Physicians warn of'margarita rashes' from sun exposure as spring approaches.

After handling limes, sitting in the sun can produce photocontact dermatitis, or "margarita rash."

Dermatologists are raising awareness of a sun-related skin ailment that is less well-known as spring approaches.

Citrus juice from limes can create an itching rash or sunburn on exposed skin. Severe blisters may necessitate emergency department treatment.

Photocontact dermatitis can result from all sun-sensitive items, drugs, and plants. Sitting outside to juice limes for margaritas can cause "margarita rash".

"The right exposure to the right citrus in the right sunlight will cause this in anybody"—including all skin types, said USC Keck School of Medicine dermatology assistant professor Brandon Adler.

He said, “Many people falsely assume that only fairer-skinned people develop sun sensitivity, and that is patently false.” “Good data has emerged showing that people with darker skin tones are also susceptible.”

On Sunday, Adler will discuss it at the 2024 American Academy of Dermatology Annual Meeting.Each summer, Cleveland Clinic dermatologist Melissa Piliang treats photocontact dermatitis in two citrus fruit handlers, celery, fig tree trimmers, hogweed, and St. John's wort touchers.

Piliang said these goods include furocoumarins, which UVA rays activate in plants and fruits.Food and plants leave patterns, making photocontact dermatitis distinctive, Piliang said.

"If someone is at a barbecue making margaritas and splashes lime on their arm, they get sunburned in the lime splash pattern," says. Or they got lime on their palm, pulled off their shirt, and put their hand on their belly, leaving a large sunburn handprint.”

According to Adlers, symptoms can appear hours to days after exposure. He said some rashes go quickly, others last.

Chronic sun avoidance may not stop the rash. Adler said it can make sun sickness diagnosis difficult.Other photocontact dermatitis doesn't rash or burn. Some acquire years-long non-itchy black patches.

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