A quick reminder to anyone planning a BBQ or garden party this summer: Be careful with the lime juice for your cocktails.
It’s easy to forget that lime juice can cause extreme burns when skin is exposed to the sun.
So it’s crucial that in the midst of slicing up limes and making drinks, you properly wash your hands and load them up with suncream before heading outside to join the fun.
Learn from Courtney Fallon, a woman who squeezed ‘hundreds of limes’ to make margaritas for a family event and ended up with blistering burns all over her hands.
Courtney was in Florida for Memorial Day weekend and had made plenty of cocktails for all her guests. Once she was done, she spent the rest of the day by the pool.
The next morning she woke up with incredibly painful blisters covering her hands.
Prevention reports that Courtney’s hands felt like they were on fire, which doesn’t sound fun.
The burns happened because of a condition called phytophotodermatitis, which happens when chemicals from plants cause the skin to become sore and inflamed when exposed to sunlight.
Phyto means plant, photo means sunlight, and dermatitis means inflammation skin.
It often happens with lime juice, and often in the summer time – so much so that some doctors know it as margarita burn. But it can also be caused by carrots, celery, figs, and dill.
To get super science-y, phytodermatitis happens due to exposure to furocoumarins, a type of chemical found on the surface of plants that is used for the process of photosynthesis. If your skin comes in contact with furocoumarins and they’re activated by sunlight, a reaction can happen.
The symptoms vary based on the cycle of the reaction, and will usually go away on their own, but they can cause a lot of pain. Sufferers will experience blisters across the skin, sensitivity, and itching.
After the blisters heal, the person might see dark pigmentation in their place.
You’re more at risk if you have generally sensitive skin, but there are easy ways to prevent phytophotodermatitis from occurring.
You’re more likely to experience a reaction if you’re touching plants at midday, when the sun is highest in the sky, you’re cooking or bartending, or you’re spending a lot of time outdoors.
After handling plants and vegetables, it’s wise to give your hands a good wash and then load up on sun screen before heading outside. You could also wear gloves when handling plants if you know your skin can be sensitive.
Applying a cool flannel to the skin can help to soothe the pain of the blisters, and topical ointments should be applied to keep the area clean and hydrated.
Just be cautious when you sign up to lime-squeezing duty, okay?
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