Elizabeth Entenman
June 05, 2016 11:54 am
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The official first day of summer is just around the corner, but we’ve already been enjoying the warm weather for a while now. Summer is synonymous with laying in the sun, hitting the beach, and eating and drinking on patios. But before you whip up another batch of margaritas, you NEED to educate yourself on the harms of mixing lime juice and the sun on your skin.

Phytophotodermatitis, aka margarita sunburn, is a reaction that happens when oil or dander from certain plants gets on your skin, and then gets exposed to UV light. It creates a chemical burn wherever the oil or dander touched you, and can leave behind a hyperpigmentation that can take weeks — or even months — to fade.

Some reactions are mild, with just some redness.

But depending on the length of exposure, you can also experience swelling and blisters.

How does phytophotodermatitis happen? According to Dr. Dawn Davis, a dermatologist at the Mayo Clinic, the effect can happen to anybody of any skin type or color. “Anyone who gets a relative amount of oil or liquid from the plant on their skin and then gets an adequate amount of UV light will get the reaction,” she told BuzzFeed Life.

If you plan on making margaritas, drinking Coronas, or eating lime-flavored popsicles outside this summer, be careful, and remember to wash any areas of contact thoroughly whenever you’re exposed. Soap, water, the whole nine yards. Because you don’t want to spend the entire summer with redness, burning and swelling. In addition, you should always be careful about sun exposure anyway, so remember to wear lots of sunscreen.

If your hands get in contact with lime juice, be mindful of what else you touch. Even a small brush on your thigh can leave a lasting impression.

And if you spill your drink, then, well, just be sure to wash up all over. Because you certainly don’t want to leave a mark shaped like this.

If after all of that it still happens to you, it’s not the end of the world. Dr. Davis recommends applying a 1% hydrocortisone cream two or three times a day. If things are really bad, visit your doctor to get something stronger. Your skin may be red for a while, but it’ll return to normal eventually. Still, it’s not a fun way to spend the summer.

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