With summer in full swing, there’s plenty of margaritas and other citrus-flavored foods and drinks to go around. If you’re preparing these at home, however, we’ve got a cautionary tale for you.
It turns out that in lit conditions, limes and other citrus fruits, along with mango, celery, and some other produce, can cause a skin condition known as phytophotodermatitis that’s actually pretty gnarly. All it takes is some form of sunlight or other ultraviolet light to react with oils on the skins of these plants to cause this reaction. The result is some eczema-like rash spots that itch and can last for up to three days.
Fortunately, it’s pretty easy to avoid, according to a dermatologist interviewed by Consumerist. Using gloves to avoid direct contact with the limes and other fruits, washing any skin that’s touched the produce with soap and water before light exposure, or wearing sunscreen to lower sunlight exposure are all effective methods.
If you do get burned, there’s no need to panic. Cool wet cloths and nonsteroidal, anti-inflammatory medicines or topical creams can be used to treat the rash areas. If it ends up covering more than 30% of your body though, you’d probably want to stop by the hospital.
Hopefully these tips help reduce some of the skin pain you’ll be getting throughout the summer. Regular sunburns on their own are bad enough, so it would totally suck to get some phytophotodermatitis on top of that.