Anyone who handles hot peppers is well-advised to use a pair of disposable kitchen gloves (latex or vinyl) for the chore. That would prevent the predicament in which this reader found herself:
Q. I de-seeded 15 jalapenos without using gloves, so of course afterwards my hands were burning.
My daughter-in-law said that her grandfather had always told her to apply ‘something creamy,’ so I rubbed on some AmLactin I normally use for dry skin. The burning stopped almost immediately! I hope you will share this tip with your other readers.
A. Capsaicin, the hot stuff in all chili peppers (not just jalapenos), is alkaline.
AmLactin hand and body lotion is acidic, containing alpha-hydroxy acid. We suspect that may explain why it worked so well.
Cooling the Burn from Jalapenos:
Capsaicin is not soluble in water, which is why running your hands under cold water probably wouldn’t have done much for the burn.
But the casein protein in milk (or cream, as per grandfather) can grab onto capsaicin and help neutralize it. This is why drinking milk or eating yogurt or sour cream with a spicy meal can help dial the heat down a bit.
Jalapenos as Home Remedies:
People who don’t have a love affair with hot peppers might be wondering why anyone would go to the trouble of fixing them. We have heard from readers that a spicy, steaming bowl of soup can stop a migraine headache before it gets a good hold. Others are adamant that jalapenos can ease heartburn, difficult as this might be to imagine. We have written about the pros and cons of hot peppers for health here.