Why would a person make capsaicin cream at home rather than buying it at the store? Homemade capsaicin creams offer several advantages. Homemade creams:

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Use all-natural ingredients. Homemade capsaicin uses familiar ingredients, such as cayenne powder and coconut oil, which can be found in your pantry.

Store bought capsaicin creams typically contain 0.1% capsaicin and several inactive ingredients that both aid in the cream’s application and absorption and ensure the product can be stored at room temperature for months or years. For example, one over-the-counter capsaicin cream lists inactive ingredients including benzyl alcohol, cetyl alcohol, glyceryl stearate, isopropyl myristate, PEG-40 stearate, petrolatum, sorbitol, and water.

Watch: Video: Reduce Arthritis Inflammation with this Homemade Cream

Can be adjusted for potency. Like almost any other recipe, the recipe for homemade capsaicin cream can be adjusted to suit personal preferences. The amount of cayenne can be increased or decreased to make the batch more or less potent.

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Can be made in large quantities. A single batch of homemade capsaicin cream can be more than 18 oz. Over-the-counter products are typically sold in 1- to 2-oz tubes. Having a large quantity of capsaicin cream is preferable for people who want use it over a large area, such as the low back or a shoulder, for several days in a row.

Are less expensive. Over-the-counter products typically sell for $6 to $10 an ounce. A homemade batch will cost less than $1 an ounce.

In addition, making capsaicin cream at home is relatively easy. It takes as little as 15 or 20 minutes, plus cooling time.

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Disadvantages of Homemade Capsaicin Cream

While homemade capsaicin cream does offer advantages, there are a few drawbacks. Homemade capsaicin cream:

Can be messy. Making capsaicin cream involves oils and can be messy. Using the homemade cream can stain clothes.

Are stored in the refrigerator. Made from oils, such as olive oil and coconut oil, homemade capsaicin cream should be refrigerated. This extends the cream’s shelf life and ensures the cream maintains a soft, solid form rather than liquid form. Store-bought capsaicin cream is stored at room temperature.

Has a shorter shelf life. Because homemade capsaicin is all natural, it may not keep for several months or years like over-the-counter creams.

In addition, the relatively low cost and large batches of capsaicin cream may encourage overuse, which can lead to desensitization. People who become desensitized to capsaicin cream no longer get pain relief from it. This effect may be due to nerve tissue damage associated with long-term use of capsaicin.2,3 Desensitization can happen with both homemade and over-the-counter capsaicin cream.

References:

  1. Gibbons CH, Wang N, Freeman R. Capsaicin induces degeneration of cutaneous autonomic nerve fibers. Ann Neurol. 2010;68(6):888-98.
  2. Nolano M, Simone DA, Wendelschafer-Crabb G, Johnson T, Hazen E, Kennedy WR. Topical capsaicin in humans: parallel loss of epidermal nerve fibres and pain sensation. Pain 1999;81: 135-45.
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