JUL 27, 2017 5:46 AM PDT

Lime Disease: How Citrus Chemicals Could Give You Blisters

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

So it turns out that blistery skin rash you got after that beach vacation isn't a coincidence at all. In fact, if you've been squeezing limes into your tropical cocktails at the beach, it's could be that you have "lime disease."

Because the condition is so commonly associated with the intense beach sun and fun cocktails, it's also known as "Mexican beer dermatitis," "Margarita dermatitis," and "Club Med dermatitis." But the official name for this condition is phytophotodermatitis.

Not to be confused with the tick-borne illness Lyme disease, the citrus version is caused by chemicals found in limes, reacting to the sun's ultraviolet rays. The zest and juice in limes and lemons are rich in a chemical known as furanocourmarin. When activated by sunlight, this chemical leads to damage to DNA. As a plant's defense mechanism, it's pretty clever. But for you and your skin, the blistery rash is no fun at all. Fortunately, to avoid a rash souvenir, just make sure you wash away the offending citrus chemicals off your skin before laying out on the beach.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
JUL 27, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Bacteria More Lethal and Antibiotic Resistant in Space
JUL 27, 2020
Bacteria More Lethal and Antibiotic Resistant in Space
Research has shown that bacteria are more lethal and resistant to antibiotics when exposed to microgravity (a lack of gr ...
JUL 30, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
JUL 30, 2020
Indian Schoolgirls Discover Asteroid Moving Towards Earth
During a project sponsored by Space India and NASA, two schoolgirls aged 14 in the 10th grade discovered an asteroid nea ...
AUG 06, 2020
Plants & Animals
Swine Fever Threatens Critically Endangered Indian Hogs
AUG 06, 2020
Swine Fever Threatens Critically Endangered Indian Hogs
The Associated Press reports that the world's smallest and rarest wild pig species is undergoing its own virus lockd ...
AUG 22, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Are There More Rogue Planets than Stars?
AUG 22, 2020
Are There More Rogue Planets than Stars?
Researchers from Ohio State University have theorized that there may be more rogue planets (planets that don't orbit ...
OCT 07, 2020
Space & Astronomy
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
OCT 07, 2020
Earth-Sized Rogue Planet Found Drifting Through Our Galaxy
A team of astronomers has found a lone planet the size of Earth drifting through the Milky Way. Known as a ‘rogue ...
NOV 27, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
NOV 27, 2020
Our Chemistry Connection to Stars and the Cosmo
A common entity that connects everything from majestically looking galaxies and nebula to the enormously diversified bio ...
Loading Comments...