After chopping an unexpectedly powerful jalapeno, my hands were on fire for hours. Washing with soap and water was useless, and ice packs did nothing to tame the burn. Instead I turned to this pantry staple for help:Olive oil! When the pain became unbearable, I rubbed a tablespoon of olive oil all over my hands for about a minute, then washed them with soap and water. The olive oil helped to dissolve the capsaicin in the jalapeno — which is more soluble in oil than in water — so it could be rinsed away.
Although the burning wasn't completely cured, it was much more tolerable, and finally disappeared within an hour or two. I was even able to remove my contact lenses without any problems later that night. Next time I'll remember to put on gloves!
Anjali is a former private chef who is currently pursuing a graduate degree in nutrition, with plans to become a registered dietitian. She lives in Los Angeles. You can read more of her health-focused writing at Eat Your Greens.
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