Technique: Working With Hot Peppers
Chili peppers contain a strong oil that can burn eyes and skin. Fresh red peppers are 2-3 times spicier than green fruit, and dried peppers are up to 10 times spicier than fresh ones.
Avoid handling the peppers excessively and wear gloves, if possible. Exercise precaution not to touch your face or eyes during preparation. With the really hot varieties, wear an eye mask and a face mask to avoid coming in contact with the fumes.
Another method is to rub your hands with oil (olive, canola, vegetable, etc.) before preparing hot chili peppers. This will protect your hands from the burning chili oil and aid in washing off all residue when you're done.