Citrus Sun Rash

If you slathered on the sunscreen and still got burned, then before you bump up the SPF you may want to check your beach bag for citrus.

Fruity drinks often go hand in hand with a day at the beach, but instead of feeling refreshed you could end up with a rash.

“This is one of the reactions that I call a “vacation dermatitis,” where people come back and they’ve been lounging by the pool, not realizing that the lime on their drink rubbing their hand could cause such a bad reaction while they’ve been enjoying themselves away,” said Dr. James Libecco, a Cleveland Clinic dermatologist.

The condition is called phytophotodermatitis, a reaction caused when skin comes in contact with certain plant chemicals, and then is exposed to sunlight.

“It’s something we see a few times a year. It’s certainly not the most common reaction, but it could occur to just about anybody, anywhere when they’re exposed to the right combination of light and plant products,” continued Libecco.

Limes and lemons are the most common culprits; however celery and parsley also contain the chemical.

Severe cases may require a trip to the doctor, although most cases resolve themselves with time.

Libecco warns people to “use caution. Protect yourself from the sun, wear your sunscreen and take it easy with the limes.”

The rash may look like a regular sunburn or have blisters.

If citrus is indeed the culprit, there are often visible streaks from the fruit juice.

The amount of UV exposure affects the severity of the reaction, and not everyone has the same reaction.

Some medicines, like antibiotics, can also cause sun sensitivity.

When taking a new drug, check with your pharmacist to make sure you will not have a reaction.


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