How long does capsaicin cream burn last?

Usually capsaicin cream has a mild warming or burning sensation for around 30 minutes, although there are a few factors which can change this time period, such as concentration or personal reaction. It's also worth noting that the more often you use capsaicin cream the less the burning sensation will effect you over time.

What is Capsaicin Cream?

Capsaicin cream is a popular, "second line" medication used to relieve pain, particularly in conditions like neuropathic pain, arthritis, and post-herpetic neuralgia. [1] In this case second line means, that it is used typically as an additional treatment, it's also available over the counter seeing as it's a natural product, which can be convienient for a lot of people.

Why does Capsaisin Cream Burn?

Due to the simple fact that capsaicin is the ingredient that gives chilli's their burning sensation it can of course have a similar effect on the skin, although typically mild it does lead people to ask the question of how long capsaicin cream burns for. And as we mentioned at the start, there are some factors that can effect the time beyond the standard 30 mins. [2]

Factors Affecting the Duration of the Burning Sensation of Capsaicin

Several factors can influence the duration of the burning sensation caused by capsaicin cream. These factors include the concentration of capsaicin in the cream, the amount applied, individual sensitivity, and the duration of application amongst a couple of others:

  1. Concentration of Capsaicin: The concentration of capsaicin in the cream plays a significant role in determining the intensity and duration of the burning sensation. Higher concentrations of capsaicin are generally associated with a more intense and longer-lasting burning sensation.
  2. Cream of Gel: Genally gels aren't absorbed as quickly into the skin, meaning they can burn for slightly longer, this can be useful if the burning sensation itself is helping ease the pain.
  3. Amount Applied: The amount of capsaicin cream applied also affects the duration of the burning sensation. Applying a larger quantity may result in a more prolonged burning sensation.
  4. Individual Sensitivity: Each person's sensitivity to capsaicin can vary. Some individuals may experience a more prolonged burning sensation compared to others, even with the same concentration and amount of capsaicin cream.
  5. Duration of Application: The duration for which capsaicin cream is left on the skin can impact the burning sensation. Longer application times may lead to a more extended duration of the burning sensation.
  6. If You've Applied It Recently: Generally speaking if you've applied capsaicin cream already in the last 2 to 3 hours, the warm sensation will be larger the second time around.
  7. How Often You Use It: As we mentioned in the intro the burning sensation is generally temporary and should gradually lessen over time with continued regular use of capsaicin cream.

Average Duration of Capsaicin Cream Burn

While the duration of the burning sensation can vary depending on individual factors we mentioned above, most users report that the burning sensation typically lasts for about 30 minutes to an hour after the application of capsaicin cream. This initial intense burning sensation is often followed by a milder, lingering sensation for a few hours.

It's important to keep in mind that the burning sensation is part of the mechanism of action of capsaicin cream and is indicative of its effectiveness in targeting pain receptors. Therefore, it's generally considered a temporary discomfort that is outweighed by the potential pain relief provided by the cream.

Extreme Side Effects of Capsaicin Cream

There have been a couple of cases where severe over applications or reactions have resulted in burns. If you notice any serious skin irritation, stop using capsaicin cream and contact a healthcare professional. [3]

How To Stop Capsaicin Cream Burning

If the burning sensation caused by capsaicin cream becomes too uncomfortable, there are several strategies you can try to manage it:

  1. Cooling: Applying a cool compress or running cool water over the affected area can help alleviate the burning sensation. Avoid using ice directly on the skin as it may cause further irritation.
  2. Topical Anesthetics: Over-the-counter topical anesthetics, such as lidocaine, can provide temporary relief from the burning sensation. Apply the anesthetic cream or gel after the capsaicin cream has been absorbed into the skin. 
  3. Menthol or Other Cooling Gels: Cooling creams or gels can help stop the burning becoming too unpleasant, and some capsaicin creams are available with them in already.
  4. Washing Hands: After applying capsaicin cream, ensure you wash your hands thoroughly with soap and water. This prevents inadvertently transferring the cream to sensitive areas like the eyes or mucous membranes.
  5. Avoid Touching Face or Sensitive Areas: Be cautious not to touch your face or sensitive areas immediately after applying capsaicin cream to prevent accidental transfer of the cream and subsequent burning sensation.
  6. Gradual Application: If you are new to capsaicin cream, start with a lower concentration and gradually increase it over time to allow your body to adjust to the burning sensation.

Capsaicin Cream Burn Time Conlcusion

The duration of the burning sensation caused by capsaicin cream varies from individual to individual and depends on factors such as concentration, amount applied, and personal sensitivity. While the burning sensation typically lasts for about 30 minutes to an hour, it may continue as a milder sensation for a few hours.


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