I have no idea how many times I have cut jalapeno peppers in my lifetime. In college, I grew them and cut them up for recipes all. the. time. Occasionally, I would even cut up a habanero for chili. And I never had any ill side-effects.
I think I bought a mutant at Kroger last night. I cut one measly jalapeno for supper and my burning right hand kept me up half the night! I even wondered for a bit if I was going to have blisters because there were red blotches in a few places that burned intensely.
By 11 o'clock, I was becoming desperate. I once again turned to Google. I started typing "hands burning..." and it filled in the rest for me, "...from cutting jalapeno peppers." I realized then that perhaps my pepper wasn't a mutant and my situation wasn't as uncommon as I thought, since the search engine was able to anticipate the rest of my thought.
However common the situation might be, it seems no one has been able to discover a remedy. The first sight I went to listed olive oil as a solution: rub it on your hands for about a minute to absorb the capsaicin into the olive oil, then wash with soap and water to rinse the capsaicin away. Nada.
I asked my Facebook friends for help. My brother, always the jokester, told me to rub my eyes and then I would forget the pain in my hands. Thanks, bro, but I learned a long time ago to seriously weigh the effects of taking a big brother's advice.
Another friend suggested milk. Tried it. Nothing.
Another suggestion was to rub hands in GoJo and then wash it off; while someone else warned that absolutely no one, under any circumstances, should use GoJo because it's like rubbing sandpaper on a burn. No thanks.
Dawn dish soap. I washed my hands with it at least three times. Nothing.
I continued my research, getting a million conflicting reports. One read, "Calamine lotion--works like a dream." I didn't have any calamine, but I did have triple medicated Gold Bond ointment. My husband convinced me to try it, because, as he said, what did I have to lose? Well, it wasn't necessarily worse, but I can't say it was better. Unless you like the feeling of Icy-Hot, I wouldn't recommend it. That was weird. I washed it off the best I could.
Yet another report suggested rubbing alcohol, but a Facebook friend warned against that. Then someone else said any kind of alcohol would do. This was my favorite report on that:
"this [experience with burning hands] has never happened to me with jalapenos or serranos but it has happened with those little thai peppers. i tried all of the suggested cures, but eventually, i gave up and instead of soaking my hands in vodka, drank enough of it to dull the pain and fall asleep."
That made me laugh, hard, because I could completely relate. Had I any vodka in my house, it would have been a tempting solution.
All throughout this time, in between trying various remedies, I was surfing the internet with one hand in a bowl of ice water. And this, my friends, turned out to be the best solution.
Thanks, honey, for photographically documenting my painful Father's Day dinner experience.
I feel I should just add one last thought: I had heard of this burning hand phenomenon and thought it only happened to wimps who were unable to handle a little heat. One of these days I will learn that pride comes before the fall, in any situation. And in this case, the fall was physically painful. I read reports from several others online who had cut peppers all their lives too and then, bam! One time they cut them and felt the burn. So, to all you pepper users out there, be safe! Wear gloves. But, if you, like me, think you are above the burn, just keep this in the back of your mind: nothing relieves the burn completely, but if you are able to remain stationary, a bowl of ice water sure can help.