What You Should Know About Pepper Spray

Pepper spray is a self-defense tool that is common around the world. Pepper spray is made with oleoresin capsicum (OC), a natural oil that is common to many varieties of hot peppers. Capsaicin is an odorless, flavorless, and colorless chemical compound that is found in hot peppers that is responsible for their spiciness. Although it is used in pepper spray, in topical pain relief creams such as “Icy Hot,” and in dietary supplements as a digestive aid, capsaicin is extremely potent.

When used in pepper spray, oleoresin capsicum causes a burning sensation causes the eyes, nose, and mouth to feel like they are burning. OC will cause the eyes to swell shut and the throat to swell, inducing temporary blindness for 15 to 30 minutes, coughing, and difficulty breathing for up to 15 minutes.

Pepper spray is extremely common as a self-defense tool and among police officers because it is portable, concealable, and easy to use. Many pepper sprays come in small aerosol cans that can easily fit in a pocket or purse. Some peppery sprays are even disguised as lipstick tubes, perfume bottles, or even hand weights. Pepper spray is also easy to use: dispensers are usually engaged with a small button or trigger and include a safety mechanism to avoid accidental engagement.

Except in extreme cases, pepper spray does not have lasting effects, making it safer than other types of chemical defenses, guns, and stun guns.

Pepper sprays are usually available in several varieties. Stream peppery spray is the most common, releasing a narrow stream of liquid when fired. The advantage of stream pepper spray is that it is the most concentrated—not diffused by a fog or mist—but the disadvantage is that it is difficult to aim.

Pepper sprays come in mist and fog varieties. Both types can cover a larger area when engaged, making it easier to attack a target’s face. Fog pepper spray can usually attack a broader range than mist pepper spray.

Gel and foam pepper spray are particularly powerful because their contents, when released, cover an attackers face. When the attacker attempts to wipe the formula away, he ends up doing more damage by grinding the capsaicin into his eyes.

Pepper spray is also available in a variety of strengths, measured in Scoville heat units (SHU). Most pepper sprays will be rated between 500,000 and 5,000,000 SHU.

Safety Girl is proud to carry the most respected brands of pepper spray, mist, fog, gel, and foam in a variety of strengths. Safety Girl’s pepper sprays are available in compact, concealable containers that are easy to engage and safe to carry. Be sure to check out Safety Girl’s incredibly disguised lipstick, perfume, and hand weight pepper sprays as well!

“Capsaicin,” Mayo Clinic. http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/drug-information/DR600303.
“How Pepper Spray Works,” How Stuff Works. http://home.howstuffworks.com/home-improvement/household-safety/security/pepper-spray.htm

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