon burn!

                  i wonder how rubbing an oatmeal paste might work, hmmm? that just occurred to me. oatmeal helps with itchy skin, and might help absorb/alleviate capsaicin.

                  1. re: alkapal
                    d
                    danieljdwyer Oct 15, 2009 05:53 AM

                    I can definitely see where it would seem like a chemical exfoliant would add to the burn, but it always works for me (and I have this issue a lot, because I nearly always separate the seeds from the pepper so that I can use the separately, even if both are going in the same dish, and i like to use my fingers to do this, and stubbornly refuse to wear gloves). Glycolic and salicylic face washes are formulated with such a low amount of the acid that they tend to be among the gentlest cleansers. They are certainly far less harsh than alcohol or the vast majority of soaps, which both tend to strip moisture from the skin without penetrating beyond the top layer.
                    Oatmeal might work very well. Citrus oil also works to a degree. I've used a lemon peel, rubbed on my face, to calm the burn in the past when I was picnicking and had nothing else on hand. If nothing else, the pleasant smell will distract from the unpleasant burn.

                    1. re: danieljdwyer
                      alkapal Oct 15, 2009 06:00 AM

                      then maybe they need to sell some stridex pads next to the serranos now? ;-)).
                      http://www.stridex.com/max.htm

                      1. re: alkapal
                        d
                        danieljdwyer Oct 15, 2009 06:08 AM

                        Oh jeez. It's been awhile, but I remember those things smelling terrible. Teenagers must either not care about smell, or not have fully developed olfactory bulbs. Products for adults almost always smell way better (without sounding too effeminate, the ones formulated for middle aged ladies trying to minimize smile lines are often quite pleasant).
                        This one just came to mind: plain old witch hazel works pretty well, used after the skin has been washed.

                        1. re: danieljdwyer
                          alkapal Oct 15, 2009 07:38 AM

                          not to venture too far afield, but i think all those teenager products have been upgraded in the scent department. witch hazel (my high school friend's beloved -- and relatively cheap -- "sea breeze") has a nice, bracing scent.

                2. s
                  ssharp Oct 16, 2009 10:17 AM

                  It may sound weird, but I have found that a good rub down with olive oil, and then a wash helps my hands, and face. I believe I heard somewhere that the olive oil mixes with the capsaicin which then is rinsed off with a good wash.
                  Sounded like hogwash pseudo-science to me, but when you're half blind with jalapeno-eye, you'll try anything.
                  Now, I just do it every time, and as long as I'm not absent-minded, I don't get the burn any more.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ssharp
                    Passadumkeg Oct 16, 2009 04:23 PM

                    Penelope Cruz taught me to rub my hands w/ olive oil BEFORE one works w/ chiles and then to wash hands afterward. I tried it and it works.

                  2. j
                    jeff_in_redmond Oct 16, 2009 11:00 AM

                    Does anyone besides me use gloves when cleaning chiles/peppers? Just those cheap, disposable latex or vinyl ones? That works.

                    2 Replies
                    1. re: jeff_in_redmond
                      KaimukiMan Oct 16, 2009 12:13 PM

                      when i lived in Seoul, my room-mate's mother was so glad we let her wear gloves when she made kim-chee. her husband wouldn't let her, said he could taste the rubber flavor in the kim-chee. what suprised me is he stopped by unexpectedly once, i served him some rice, kim-chee and egg salad, and he immediately knew we had let her wear gloves.

                      1. re: KaimukiMan
                        j
                        jeff_in_redmond Oct 16, 2009 12:32 PM

                        Were they latex gloves? I can see someone sensitive to latex being able to detect it. I doubt they would detect vinyl glove aroma. Also, maybe he made a lucky guess to yank someone's chain? :) Sounds like something I'd do!

                    2. r
                      rainier_wolfcastle Oct 16, 2009 02:16 PM

                      Avoid the issue. The chain Smart & Final (and, I'm sure, all restaurant supply stores) have boxes of 100 food prep gloves for cheap. I use them whenever I handle hot peppers. I also use them whenever I handle raw chicken/pork. Part of the reason is that I have eczema, so open cuts on my hands are common, but mostly it is just damned convenient. Work w/problem materials, strip gloves off, done!

                      1 Reply
                      1. re: rainier_wolfcastle
                        alkapal Oct 18, 2009 03:11 AM

                        i definitely use those latex prep gloves for prepping raw chicken.

                        often, i've already chopped the peppers before i think of putting on the gloves, though.

                      2. dduane Oct 16, 2009 03:11 PM

                        Don't waste time with soap: it may shift the oils that carry the capsaicin around a little, but the capsaicin itself will already have bound to your skin and be doing its thing.

                        I helped out once or twice in the ER at New York Hospital some years back (I was a psych nurse), and on one of these stints a resident taught me the trick (we always had an upswing in cases of "Hunan Hand" as the holidays came on...). The cure is simple and straightforward. You dissolve a couple of tablespoons of chlorine bleach in a quart of water, mix well, and immerse your hands in it. The bleach solution snaps the capsaicin molecule in pieces and renders it harmless. This provides more or less instant relief (the quicker you apply this remedy, the better). Wet a cloth with the solution and use it carefully on other areas of skin that may be suffering.

                        Obviously you can't use this stuff on your eyes. But for that there's another remedy. Contact lens wetting solution breaks the capsaicin molecule in exactly the same way as the weak bleach solution does.

                        Meanwhile: next time wear gloves even if you think you've got tame peppers. ;)

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: dduane
                          alkapal Oct 18, 2009 03:13 AM

                          HUNAN HAND....LOL!!!

                        2. boogiebaby Oct 16, 2009 04:25 PM

                          Plain yogurt, straight from the fridge. Rub it on your hands and face and let it sit for a couple minutes, then rinse. the enzymes in it neutralize the burn.

                          1. m
                            musashi1 Oct 17, 2009 07:25 AM

                            When taking gourmet cooking lessons from a local chef, he taught me a trick used by chefs regarding hot chilis. Rub your hands with a little vegetable oil first. It seals the skin and makes removal of the capsaicin with regular dish washing soap much easier. He said that one of their favorite tricks was that while chopping hot chilis, they would walk behind new chefs and wipe a streak on the backs of their necks. Got them moving!

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