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Pepper spray

pepper spray

Pepper spray.

The anti-aggression spray or pepper spray has now become a widespread tool for self-defense.

In our cities the need or perception of security is becoming increasingly evident and this is how many have chosen pepper spray to defend themselves from potential aggression, theft, rape.

Not only against thieves and criminals but sometimes, unfortunately, it is also necessary to defend yourself from aggression by animals (as in the case that you are running or you are cycling in the countryside to train) and there are also anti-aggression sprays designed precisely for this unfortunate eventuality and that do not create permanent damage to animals.

It is not only women who use the pepper spray but also men as well as law enforcement, security personnel in shops, supermarkets.

Today the pepper spray is a tool that many people carry with them every day in their bags, cars, etc. to feel safer in case of perception of danger.

In most countries of the world the anti-aggression pepper spray is considered legal by law, but not in all as in Belgium and Hong Kong where it is considered an illegal tool, because it is seen as a means of torture.

You can find it in different formats, disposable cans, in gun format with reload or as the Key Defender.


Pepper spray: effects, treatment and complications

Pepper spray is an aerosol spray that contains an inflammatory compound called capsaicin.

It causes burning, pain and tears when it comes into contact with a person’s eyes.

The pepper spray has the active ingredient of capsaicin, which is found precisely in the fruits of the chili pepper, from which the irritant is extracted that is treated until it becomes a kind of solvent then transformed into a spray.

Pepper sprays are commercially available for personal protection against attackers in online stores, armories, hardware stores, specialty stores.

Law enforcement agencies in some countries such as the United States use pepper spray during policing, crowd control, and to suppress protests and demonstrations.

The use of pepper spray in some contexts remains controversial as it happens although in a different way for the use of the taser.

Pepper spray

What is pepper spray?

Pepper spray is a tearer, which means it stimulates the eyes to produce tears, many tears to the point of not being able to see.

It usually comes in an aerosol format or in sprays.

The main component of pepper spray is an oil known as capsium oleoresine.

This oil comes from plants of the genus Capsicum which also includes chili pepper and that is why the name pepper has a more common sound than Capiscum.

The active ingredient of the pepper spray is capsaicin, the same chemical that adds the characteristic heat to chili peppers.

Pepper spray contains much higher concentrations of capsaicin than chili peppers.

Capsic oil also forms the basis of the animal spray, an aerosol designed to protect humans who encounter aggressive animals.

Pepper spray has a very high score on the Scoville (SHU) heat unit scale, which measures the “heat” of peppers.

On the Scoville scale:

  • a pepper size 0 SHU
  • a jalapeño pepper marks about 2,500-5,000 SHU
  • Pepper spray that law enforcement agencies use measures between 500,000 and 2 million SHU, with some brands measuring 5.3 million SHU not legal in some countries for civilians but usable by law enforcement.

The capsaicin concentration of most pepper sprays used by law enforcement is 5-10%.

A higher concentration produces longer-lasting effects.

The use of pepper spray is controversial, particularly when members of law enforcement units in some countries use it against civilian protesters.

The Chemical Weapons Convention prohibits the use of riot control measures such as pepper spray and tear gas in war, but law enforcement agencies use pepper spray and tear gas to disperse crowds and suppress protests.

Civilians can buy pepper spray in specialty stores, online stores, or armory stores, although some states limit sales but are easy to find.

Pepper spray

The physical effects of pepper spray

When pepper spray comes into contact with a person’s eyes, it causes:

  • immediate closing of the eyes,
  • acute pain in the eyes and
  • temporary blindness.

Some people describe a feeling of gurgling or boiling and a strong discomfort, disorientation.

Pepper spray can also have the following effects:

  • dry cough or wheezing
  • shortness of breath or inability to breathe properly
  • burning in the throat
  • chest pain
  • gag
  • a dripping nose
  • panting for air
  • Panic
  • an inability to speak
  • dizziness
  • loss of consciousness
  • rashes, blisters or burns in contact with the skin

People report eyeball scratches or corneal abrasions, in about 10% of cases.

Such scratches are temporary and can result from a person rubbing his eyes.

Although painful, the symptoms are self-limiting in most cases.

They tend to resolve on their own within 30 minutes and usually do not require medical attention.

Coughing or shortness of breath may persist, especially in people with lung disorders. People with conditions such as asthma or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) may experience more severe respiratory effects.

In rare cases, pepper spray can cause cyanosis, a bluish disting of the skin that indicates a lack of blood flow and oxygen.



Complications are rare, but severe exposure can lead to more serious injuries to the eyes, skin, and respiratory tract.

The Police Policy Studies Council recommends taking an exposed person to the hospital if their symptoms persist for more than 45 minutes or if the person requests it.

The group recommends calling emergency services if someone shows signs of distress after exposure to pepper spray, such as:

  • a loss of consciousness
  • difficulty breathing
  • chest pain

Death is rare, but several reports have implicated pepper spray in fatal outcomes in people with asthma.

In general, pepper spray is not lethal and cannot cause permanent or even temporary injuries,but you must be aware of the effects that it can cause in a person who is affected.

Are you?

Being affected by pepper spray involves a strong irritation concentrated at eye level, which presents with abundant tearing and the need to keep your eyes closed.

The face is also affected by irritation.

In some cases of allergy it could lead to respiratory problems that generally resolve anyway without consequences.

Treatment of the infected part with pepper spray.

What should you do immediately after a person sprays pepper spray in your face?

Consider that it is something that can happen for several reasons, such as someone who used it inappropriately, used it badly yourself, was robbed in this way, etc.

Follow these steps! Pepper Spray Antidote and First Aid.

The first thing you should do is to reach a well-ventilated area with fresh air.

Loosen or remove all clothing around your neck, chest or waist that may limit breathing.

If you are wearing contact lenses, remove them.

Wash your face and hair with running water and non-abrasive soap for at least 15 minutes, but do not rub your eyes, as this can increase exposure to pepper spray.

You may feel burning and burning for up to an hour, so be patient but if the pain is unbearable and lasts more than an hour, you have ingested pepper spray or have difficulty breathing, consult a doctor.

Wash all the clothing you were wearing when you came into contact with pepper spray.

Pepper spray

There is no immediate cure for exposure to pepper spray, but often people can reduce the duration and intensity of symptoms:

  • moving to an area with fresh air, if possible
  • rinse the affected area with plenty of water to wash off contaminants
  • avoiding using soap around the eyes as it is irritating
  • remove clothing that may have come into contact with the spray to decontaminate and prevent recontamination.
  • avoiding touching the affected area, as it is easy to spread the oil-based solution to other areas of the body
  • blink quickly to help find the chemical

Popular strategies to remove pepper spray include baby shampoo, milk, ancids and lidocaine.

However, a 2008 study comparing these strategies found no evidence that they were more effective than water.

Even a 2018 randomized controlled trial reported no difference between baby shampoo and water alone in relieving the effects of tear gas and pepper spray.

Rescuers can use wipes and salt solutions to alleviate the symptoms of exposure to pepper spray.

A saline solution called diphoterin is an effective emergency treatment for various chemicals in contact with the eyes or skin, although research has not shown that it effectively removes pepper spray.

In most cases, the symptoms of pepper spray resolve within 10-30 minutes and do not require medical attention.


Can pepper spray be lethal?

Pepper spray is known as a “non-lethal weapon” or a weapon that cannot kill people.

Although death is rare, reports have linked several deaths with the use of pepper spray especially if there are people who suffer from asthma, have particular allergies or are under the influence of drugs.

The causes of death can also be caused by a positional asphyxiation by blocking the aggressor combined with the fact of being under the effect of a strong inhaled dose of pepper spray.

“Inhaling pepper spray alone does not pose a significant risk of respiratory impairment or asphyxiation, although combined with containment of the position can block breathing.”

This is to be taken into account especially if you are part of the police or if you block the aggressor waiting for the arrival of the security forces authorized to arrest the subject.

Pepper spray

Difference between pepper spray for civilian use and that for law enforcement.

The pepper spray as it is now clear even for the history of use is excellent for your self-defense and is a product now legalized in various countries.

In America it is widely used by the Police who use it instead of the baton, now it does not have the same effects as a nice blow of a baton on the neck, but the purpose is to keep criminals at bay.

Now back to the question of whether there is any difference between the spray that citizens use and the one used by law enforcement?

Absolutely yes,more than one and not really of the slightest importance.

While the spray you can buy cannot contain more than 10% chili extract, the one used by the Police contains a high percentage of this substance, capable of creating much more problems and stopping ability than the person receiving the jet.

In fact, between the first and the second, there is a big difference of Scoville.

Anti Aggression Sprays can also exceed 5 million Scoville but Legal Pepper Sprays are up to 2 million Scoville.

Are you wondering what Scolville is? It is the unit of measurement that determines the strength of the chili pepper. If the one normally used by us reaches a power of 2 million,the one used by policemen et simili a has a power of over 5 million units.

A big difference that certainly proves to be risky for those who, rightly or unjustly, suffer the attack of such a powerful dose.

In America, in fact, the use of this weapon by the Police has been repeatedly contested, precisely because of the effects that such a strong substance can bring to the affected person.

When pepper spray hits a person’s face, it temporarily blinds him and causes severe pain and discomfort.

This allows the police to subdue and arrest people, disperse protesters and suppress demonstrations or in the case of a civilian to flee and report the incident.

The use of pepper spray by the police remains controversial.

The latter could run into much more serious problems such as:

  • temporary blindness
  • severe breathing problems
  • collapse
  • possibility of cardio-circulatory arrest
  • death

All problems that are not brought by the normal use of chili products and that worry a large part of the population.

Surely the spray is auseful weapon of defense,there is no doubt about this, but is it really the case to use such a strong product, perhaps even in the face of small crimes such as peaceful demonstrations or small raids?

Pepper Spray Home Made, You can’t do it at home

Online on the web and on YouTube there are several tutorials to make pepper spray at home but I do not recommend it for several reasons, practical and legal.
There are people who think that, since chili pepper is a natural vegetable substance, it is possible and convenient to make an anti-aggression pepper spray yourself in your own home.
Unless you are a professional chemist and with the right equipment, being able to make a real spray of this type with the quantities in accordance with the law is highly unlikely.

Pepper Spray Home Made, you can’t do it at home!

Another essential point, to be legal a pepper aggression spray must strictly comply with certain parameters.
It is much easier given the price to buy it certified also because if there was the case of use on an allergic aggressor, in case of process you still used an approved product and not homemade.


Pepper spray is a chemical that law enforcement and civilians can legally use for defense and take to the street that is something important.

It can be dangerous and its use is controversial, especially in some contexts such as when in some states you see officers using it against civilian protesters.

The fact that it is easy to find and that it is legal to transport it also means that attackers and criminals can also use it to help themselves carry out their crimes.

Stay Tuned!

Street Fight Mentality

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Written by Andrea

Con una passione per la difesa personale e gli sport da combattimento, mi distinguo come praticante e fervente cultore e ricercatore sulle metodologie di allenamento e strategie di combattimento.

La mia esperienza abbraccia un vasto panorama di discipline: dal dinamismo del Boxing alla precisione del Muay Thai, dalla tecnica del Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu all'energia del Grappling, dal Combat Submission Wrestling (CSW) all'intensità del Mixed Martial Arts (MMA).

Non solo insegno, ma vivo la filosofia di queste arti, affinando costantemente metodi e programmi di allenamento che trascendono il convenzionale.

La mia essenza si riflette nell'autodifesa: Filipino Martial Arts (FMA), Dirty Boxing, Silat, l'efficacia del Jeet Kune Do & Kali, l'arte della scherma con coltelli e bastoni, e la tattica delle armi da fuoco.

Incarno la filosofia "Street Fight Mentality", un approccio senza fronzoli, diretto e strategico, unito a un "State Of Love And Trust" che bilancia l'intensità con la serenità.

Oltre al tatami, la mia curiosità e competenza si spingono verso orizzonti diversi: un blogger professionista con la penna sempre pronta, un bassista dal groove inconfondibile e un artigiano del coltello, dove ogni lama è un racconto di tradizione e innovazione. Questa sinfonia di abilità non solo definisce la mia identità professionale, ma dipinge il ritratto di un individuo che nella diversità trova la sua unica e inconfondibile voce e visione.

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