Seriously. Google returns well over a million results for “chili pepper burn” as if it’s a totally normal phenomenon. Of course, Google gives a lot of options for even the most inane questions, so it’s not as if we can use the search engine as any sort of proof.
But, a lot of people have tried a lot of solutions to relieve the pain that comes with eating chili peppers and the capsaicin found inside.
And, there are solutions.
Let’s look at capsaicin for a moment. You can’t taste it. Your taste buds don’t have anything to do with capsaicin. This odorless compound just offers heat – well, something that your brain interprets as heat. Capsaicin simply triggers the same pain receptors that fire or extreme heat would.
That’s not to say that chili peppers don’t have any flavor. They do. The flesh of each chili produces a unique flavor which you would be able to taste better if the capsaicin didn’t send your brain into panic mode.
That’s not the point.
Capsaicin burns… People want to alleviate pain – even if they enjoy the rush that goes with some types of pain (like eating chili peppers; we’re absolutely not talking about anything else here). That’s why there are so many people looking for ways to rid themselves of chili pepper pain.
As it turns out, milk is one of the best things you can swallow to mitigate capsaicin burn. It too has a compound that reacts with your pain receptors. Actually, it’s a protein that pushes capsaicin out of the way and replaces it on the pain receptors. Researchers have found that carbohydrates can do the same although not as effectively. (And, sugar is reported to do a better job than bread.)
You can try as many different options as you like when you’re trying to deal with capsaicin burn at home, but you’re unlikely to top the science of it all. And, whatever works for you, works for you. We recommend keeping oddball ideas to yourself, however; you don’t want to give someone bad advice and have a medical emergency on your hands.
And, speaking of hands… let’s talk about them for a moment. If you are in any doubt as to the heat a chili could produce in your mouth, you have no business handling peppers with your bare hands. It’s totally silly. (Incidentally, there are a lot of peppers we wear gloves to touch.) An unbroken pepper on unbroken skin may not cause that much pain. But, when you start slicing the peppers, or you have a small abrasion on your hands…
Seriously, though, we spend a crazy amount of time worrying about how to ease chili pepper burns that it just makes sense to worry a little more about preventative measures. You could easily buy some gloves, or avoid Ghost Peppers if you think Habaneros are hot.
We’re just saying…