Capsaicin is a medication, available over the counter and with a prescription, that helps relieve pain associated with shingles, rheumatoid arthritis and muscle sprains. Available as a topical patch, cream or ointment, capsaicin is also the same substance that makes chili peppers hot. This medication relieves pain by heating the painful area of your body, reducing the amount of pain messenger chemicals in that area. Knowing how to remove capsaicin from your skin is important to reduce risk of irritation, remove the product from your hands after application to other parts of your body and remove residual medication from a capsaicin patch.
Wash hands with soap and water after applying the medication to affected areas of your body. If the hands are the affected area, wait at least 30 minutes prior to washing them so the medication has time to absorb into your skin. To reduce skin irritation after application, wash off the medication with warm water and mild soap. Do not use hot water since it can heat up the capsaicin and cause further irritation.
Avoid touching sensitive areas of your body after applying capsaicin to your hands. The chemical can burn delicate areas, such as your eyes. Flush sensitive areas with warm water and use a mild soap to remove the remaining capsaicin. Avoid touching items such as dentures, contact lenses and food with capsaicin on your hands.
Use the supplied cleaning gel after removing a capsaicin patch. Apply the gel to the entire area previously covered by the patch and wait for at least one minute. Wipe the area clean with a dry cloth before using a mild soap and water to wash the area. Dry your skin completely with a towel.
Contact a physician for irritation and discomfort caused by using capsaicin.
- Pharmacological Reviews: Unravelling the Mystery of Capsaicin -- A Tool to Understand and Treat Pain
- British Journal of Anaesthesia: Topical Capsaicin for Pain Management -- Therapeutic Potential and Mechanisms of Action of the New High-Concentration Capsaicin 8% Patch
- Pain Medicine News Special Edition: Topical Medications in the Treatment of Pain
- University of Maryland Medical Center: Capsaicin (On the Skin)