Capsicum – Medicinal lotions and creams that contain capsicum extract are likely safe for most adults when applied to the skin. The active chemical in capsicum, capsaicin, is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as an over-the-counter product. That is, it can be sold without a prescription.
Side effects can include skin irritation, burning, and itching. Capsicum can also be extremely irritating to the eyes, nose, and throat. Do not use capsicum on sensitive skin or around the eyes.
Capsicum extract is likely safe for most adults when taken by mouth, short-term and in amounts typically found in food. Side effects can include stomach irritation and upset, sweating, flushing, and runny nose. It is possibly unsafe to take capsicum by mouth in large doses or for long periods of time. In rare cases, this can lead to more serious side effects like liver or kidney damage.
Capsicum extract is possibly safe when used in the nose. No serious side effects have been reported, but application in the nose can be very painful. Nasal application can cause burning pain, sneezing, watery eyes, and runny nose. These side effects tend to decrease and go away after 5 or more days of repeated use.
Special Precautions & Warnings:
Pregnancy and breast-feeding: Capsicum is likely safe when applied to the skin during pregnancy. But not enough is known about its safety when taken by mouth. Stay on the safe side and do not use capsicum if you are pregnant.
If you are breast-feeding, using capsicum on your skin is likely safe. But it is possibly unsafe for your baby if you take capsicum by mouth. Skin problems (dermatitis) have been reported in breast-fed infants when mothers eat foods heavily spiced with capsicum peppers.
Children: Applying capsicum to the skin of children under two years of age is possibly unsafe. Not enough is known about the safety of giving capsicum to children by mouth. Do not do it.
Damaged or broken skin: Do not use capsicum on damaged or broken skin.
Surgery: Capsicum might increase bleeding during and after surgery. Stop using capsicum at least 2 weeks prior to a scheduled surgery.