Combination of limes, sun can result in ‘margarita dermatitis’

LimeAdding a slice of lime to a favorite summer drink is nice to cool off with, but it could leave your skin burning, say dermatologists at Baylor College of Medicine.

The condition, called phytophotodermatitis, happens when a certain plant compound comes in contact with the skin, making that one area light sensitive. During the summer, lime juice is the common cause for this condition, which is why some doctors call it ‘margarita dermatitis.’

The reaction usually looks like a sunburn, or a poison ivy rash, with redness and sometimes swelling and blistering, says Dr. Rajani Katta, associate professor of dermatology at BCM. It can be itchy and painful, and leave behind skin discoloration.

Treatment is similar to treating a poison ivy rash. Cool compresses and hydrocortisone creams along with oral antihistamines are used. Severe cases could require steroid pills.

Preventative action is best. Be aware of what plant products you come in contact with and wash the area thoroughly before going out in the sun. As always, make sure to apply sunscreen and stay in shaded areas to maintain good skin health.

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