Remember that hilarious Corona commercial where a woman gives her boyfriend a blistering rash because he checks out another girl at the beach? Probably not, since the commercial only shows her squirting him with a lime. What it doesn’t show is what’s going to happen to his skin 24 hours later. If you’ve read about margarita burn then you know its effects will be far-reaching and far from funny.
You may not have seen the graphic images on social media yet, but just one look at #limeburn will have you thinking twice before lugging a cooler of Coronas to the sand. Not only is this dangerous skin condition itchy and painful, but it’s more common than you think. You’re probably better off sipping one of our 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss. Below, we break down exactly what's going on when your beach brew goes sour.
What Exactly Is Lime Burn?
Phytophotodermatitis, also known as lime burn, is a skin condition that occurs when you mix citrus juices with sunshine. It looks like a sunburn at first and itches like one too, but it’s actually a chemical burn that can range from mild to second degree. Thanks to the phototoxic substances in limes and the ultraviolet radiation in sunlight, the longer you handle limes or stay in the sun, the more severe your burns will be.
Since it only affects areas that have been in direct contact with the lime juice, lime burn can appear as drips or streaks. These marks usually blister at the condition’s peak, between 48 and 72 hours after sun exposure. But even when those go away, they’re replaced by brown pigment that can take weeks or even months to fade. And it’s not just limes; other citrus fruits like lemons, oranges, and grapefruits, plus celery and some wildflowers can cause this painful and unsightly burn.
What You Can Do About It
Coronas and lime slices are about as common on the beach as rainbow umbrellas but proceed with caution. Just because everyone else is doing it, doesn’t mean you should too. Phytophotodermatitis is intensified by heat, sweating, and wet skin, which means a day in the sand puts you at greater risk for a severe burn. Protect yourself by applying sunscreen before sun exposure, washing your hands after dealing with limes, or ditching the lime-topped beer altogether.
Prevention methods aside, you may still find yourself sporting a painful lime burn this summer. What then? Mild redness and swelling can be treated at home with hydrocortisone cream a couple times a day, but more severe reactions with lots of blistering may require a trip to the doctors for a cream that’s prescription-strength. Note that a case of phytophotodermatitis can progress from mild to severe over its course, so keep an eye on your symptoms.
Drink This, Not That!
Enjoy a Corona—but at least make sure you’re enjoying a Corona Light so you aren’t risking your diet as well as your skin. With only 99 calories and 5 grams of carbs in a 12-ounce bottle, this light option is much better than a Corona Extra of the same size, which has 148 calories and 14 grams of carbs. You wouldn’t want to add your beer choice to the 30 Worst Vacation Habits For Your Waistline, especially if it’s already putting your skin in danger.