Warming lubricants can provide pleasurable stimulation by creating a heating sensation on the surface of your skin. They’re a popular type of enhancement lube, and when formulated correctly, they’re an awesome way to add something new to your sex life.

You may have noticed that the heat created by warming lubricants is somewhat similar to what you’d get from handling a jalapeno or another hot pepper, and if you’ve tasted an edible lube with warming ingredients, you’ve likely noticed the same spicy quality. There’s a good reason for the similarities – many warming products contain capsaicin, which is the same substance found in peppers.

That leads to an interesting question: does your lubricant literally contain a derivative of chili peppers?

Possibly. Most lubricants use natural capsaicin, which is directly derived from the same spicy peppers you’d find in your local supermarket. There is also a synthetic version of capsaicin, and it’s structurally identical to the plant-based form of the ingredient. However, it’s significantly stronger on average than naturally derived capsaicin, and it’s more often used for deterrent products (such as pepper sprays) than as a food or medical-grade ingredient. If your lube’s ingredient list contains the word “capsaicin,” the warmth is probably coming from a real pepper. If the ingredient list has the word “capsicum” – the plant genus – it might even contain other parts of the pepper plant.

In addition to capsaicin, lubricant manufacturers use a number of other ingredients to create warming or tingling feelings. Common examples include vanillyl butyl ether, cinnamon, glycerol, and menthol; these substances provide similar sensations, but they’re generally less intense. They’re also used in many cooling lubricants, and this article provides an overview of their features.

Are Warming Lubricants Safe If They Contain Capsaicin?

Of course, you’d never want to put a jalapeno near your most sensitive areas, but lubricant manufacturers use carefully controlled amounts of the ingredient to avoid overwhelming their users. Even so, the effect will vary from one person to the next, so you should keep a few things in mind when using any warming product.

First of all, you should make sure that you’re using a product designed for sex. Massage lubricants and sexual lubricants are not always interchangeable, and some massage products use a fairly high concentration of their warming ingredients. These liquids can cause burning, itching, and pain when applied to sensitive skin, so don’t get them anywhere near your erogenous areas.

Stay safe by starting small. Capsaicin allergies are possible, but unlikely. Begin with a small amount and stop use if you see a rash or other symptoms of a reaction. You should also avoid ingesting products with capsaicin if you’re receiving treatment for high blood pressure.

Capsaicin is usually safe, but if you’re especially sensitive, you’ll want to take a careful approach. Your lube may create a strong heat on contact, which some users find uncomfortable. Start with a small amount and add more as needed. Lubricants with gentle ingredients like vanillyl butyl ether are a better option for people with sensitive skin, so if you’re not a fan of capsaicin, you’ll still have a few options to try.