Blog Nutrition Cayenne Pepper Benefits For Skin: Is This The Answer For Glowy Skin?

Cayenne Pepper Benefits For Skin: Is This The Answer For Glowy Skin?

If you are a lover of spicy foods, especially cuisines from South East countries like India and Thailand as well as the Caribbean, South American or even Nigerian food, then you have undoubtedly come across cayenne pepper. This spice is used not only for its flavor, but also for the gorgeous red color it lends to food. However, aside from these two factors, have you ever considered what its health benefits might be? This red hot pepper has been used both in cuisines and for medicinal purposes for many centuries and has many more possible advantages for our bodies, hair and skin than we realize. Read on to find out the history and nutrition of this spice, cayenne pepper benefits for skin, whether or not it can help you with weight loss and much more.


Cayenne Pepper: A Brief History

Scientifically known as Capsicum frutescens, this is a spice very well known for its bright red color as well as pungent smell and taste. This small fruited pepper is part of the nightshade family (Solanaceae) and is a member of the genus Capsicum.

A study published in the RSC Advances journal in 2018 stated that this genus is one of the most popular plants consumed and cultivated worldwide, containing approximately 50,000 varieties of pepper and 30 spices. Alongside cayenne pepper, some of the most consumed peppers under this genus include tabasco peppers, habanero, scotch bonnets, bell peppers, african and mexican peppers, pimentos, bell peppers, bird peppers and many more.

This plant is said to be native to the American tropics – the Caribbean Islands, parts of southern USA and northern South America – and is also cultivated throughout the world in tropic and subtropic climate zones.

The flavor as well as the medicinal properties of this spice come from the chemical capsaicin which is responsible for the heat in all peppers (7, 21, 6).

Is Cayenne Pepper Good For You?

Yes, cayenne pepper is good for you. But why is cayenne pepper good for you? The answer lies in its nutritional properties. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration one teaspoon of this spice (about 1.8 grams) has the following (18)

  • Calories – 5.72 kcal
  • Carbs – 1.02 g
  • Protein – 0.216 g
  • Fats – 0.311 g
  • Sugars – 0.185 g
  • Calcium – 2.66 mg
  • Magnesium – 2.74 mg
  • Phosphorus – 5.27 mg
  • Phosphorus – 5.72 mg
  • Potassium – 36.2 mg
  • Vitamin C – 1.38 mg
  • Folate – 1.91 µg
  • Vitamin A – 37.4 µg
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The spice also has traces of numerous other minerals like iron, selenium, Vitamin K, copper, zinc, manganese, and vitamin B6. Any food rich in nutrients is very likely rich in antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. This spice is also said to have antiseptic, diuretic, analgesic, expectorant, and diaphoretic properties (6).

Read More: 21 Chili Pepper Benefits For Health And Weight Loss

cayenne pepper benefits for skin

What Are The Health Benefits Of Cayenne Pepper?

If you are still not convinced that you should add this spice to your cooking, here are some science backed potential benefits of this spice.

May Support Immunity

The potential for cayenne pepper to support your immune system y lies in the fact that this spice is stocked with numerous nutrients. Some of these nutrients include vitamin C, vitamin E, beta carotene, choline, lutein and zeaxanthin, as well as cryptoxanthin, which is a source of vitamin A.

Several studies have shown that the above antioxidant nutrients help improve your immunity

  • An older review published in 1999 in the Proceedings of the Nutrition Society stated that consuming antioxidants through the diet not only reduces the risk of cancer but also increases your immunity.

Reviewers suggested that  having an adequate intake of antioxidant nutrients from an early age could be essential in order to help prevent the development of, or at least delay the onset of, several degenerative disorders (13).

  • Another earlier review published in the Journal of Dairy Science in 1993 stated that not only does antioxidant supplementation significantly improve certain immune responses in older adults, but also the specific supplementation with vitamins C, E, and A or beta-carotene increases the activation of cells involved in tumor immunity. Vitamin A was also shown to decrease morbidity and mortality associated with measles infections in children (15).
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Aside from these older studies, more recent studies have shown that vitamins C and A are involved in immune and health aspects such as growth and development, bone health, collagen production, reproduction, vision, iron absorption, and neurotransmitter synthesis, etc. (24, 16, 25)

cayenne pepper benefits for skin

A Natural Source Of Capsaicin

As mentioned above, capsaicin is the compound responsible for the heat in peppers. However, this is not all what this chemical compound is good for. When added to creams for topical use, this compound can help relieve minor pain in muscles and joints caused by arthritis, backaches, muscle strains, bruises, cramps, and sprains.

A review published in the Journal of Palliative Medicine also showed that topical use of this chemical compound is effective in relieving neuropathic pains caused by a number of conditions (23).

Capsaicin is also a good remedy for some illnesses. A study published in the Frontiers in Microbiology journal revealed that cayenne pepper could help fight the bacteria Streptococcus (due to the presence of capsaicin). Streptococcus causes strep throat (3).

In 2016, the Current Allergy and Asthma Reports published a review where researchers had found that capsaicin is effective in battling rhinitis and could relieve symptoms such as sneezing, a stuffy nose, postnasal drip, and congestion when allergies or smoking are not the cause (4).

These findings were confirmed in another study published in 2021 where after 12 weeks of intranasal capsaicin use, study participants noticed an improvement in nasal reactivity and nasal congestion (12).

Reduced Mortality

If you’d like to live longer, add some chillies and cayenne to your diet.

  • A study published in 2017 stated that compounds found in chilis such as capsaicin may help reduce inflammation and oxidative damage, which could help protect against chronic illnesses (19).
  • In 2019, another study found that chili, which is a big part of the traditional Mediterranean diet, could be among the things that contribute to the lower risk of total and cardiovascular disease (CVD) deaths, independent of CVD risk factors in Italian adults (8).
  • In 2021, a review published in the Annals of Medicine and Surgery stated that chili pepper consumption was associated with a reduced risk of death from all causes – not just cardiovascular related deaths (14).
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cayenne pepper benefits for skin

Weight Loss

Does cayenne pepper help you lose weight? In a way, yes, it does.

In a study published in 2012, researchers found that  consuming 1 gram (g) of cayenne pepper in a meal lead to two interesting results (20)

  • It increased core body temperature slightly and increased energy expenditure
  • Lead to a decreased desire to eat fatty, sweet, or salty foods after consuming capsaicin, but only in people who don’t typically eat a lot of spicy foods

For your body temperature to go up by one degree celsius, your metabolic rate is said to have to increase by 10 to 13 percent, which would lead to an increase in caloric expenditure of 200 to 260 Kcal/day (in a 2000 kcal/day) (11). On the other hand, the decreased intake of fatty, sweet, or salty foods means you are consuming less sodium, added sugars and trans fats, all factors that are essential for weight loss.

Another study published in 2018 showed that study participants who consumed a 4-mg dosage of capsaicin a day for 12 weeks lost 6 percent more fat than those who took a placebo (5).

What Are Some Benefits Of Cayenne Pepper For Skin?

The topic of skincare has consistently trended for the last three years or so as people have gotten better education on how proper nutrition as well as the right ingredients and products could help manage or even get rid of rough or acne riddled skin.

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Could cayenne pepper help with bad skin? Maybe it could.

  • Dietary Antioxidants

As mentioned above, this spice is rich with dietary antioxidants such as vitamins A, C and E and traces of minerals such as copper, zinc or selenium. According to a 2012 study published in the Dermato-Endocrinology journals, the trick to maintaining youthful appearing skin may be to maintain a balanced diet full of fruit and vegetables which are rich in antioxidants that are normally present in the skin (10).

An article by the Oregon State University stated that some of the most important nutrients for skin health include Vitamin A, C, D and E, minerals like zinc and selenium, essential fatty acids, as well as flavonoids (17).

  • Collagen Production

Collagen is a protein that serves as one of the main building blocks for your bones, skin, hair, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. It plays a huge role in the strengthening, elasticity and hydration of your skin which helps with the smoothing and youthful look of skin.

While cayenne pepper doesn’t have collagen, it has nutrients like zinc and especially vitamin C which play a role in the body’s production of collagen (9).

Read More: The Top 3 Versatile Delicious Stuffed Pepper With Egg Recipes

cayenne pepper benefits for skin


What Are The Benefits Of Cayenne Pepper And Lemon?

If you were to look up benefits of cayenne pepper and lemon you are very likely to see multiple articles and videos promising unbelievable detoxifying and weight loss results from simply starting your day with a glass of water and cayenne.

This is as unrealistic as it sounds. While lemon and cayenne do have incredible health benefits, they will not lead to miraculous weight loss just because you start your day with them.

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The only realistic lemon and cayenne pepper powder benefits you are likely to see include

  1. Increased water intake – But only if you really enjoy the taste of cayenne. The spice is quite pungent and while this works fantastic when added in food, with just water and some lemon juice it might be too much.
  2. Increased immunity overtime – Both this spice and lemon are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants which will help increase your immunity.
  3. Better digestion – Drinking water before eating is a great way to improve your digestion. Cleveland Clinic also states that this spice increases gastric juices and enzyme production in the stomach, which helps us break down food. Too much can cause irritation to the gastrointestinal tract, though.

What Are Some Potential Benefits Of Cayenne Pepper For Hair And Skin?

The potential cayenne pepper benefits for skin are listed above, but how does this spice help with your hair?

  • May (or may not) boost hair growth – In one study done on both humans and lab mice with alopecia, researchers found that the administration of both this chemical compound and isoflavone promotes hair growth (1). However, another study published in 2005 suggested that capsaicin can trigger the valladolid receptors in hair follicles which may suppress hair growth (2).
  • May help with hair loss – Cayenne peppers have nutrients such as vitamins A, C, and E, and folate. These nutrients are known to combat hair loss (22).

The Bottom Line

Cayenne pepper benefits for skin, hair and overall health show that this simple spice does more for our bodies than simply adding some heat and kick to meals. If you have been skipping it, we suggest you start adding it to more of your meals. If you do not have a good tolerance to spice and spicy foods in general, start with a pinch and work your way up from there.



This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!


  1. Administration of capsaicin and isoflavone promotes hair growth by increasing insulin-like growth factor-I production in mice and in humans with alopecia (2007,
  2. A Hot New Twist to Hair Biology (2005,
  3. Antimicrobial and Anti-Virulence Activity of Capsaicin Against Erythromycin-Resistant, Cell-Invasive Group A Streptococci (2015,
  4. Capsaicin for Rhinitis (2016,
  5. Capsaicinoids supplementation decreases percent body fat and fat mass: adjustment using covariates in a post hoc analysis (2018,
  6. Cayenne (2018,
  7. cayenne pepper (n.d.,
  8. Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality in Italian Adults (2019,
  9. Collagen (2021,
  10. Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging (2012,
  11. Do the Obese Have Lower Body Temperatures? A New Look at a Forgotten Variable in Energy Balance (2009,
  12. Double-blinded randomized prospective trial of intranasal capsaicin treatment for nonallergic rhinitis (2021,
  13. Effects of dietary antioxidants on the immune function of middle-aged adults (1999,
  14. Meta-analysis evaluating the impact of chili-pepper intake on all-cause and cardiovascular mortality: A systematic review (2021,
  15. Physiological role of antioxidants in the immune system (1993,
  16. Role of Vitamin A in the Immune System (2018,
  17. Skin Health (2011,
  18. Spices, pepper, red or cayenne (2019,
  19. The Association of Hot Red Chili Pepper Consumption and Mortality: A Large Population-Based Cohort Study (2017,
  20. The effects of hedonically acceptable red pepper doses on thermogenesis and appetite (2012,
  21. The genus Capsicum: a phytochemical review of bioactive secondary metabolites (2018,
  22. The Role of Vitamins and Minerals in Hair Loss: A Review (2019,
  23. Topical Capsaicin for Neuropathic Pain #255 (2012,
  24. Vitamin A (2022,
  25. Vitamin C (Ascorbic Acid) (2022,
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