Although you might not know capsaicin by name, you certainly know its effects. Capsaicin is what puts the hot in hot chili peppers. But that’s not all, capsaicin also has a variety of medicinal properties and can be used topically to relieve a wide variety of aches and pains.
Capsaicin products include creams, lotions, patches, sprays, and, most recently, infused fabrics. Our HealthWear® compression sleeves deliver pain-reliving capsaicin directly into your skin, soothing pain at the source.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about capsaicin, its pain-relieving benefits, and the types of capsaicin products available on the market today.
What is capsaicin?
Capsaicin is the spicy component found in the fruits of the flowering plants belonging to the Capsicum genus.
Besides its ability to spice up a variety of global cuisines, capsaicin has been used for over a century due to its pain-relieving properties. The first known medicinal use of capsaicin as an analgesic (pain reliever) was for toothache, but it has since been used in a wide variety of topical applications.
What are the health benefits of capsaicin products?
Capsaicin products belong to a category of products known as analgesics which are used to help relieve pain for a variety of ailments, including but not limited to¹:
- Joint conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis (RA) and osteoarthritis
- Muscle strains and sprains
- Soreness or achiness from exercise or other physical activity
How do capsaicin products relieve pain?
Capsaicin works by blocking pain messages to your nerves, desensitizing you to pain.
Previously, it was believed that capsaicin products helped relieve pain by reducing Substance P, a neurotransmitter that causes you to feel of pain. However, more recent research has indicated that a method of action dubbed the ‘defunctionalization’ of pain receptors is a more likely culprit due to a number of factors. The reduction of Substance P is now viewed as a consequence of this defunctionalization, not the primary mechanism by which pain is reduced.2
What types of capsaicin products are available?
Capsaicin products are applied topically, either in the form of creams, patches, or infused fabrics.
When applied topically, capsaicin creams, lotions, and gels offer temporary pain relief for a few hours maximum. To receive continuous pain relief from these capsaicin products, users must apply them multiple times throughout the day. Like any treatment or product that requires frequent reapplication, research shows that users tend to under-utilize capsaicin creams and therefore do not experience round-the-clock pain relief.
Prescription capsaicin patches deliver a more concentrated and longer-lasting dose of capsaicin in the form of a patch that adheres to the skin.
Capsaicin patches are used for to treat medical conditions affecting the nerves, and typically require a physician to prescribe and administer them due to a higher dosage of capsaicin.
Capsaicin patches are applied to affected areas for 30-60 minutes in a clinical environment (such as a pain management physician’s office) and can offer pain relief for weeks or months before wearing off.
Finally, capsaicin-infused fabrics, such as Nufabrx HealthWear® compression sleeves, are a new way to safely and effectively deliver the pain-relieving benefits of capsaicin directly into the skin without the need for messy creams, sprays, or prescriptions.
Nufabrx’s line of capsaicin products are designed to offer relief from a variety of aches and pains.
A safe dose of capsaicin is continually delivered into your skin for as long as you wear the sleeve. Like with other capsaicin products such as creams or patches, some users might feel either a warm or cool sensation as the capsaicin is activated.
But unlike capsaicin creams, lotions, or gels, which wear off within a few hours, Nufabrx compression sleeves continually deliver the pain-relieving benefits of capsaicin while you wear them.
Unlike capsaicin patches, you don’t need to visit a doctor and get a prescription for capsaicin-infused compression sleeves. You can shop Nufabrx’s online store today and start reaping the pain-relieving benefits as soon as your sleeves arrive!
- Arora V, Campbell JN, Chung MK. Fight fire with fire: Neurobiology of capsaicin-induced analgesia for chronic pain. Pharmacol Ther. 2021 Apr;220:107743. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2020.107743. Epub 2020 Nov 10. PMID: 33181192; PMCID: PMC7969397.
- Anand P, Bley K. Topical capsaicin for pain management: therapeutic potential and mechanisms of action of the new high-concentration capsaicin 8% patch. Br J Anaesth. 2011 Oct;107(4):490-502. doi: 10.1093/bja/aer260. Epub 2011 Aug 17. PMID: 21852280; PMCID: PMC3169333.