The Jalapeño is a medium-sized chili pepper cultivated in Mexico and parts of Central America. It is enjoyed for its flavor and spiciness and used in many dishes and recipes. Jalapeños are known to cause a burning sensation on the skin if not handled properly during cutting. The burning sensation, as a result of eating or touching the innards of the jalapeño pepper, is known as a jalapeño burn. Luckily, there are many cures and home remedies that can alleviate the pain and stinging.
Jalapeño burns are the result of a chemical called capsaicin contained within the pepper. Capsaicin is not water soluble; therefore burns are not easily washed away. Peppers have varying levels of heat, depending on the area from where they were cultivated, the number of seeds they contain and the age of the pepper. Different people experience different levels of heat and spiciness; therefore, it is important to be advised of foods containing jalapeños to avoid burns in the mouth. You can avoid burns on skin by wearing rubber gloves or rubbing cooking oil on the skin prior to cutting into the pepper. Also avoid touching the face or eyes when working with jalapeños, as they can cause eye irritation.
Dairy products are effective in curing jalapeño burns because they strip capsaicin from receptor sites on the skin. They are also effective in cooling the burning sensation in the mouth. Milk is the best remedy for jalapeño burns, as it contains a protein called casein that is effective in combating the stinging sensation. Drink milk or wash and soak the affected area with milk. You can also consume or soak your fingers in a bowl or yogurt. Consuming buttermilk, cream, cottage cheese or ice creams are also effective in reducing the burning sensation in the mouth after eating jalapeño peppers.
The menthol contained in toothpaste is effective in curing the burning associated with a jalapeño burn. You can rub toothpaste on the affected area, or brush your teeth and tongue after eating a jalapeño. If you experience eye irritation, flush the eyes with water or saline drops. You can remove the stinging oils from the skin with rubbing alcohol or aloe vera gel. Baking soda is also effective. To get the most out of baking soda, create a paste by mixing baking soda with cold water or milk. Apply the paste to your skin and allow it to sit for 10 to 15 minutes before washing it away.
Other cures for skin burns include pure black honey, butter, tomato, mashed papaya and over ripened bananas. You can also cure jalapeño burns using sugar, salt, vegetable oil, olive oil or corn oil. Vodka and apple cider vinegar are effective. Soak burning fingers in a bowl of vodka, or apple cider vinegar for 5 to 10 minutes to neutralize burns. You can also place your hands in a bowl or lemon or orange juice, or rub the fresh fruit directly on the affected area of the skin.