How do you wash off capsaicin cream? (+1 ways)

In this article, we will discuss how you can remove capsaicin cream from the site of application. Topical capsaicin creams are applied on the surface of the skin and rubbed appropriately for complete absorption. The excess cream is wiped off.

How do you wash off capsaicin cream?

Capsaicin cream may be washed off with soap or rubbed off with oily compounds. The oily compounds may include vegetable oil, petroleum jelly and polyethylene glycol. However, simply using water will not remove capsaicin from the skin (1).

Also, vinegar and topical antacid suspension preparations are ineffective. If capsaicin cream goes into your eyes, immediately flush your eyes with plenty of water. If capsaicin cream gets on your face, scalp, or private parts, wash the area with warm soapy water (1).

Capsaicin cream is used to reduce neuropathic pain and pain associated with arthritis, psoriasis, and diabetic neuropathy. If you do not remove capsaicin cream on time or use an excess of the cream, it may cause side effects such as burning and irritation.

You should consult your doctor if you experience such side effects. Always use the prescribed dose of capsaicin cream as defined by your doctor. If you have a skin allergy to any of the ingredients used to wash off capsaicin cream, inform your doctor beforehand.

What factors influence the topical removal of capsaicin cream?

Several factors may hinder the removal of capsaicin cream from the skin surface. Always follow the instructions given by your healthcare provider about the proper use and removal of capsaicin cream.

Broken or injured skin

You should never apply capsaicin cream on broken or injured skin. It should also be avoided on burned, scraped, or sunburned skin. Aside from excessive pain and burning sensation, you will also find it difficult to rub and wash the injured area.

Bandage or wrap

Never put a tight bandage at the application site after applying capsaicin cream. Doing so will increase the chances of side effects including itching, stinging, and burning sensation. It will be difficult to wash off capsaicin cream from the bandaged area.

How long should capsaicin cream be left on the skin?

Capsaicin cream is available at a dose strength of 0.025%, 0.05%, and 0.1%. Capsaicin cream is usually left on the skin till you feel ‘heat’ coming out of your skin. Once you experience such a condition, the excess of cream is promptly removed.

The duration of capsaicin cream application and treatment is empiric; it is based on observation and response. When you first start using capsaicin cream, you will experience an immense burning sensation. The intensity of heat varies among individuals.

However, the skin will begin to desensitize after repetitive applications. Once capsaicin is removed, the neurons begin to recover (2). The usual adult dosing of capsaicin cream is as follows (3):

Condition Dosing frequency
Arthritic pain Apply a thin film of capsaicin cream 3-4 times a day.
Musculoskeletal pain Apply a thin film of capsaicin cream 3-4 times a day

Apply cream 6 times a day for 3 days.

On the 4th day, apply cream 4 times a day.

What are the side effects of prolonged application of capsaicin cream?

You should only apply a thin film of capsaicin cream on the affected area and wipe off the excess cream. Prolonged application of capsaicin cream may cause side effects at the application site, including (4):

  • Itching and irritation,
  • Redness and soreness,
  • Dryness,
  • Stinging and extreme burning sensation,
  • Pain, and
  • Erthymia.

Although systemic events due to prolonged use of capsaicin cream are rare, inhalation of capsaicin cream may cause respiratory irritation (5). Your doctor will wear rubber gloves and a face mask before applying capsaicin cream. You should also adopt such practices.

What to do if capsaicin cream irritates your skin?

If capsaicin cream irritates your skin more than usual, immediately wash it with soap and water. Get medical attention and talk to your doctor. Do not cover the affected area with a bandage or hot compress as it may intensify the burning sensation.

Your doctor may discontinue the use of capsaicin cream for some time or instruct you to apply pea-size cream on your skin and rub it completely. In case of severe irritation, your doctor may prescribe amitriptyline cream instead of capsaicin cream (6).

Avoid excessive heat or activities that make you sweat profusely as it may increase the irritation and burning sensation. Although irritation goes away in several days, sometimes it may persist for 2-4 weeks.

The usual dose of capsaicin cream varies among the individuals. You should always follow your doctor’s guidelines about the proper use of capsaicin cream. Always wash your hands after applying capsaicin cream.

However, if you are using capsaicin for arthritic pain in your hand, do not wash your hand for the next 30 minutes after application. If you are not comfortable using capsaicin cream, your doctor may prescribe diclofenac (Voltaren gel or Aleve arthritis gel) for arthritic pain.

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