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Are my eyes burning from eating red chillies?

  1. Sep 7, 2010 #1
    So recently I have been cooking with red chillies for the first time in my life. I also wear contact lenses. Within a day or two of my chili binge, I have noticed that when I put my contacts in in the morning, my eyes burn like hell. I know that it is related to the chillies. The thing is, I am kind of a clean freak; so in the time interval between eating dinner and putting my contacts in in the morning, I will have scrubbed my hands at least 3 times. I am hypothesizing that one of two things (or both) is happening here:

    1) No matter how much I scrub, some chile oils remain, kind like how garlic stays on the fingers after cutting, no matter how much you scrub (except I can't smell the chillies).

    2) I have been eating at least one chili a day for the last week or two and hence I am "perspiring" some of the chemicals from the chillies.

    What do you guys think? Any other possibilities? I am sure it has to do with the chillies.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 7, 2010 #2

    Borek

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    It is surprising how long capsaicine stick to the skin. And washing hands doesn't help much. I ate a small, hot pepper few hours ago, since then I washed my hands three or four times - and if I put my finger in my mouth it still burns.

    I am not surprised by your experience at all.
     
  4. Sep 7, 2010 #3
    Take care when you use the toilet!:cry:
     
  5. Sep 7, 2010 #4

    Danger

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    :rofl:

    :uhh:


    There's another possibility. Fumes from the peppers might be infiltrating your eyes through the air, the same way that those of an onion can.
     
  6. Sep 7, 2010 #5

    Borek

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    You don't have to warn me :grumpy:
     
  7. Sep 7, 2010 #6

    brewnog

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    Try washing your hands in very (tolerably) hot water followed directly by cold water.
     
  8. Sep 7, 2010 #7
    Washing your hands not only doesn't help but can actually extend the problem. In essence, the oils would have gone away quicker had you not been running water over the skin.

    The best thing to do is wear gloves in the first place.
     
  9. Sep 7, 2010 #8

    Borek

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    I have to check if rubbing olive oil and washing hands after that won't help, after all, capsaicin is much better soluble in fat.
     
  10. Sep 7, 2010 #9
    same experience. detergent doesn't seem to totally help, either. maybe it hides in the pores or something.
     
  11. Sep 7, 2010 #10
    That would be an interesting experiment. But I will need to not use my eyes as the testing ground :bugeye:

    I think I will invest in some vinyl gloves for use while chopping and handling the chillies.
     
  12. Sep 7, 2010 #11

    Astronuc

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    Use butter or yogurt or olive oil to get the capsacin compounds off the skin, since the compounds are fat soluble. Then wash with hand soap or detergent.

    Personally, it doesn't bother me, but then I don't were contacts.
     
  13. Sep 7, 2010 #12

    Borek

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    Sooner or later you have to pee...

    Interestingly, if you have ever used DEET based mosquito repellent, it gives similar effects (and I am not talking about eyes :wink:).
     
  14. Sep 7, 2010 #13

    Danger

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    Deet is illegal in Canada at more than 30% of a product, and can't be used on children under 12 at more than 10% concentration. I think that those were compromise numbers, because there was a large faction that wanted to ban it entirely.
     
  15. Sep 7, 2010 #14

    Borek

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    One that I used was 55% DEET + polypropylene glycol + isopropanol. Could be it was not DEET that produced the burning sensation. Mild sensation, but hard to miss.
     
  16. Sep 7, 2010 #15

    turbo

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    When I was a chemist in a pulp mill, I washed my hands before AND after using the bathroom. You don't need to get surprised more than once to learn that lesson.
     
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