Household treatment for "chile burns" of the hands

J Toxicol Clin Toxicol. 1987;25(6):483-91. doi: 10.3109/15563658708992651.


In New Mexico, chile peppers (Capsicum annum) are prepared by roasting and manually removing the skin from the fruit. Peeling is often done barehanded and may cause prolonged burning pain, irritation, and erythema but not vesication. In a survey of elderly Hispanic women, treatment with oils or cool tap water were frequently used home remedies. Twenty female subjects immersed their hands in a standardized slurry of green chile for 40 minutes, afterwards one hand was placed in cool tap water and the other in vegetable oil for a total of 75 minutes. Pain was scored using a visual analog scale while the hands were immersed in the chile slurry, test baths, and after drying. The difference in pain score was calculated for each subject. Analysis was by pooled regression. Cool tap water immersion initially provided more relief while vegetable oil provided better long-term relief from the pain of "chile burns".

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Capsicum / adverse effects*
  • Dermatitis, Contact / etiology
  • Dermatitis, Contact / therapy*
  • Female
  • Hand*
  • Humans
  • Immersion
  • Middle Aged
  • Pain / etiology
  • Pain Management
  • Plant Oils / therapeutic use*
  • Plants, Edible
  • Plants, Medicinal*
  • Water*


  • Plant Oils
  • Water