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What Is Phytophotodermatitis?

The Scary Connection Between Summer Cocktails and Serious Skin Damage

As exciting and relaxing as Summer weather can be, everyone has to take precautions to make sure they can celebrate the season safely. We all slick on sunscreen in the name of preventing skin cancer and sun damage and spritz on bug spray to stave off mosquitoes. But are you rinsing your hands after preparing your favorite cocktail?

It sounds weird, but leaving the lime juice on your skin after prepping margaritas can put you at risk for a serious, painful ailment called phytophotodermatitis, also known as "lime disease."

Limes and other fruits and veggies (including figs, lemons, carrots, and parsnips) contain photosensitizing compounds, which, when exposed to sunlight, cause a chemical reaction that makes skin hypersensitive to UV rays. The result is typically hyperpigmentation but can even cause burns and oozing blisters. To add insult to injury, the wound can take up to several months to fully heal.

If you're suffering from phytophotodermatitis, it is strongly advised that you consult with a dermatologist for your best treatment method. But don't let the fear of this concern prevent you from enjoying a boozy brunch out on a patio this season! Just be sure that if your skin comes in contact with any of the above foods, you fully cleanse the area (and apply SPF!) before sitting back in the Summer sun.

Image Source: POPSUGAR Photography / Mark Popovich
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