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What’s a Margarita Burn? What to Know Before Outdoor Drinking

Lime and cucumber margaritas sit on a counter.

Sipping margaritas under the sun is a picture-perfect way to spend the summer. Whether you’re lounging by the pool or hosting a backyard fiesta, practically everyone enjoys the refreshing tang of this classic cocktail. But wait…have you heard of margarita burn?

Phytophotodermatitis (or “margarita burn”) is an unpleasant burn or rash that can occur when certain citrus fruits rub against the skin.

Now, you don’t need to be afraid of your delicious margarita but you do want to stay vigilant. The culprit for this rash is a compound called psoralen naturally found in citrus fruits like lime. It can trigger a painful chemical reaction against the skin that quickens and sometimes worsens when exposed to UV rays.

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To avoid “margarita burn,” be mindful of your citrus-laden hands while basking in the sun. If you’ve handled lime juice or squeezed citrus wedges, make sure to thoroughly wash your hands and avoid direct sun exposure for at least a few hours. Also, don’t rub lime against your face.

This peculiar phenomenon can quickly put a damper on your outdoor drinking experience, so before you raise your glass, consider the ingredients in your summer drink. Be careful with those lime wedges in your drink and avoid direct skin contact.

In the unfortunate event that you do fall victim to margarita burn, seek advice from your trusted dermatologist. Keep your summer safe and enjoyable by staying hydrated, avoiding excessive sun exposure, and drinking responsibly.

Abbey Ryan Abbey Ryan
Abbey Ryan is a storyteller, preferably of stories in written form. Across the 5 years of her professional writing career, her work has been featured in The Chicago Tribune, Amazon, The Medical News Today, and more. When she's not writing (which is rare), she's likely traveling, painting, or on the hunt for a good snack. Read Full Bio »
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