True story: About a month ago, I invited some friends over for margaritas, aka lemonade for grown-ups. And because I’m fancy (read: there was a sale on at the grocery store), I decided to use freshly squeezed lime juice. Over 30 limes later (and some serious hand cramping), I whipped up two pitchers' worth of mouthwatering margs. “I am the party queen,” I smugly thought to myself as I lounged outdoors with my homemade beverage. Until the next morning, when I woke up with red, blotchy hands (and um, a slight hangover).
The diagnosis? Margarita burn, also known by its more scientific name, phytophotodermatitis.
“Phytophotodermatitis is a reaction which may occur when skin has come into contact with photosensitizing compounds in plants [called furanocoumarin] and then exposed to sunlight,” Dr. David Lortscher, board-certified dermatologist and founder of Curology explains. “The reaction often looks like a sunburn; it may blister, or develop into a red, itchy patch, similar to eczema.”
But that’s not all. “When the reaction resolves, there may be dark, streaky hyperpigmentation that can last for months.” Or even longer, if you believe my friend’s mom, who happens to be a doctor and told me ominously that “the markings may never go away.” (Fortunately, they did.)