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How long does it take for One Chip Challenge to wear off?

The One Chip Challenge involves eating a single tortilla chip made by Paqui Chips that is seasoned with Carolina Reaper and Scorpion peppers, two of the hottest peppers in the world. This ultra-spicy chip is meant to be an intense challenge for thrill seeking spice lovers. After eating the chip, most people experience an immediate fiery sensation in their mouth that then spreads through the body, causing sweating, flushed skin, nausea, stomach cramps, and more. The extreme heat from the One Chip Challenge doesn’t disappear right away. For most people, the painful effects tend to peak around 15-30 minutes after eating the chip, then gradually fade over the next few hours. However, some unlucky souls report still feeling the burn 24 hours or more later. Read on to learn more about how long you can expect the One Chip Challenge to affect your body.Peak Intensity: 15-30 Minutes

The One Chip Challenge contains capsaicin, the chemical compound in hot peppers that provides their trademark heat and pain. Capsaicin tricks the pain receptors in your mouth and throat into thinking they are literally on fire. This generates an intense burning sensation that begins as soon as the chip touches your tongue and immediately triggers your body’s reaction to damage and heat.

Most people who attempt the One Chip Challenge report that the worst, most intense sensations occur in the 15-30 minutes after first eating the chip. This is when the capsaicin has had enough time to thoroughly coat the mouth and fully activate the pain nerves, but before the nervous system starts adapting to the constant trigger and numbing the pain response. During this peak agony phase, it’s common to experience extreme burning in the mouth, uncontrollable coughing or choking, nausea, dizziness, facial flushing, sweating, runny nose, watery eyes, and more. The chip’s spice level is so beyond normal food that some have described it as pure chemical burn rather than a natural heat.

1-2 Hours: Still Intense

While the One Chip Challenge may peak within half an hour, the misery is far from over after just 30 minutes. Most people find the burning sensation remains very strong and painful for at least 1-2 hours after eating the chip.

During this time, you can expect continued intense fire in the mouth, throat, and possibly stomach. The capsaicin spreads and irritates any tissue it touches, so you may feel like your whole mouth is raw and scraped. It is also common to experience headache, sweating, nausea, diarrhea, cramps, lightheadedness, and more as your body reacts to the scorching irritation. Some unprepared challengers have reported symptoms so severe during this phase that they needed to call emergency services or were hospitalized.

Around the 1-2 hour mark, the pain may finally start to gradually subside. However, you likely won’t find much relief until 3 hours or more after the initial bite.

3-5 Hours Later: Starting to Fade

For most One Chip Challenge participants, the first hints of pain relief come 3-5 hours after eating the tortilla chip from hell. At this point, the nerves are growing less sensitive to the constant trigger of capsaicin. The burning sensation starts transitioning from searing agony to a more moderate, but still unpleasant, lingering tingle. Any associated effects like cramping, nausea, or sweating may also start improving.

However, the challenge can still pack a punch in this timeframe. The capsaicin remains active on the mouth tissues, continuing to cause moderate irritation. In addition, as the chip ingredients move through the digestive tract, they can reignite waves of heat, cramps, and diarrhea when they hit susceptible areas again.

By the 5 hour mark, most challengers report they are finally starting to feel semi-human again, though likely still dealing with a painful mouth and upset stomach. The worst is over, but it’ll take more time yet for full relief.

8+ Hours Later: Mostly Back to Normal

After about 8 hours or more, the One Chip Challenge’s effects should mostly have run their course. The overwhelming majority of capsaicin will have worked its way out of the mouth, while tissues grow increasingly desensitized. Any digestive effects should also settle down.

At this point, you’ll probably feel more or less back to normal, though likely drained from dealing with so much prolonged pain. The most lingering symptom may be a raw, sore feeling in the mouth or throat, since these delicate tissues took the brunt of the damage. It can take up to a couple days for the mouth and throat to fully heal after such intense irritation. Some also report feeling extra sensitive to spice for a few days as the pain nerves recover.

A very unlucky few complain the One Chip Challenge causes symptoms like headache or digestive upset lasting 24 hours or more. However, most challengers don’t have to wait longer than 8-12 hours for the experience to completely fade.

Factors That Influence Duration

While the above timeline represents what most people experience with the One Chip Challenge, the length and intensity can vary quite a bit based on the individual. Some of the factors that play a role include:

Spice Tolerance

People who frequently eat extremely spicy foods often report shorter and milder One Chip Challenge experiences, while newbies find it unbearable. That’s because regular exposure to capsaicin can make nerve receptors less reactive over time. Those with an existing tolerance have an advantage.


Studies suggest that genetics may impact individual sensitivity to capsaicin. A gene associated with increased receptor activity may predispose some to more intense, prolonged One Chip Challenge effects. More research on human differences is needed.


Staying well hydrated can help dilute and flush the capsaicin out faster, reducing duration. Drinking milk is ideal, since casein proteins bind capsaicin. Water helps too. Alcohol, which exacerbates irritation, makes it worse.

Stomach Contents

Eating a large, heavy meal before the challenge gives prolonged fuel for the fire. Taking it on an empty stomach can speed exit from the body.


Anti-inflammatories like ibuprofen may provide some relief. Antacids help if you experience heartburn or stomach pain. Medications that increase capsaicin absorption or irritation could worsen effects.

Mouth and Throat Health

If you already have mouth sores, allergies, or illness before taking the challenge, the irritation may linger longer. Protective tissues are compromised.

Tips to Shorten Duration

While there’s no magic cure to instantly end the One Chip Challenge, you can take some steps to try to shorten the duration or reduce the misery:

Coat Mouth with Oil First

Swish around olive oil or coconut oil to help block capsaicin from binding to mouth tissues as severely.

Chase Immediately with Milk

Casein in milk binds capsaicin to wash it away faster. Cold temperature also helps numb.

Suck on Ice

Ice cold water slows capsaicin diffusion and provides numbness, while hydrating tissues.

Pop Anti-Inflammatories

Ibuprofen or other NSAIDs can reduce inflammatory pain reactions to the irritant.

Take Antacids for Stomach Pain

Antacids like Tums or Pepto can soothe heartburn and stomach irritation.

Rinse with Baking Soda and Water

A baking soda and water solution neutralizes acids and washes away capsaicin.

Avoid Drinking Alcohol

Alcohol worsens irritation, bleeding, and inflammation. It will make symptoms last longer.

When to Seek Medical Help

While extremely unpleasant, the One Chip Challenge is survivable for most healthy adults. However, in rare cases, severely adverse reactions can occur. Seek emergency medical care if you experience concerning symptoms such as:

– Difficulty breathing
– Swelling of the throat, lips or tongue
– Prolonged, severe vomiting
– Chest pain
– Irregular heart rate
– Confusion, clumsiness or fainting
– Multiple days of persistent stomach pain or diarrhea

For most challengers, the One Chip Challenge becomes tolerable within 8-12 hours and runs its course without medical intervention. But don’t dismiss serious symptoms, as you never know how your body will react to the extreme irritation. Play it safe and go to an emergency room or call 911 if you have potentially life-threatening effects.


Brave souls who take on the One Chip Challenge are in for several hours of intense burning misery, with the worst effects usually peaking 15-30 minutes after eating the chip. For most, the pain reaches nearly unbearable levels for 1-2 hours before starting to slowly improve. It takes around 3-5 hours for the fire to die down to more manageable levels, though throat and mouth soreness may persist. Within 8-12 hours, the challenge’s effects should fully subside for the majority of participants. However, severe reactions can sometimes land unfortunate challengers in the emergency room. Factors like spice tolerance, genetics, stomach contents, and more can influence how long someone suffers from the One Chip Challenge’s wrath. Those who are gluttons for punishment can take some steps like drinking milk and sucking ice to try to shorten the duration of the agony. But in the end, the best way to recover fastest is usually just to grin and bear the slow burn.