Self defense substances

What does pepper spray do to the attacker?

February 11, 2019September 6, 2019

Pepper sprays continue to be one of the best way to defend yourself. If you are on your way to buy pepper spray, one of the most common question you may ask is: “What does pepper spray do?” Well… in this post, I will answer this question in detail, let’s get started.

Pepper sprays work by inflaming the mucous membrane present in the eyes, throat, lungs, and nose. If you target it correctly, you can cause temporary blindness to the attacker, who would instantly close his/her eyes.

What does pepper spray do?

It also causes breathing problems for a while, however, the effects are only temporary. The exact time may vary according to the strength of the formula. Now, lets take a closer look at the most common pepper spray effects.

What does pepper spray do?

Teary eyes

Have you ever eaten a chili pepper before and then started to get teary eyed shortly after? You can thank the capsicum oleoresin ingredient for causing this to happen. This ingredient is basically an inflammatory agent which causes the mucous membranes to get inflamed. These membranes are in the most sensitive areas of your face and neck, such as the eyes, lungs, nose, and throat.

Now just imagine what it’s like to have chili pepper juice shot into your eyes. Person who gets shot in the eyes with pepper spray will experience an intense stinging sensation in their eyes.

It will be so bad that they won’t even be able to keep their eyes open. As a result of their temporary blindness, they won’t be able to cause any further trouble to the people around them.

Burning skin

Stinging and teary eyes are not the only effect of pepper spray. Even though you’re supposed to aim for the eyes, the misty nature of the pepper spray will likely cause the recipient’s entire facial skin to feel burned as well.

Difficult breathing

The person will experience a lot of difficulties breathing as well. This is due to the inflamed mucous membranes in the throat that are blocking oxygen from getting to the lungs.

It is kind of like how someone gets congested when they get a cold or flu. All that buildup in their throat causes breathing problems because of the abundance of mucous in the way of the oxygen. That is what it’s like to be pepper sprayed. The only difference is the pepper spray causes this effect a lot faster than a cold does.


Once the stinging eyes and breathing problems occur, the person will develop a severe coughing spell. The inflammation of the mucous membranes in the throat will cause you to cough while trying to take in oxygen.

Therefore, the person will be suffering from stinging eyes, breathing problems, and coughing. These effects will generally last anywhere from half an hour to two hours.

Questions people also ask:

What is pepper spray made of?

Pepper spray contains an organic resin ingredient called capsicum oleoresin. It comes from the fruit of Capsicum genus plants, the most widely used fruit for this ingredient is chili peppers.

Can you get permanent damage from pepper spray?

However, all of these effects are temporary. They can only last up to an hour if you don’t treat it promptly. Various studies have been done to gauge the danger of using pepper sprays. It has been found that most such products are safe and non-toxic.

They don’t cause any permanent damage. However, if one experiences repeated exposure to the product, it might cause sensitivity in the cornea.

Pepper sprays, even if they don’t cause any permanent damage, are not toys. They are tools to defend oneself and should only be used as such.

Can you go blind from pepper spray?

A lot of people wonder whether pepper spray can cause permeant blindness to people.

While it gives people time to escape a threatening situation, there has been evidence that suggests that pepper spray, if used repeatedly, can lead to considerable harm. Hence, you should be careful around it. Don’t spray it on people, unless it is a threatening situation.

Pepper spray may not cause blindness. But, it does affect your cornea. Most of the effects mentioned, whether it be blindness or coughing, is temporary. After a few minutes, you gain your sight back.

However, there have been studies that suggest that people who already have impaired corneal integrity can get eye damage from pepper spray. This is because the product disrupts the cornea’s epithelial layer. However, there is no evidence to suggest that people with good eye health can go blind due to a few exposures with pepper spray. Anothe effect may be burning skin.

How long can pepper spray last?

Have you ever wondered how long the effects of pepper spray last? This is important information to know because it’ll give you an idea of how long your attacker will be incapacitated for after you spray them with it. Each symptom lasts for a different amount of time.

When pepper spray lands on the recipient’s skin, they will experience a burning sensation in that area of their skin for up to 60 minutes.

As for the temporary blindness, this occurs almost immediately after you spray their eyes with the pepper spray solution. Besides temporary blindness, their eyes will sting and burn as well.

All these eye symptoms generally go away after about 20 to 30 minutes. The reason why the eye symptoms go away faster than the skin symptoms is that the eyes generate tears to remove the resin oils. This is kind of like the defense mechanism of the eyes after they encounter airborne contaminants.

They may have trouble breathing for up to 15 minutes

In serious pepper spray incidents, the recipient may experience uncontrollable upper body spasms as a result of being sprayed. These spasms will cause them to bend forward while coughing profusely.

Overall, the effects of pepper spray last between 15 and 60 minutes. This should be more than enough time to flee a raging attacker and go seek help.

Most victims only need a few minutes to escape anyway. You just need to make sure that you spray the attacker in their eyes and face. Also, try not to get the spray in your own face because then you’ll be incapacitated too. This will make it kind of difficult to get away from the attacker if you cannot see where you’re going either.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *