General Question

MyNewtBoobs's avatar

Can you get burned from jalapeños?

Asked by MyNewtBoobs (19041points) July 12th, 2010

As I was cutting up jalapeño peppers earlier, I found out just what it feels like to touch the pepper and then touch your face. Luckily, I managed to calm the burn, but what if I hadn’t? Could I have gotten real damage to my face? What about with other hot peppers?

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7 Answers

judochop's avatar

Yes you can. Some mace sprays are made with different peppers. The burning will subside and no “real” damage will be left behind.

YARNLADY's avatar

The pain receptors feel the same as a burn, but there is not the same tissue damage that you would have with fire.

cazzie's avatar

It’s a chemical called Capsaicin.

‘Painful exposures to capsaicin-containing peppers are among the most common plant-related exposures presented to poison centers. They cause burning or stinging pain to the skin, and if ingested in large amounts by adults or small amounts by children, can produce nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain and burning diarrhea. Eye exposure produces intense tearing, pain, conjunctivitis and blepharospasm.[44]’

SmashTheState's avatar

People have died from exposure to capsaicin pepper sprays (most notably when used by police as an implement of torture on people confined to restraint chairs) as a result of heart failure, but while getting some on your skin will hurt, if you’re healthy and aren’t already stressed from being restrained, it won’t do any permanent harm.

I do recall chopping up habanero peppers for a stew and then thoughtlessly going for a piss without washing my hands first. I didn’t die, but while I was curled up on the bathroom floor weeping, I wished I was dead.

stratman37's avatar

no pain, no gain.

jerv's avatar

Jalapenos are painful, but not really harmful. Some of your hotter peppers may cause slight damage, but unless you actually get maced, you probably won’t get enough capsaicin to harm you. Almost definitely not from a jalapeno.

Neizvestnaya's avatar

Yes, some people handle them while wearing rubber gloves because the seeds and oils put blisters on their fingers.

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