Doctors call attention to 'margarita rashes' from sun exposure as spring approaches

Trending 2 months ago

With outpouring approaching, dermatologists are spreading consciousness of a lesser-known tegument information associated pinch sun exposure.

Handling definite foods for illustration limes and past going into nan sun whitethorn origin an itchy rash aliases sunburn connected areas of nan assemblage that nan citrus juice touched. In terrible cases, group whitethorn create blisters that require an emergency room visit.

The condition, photocontact dermatitis, tin beryllium caused by thing that makes tegument much delicate to nan sun — including definite skincare products, medicine aliases plants. It's sometimes called “margarita rash” because group whitethorn get it aft juicing limes for margaritas past sitting outside.

"The correct vulnerability to nan correct citrus successful nan correct sunlight will origin this successful anybody" — including each tegument types, said Dr. Brandon Adler, an adjunct professor of dermatology astatine Keck School of Medicine astatine nan University of Southern California.

“A batch of group falsely presume that it’s only fairer-skinned individuals who create sun sensitivity, and that is patently false,” he said. “There’s a bully assemblage of information that’s emerged showing that group pinch darker tegument tones are besides susceptible.”

Adler is group to talk nan taxable Sunday astatine nan American Academy of Dermatology’s 2024 Annual Meeting.

Dr. Melissa Piliang, a dermatologist astatine Cleveland Clinic, said she sees a mates of patients pinch photocontact dermatitis each summertime — astir commonly, group who handled citrus fruits, though nan information is besides associated pinch handling celery, trimming fig trees aliases rubbing plants for illustration hogweed aliases St. John’s wort.

Piliang said these items incorporate furocoumarins — chemic compounds recovered people successful immoderate plants and fruits that are activated by nan sun's long-wave ultraviolet light, aliases UVA rays.

Photocontact dermatitis tin beryllium distinguished from different tegument conditions because there's often a shape from wherever a nutrient aliases works touched nan body, Piliang said.

“If personification is astatine a barbecue, they’re making margaritas, they scatter lime connected their limb and past they’re extracurricular successful nan sun, they get sunburned successful nan shape of nan lime splash," she said. “Or, they sewage lime connected their manus and they had a garment disconnected and they put their manus connected their belly and past they person a large sunburn handprint.”

Adlers said nan reactions often show up hours to days aft an exposure. A rash whitethorn vanish quickly successful immoderate cases, but linger successful others, he said.

“Sometimes these tin beryllium very chronic conditions wherever nan rash really doesn’t ever spell away, moreover if personification is starting to debar nan sun. That tin make it very difficult successful immoderate cases for moreover nan diligent to recognize that this is simply a sun-related condition,” Adler said.

Other forms of photocontact dermatitis don't impact a pain aliases rash. For example, immoderate group create acheronian patches that aren't achy aliases itchy, but tin past years earlier going away.

The patches "often look streaky from nan juice moving down your skin," Adler said.

Other cases whitethorn beryllium allergy-related

In rarer cases, group whitethorn person an allergic shape of photocontact dermatitis — an allergy to a definite product, for illustration sunscreen, that only occurs erstwhile they're exposed to sunlight.

While this type of photocontact dermatitis is little common, Adler said his investigation suggests it whitethorn beryllium under-diagnosed. The only measurement to show if personification has it is to do a photograph spot test, which involves taping patches pinch mini amounts of an allergen to nan tegument and exposing those patches to UVA light.

Allergic forms of photocontact dermatitis are usually itchy aliases scaly and look for illustration eczema, Adler said. They typically clear up erstwhile group move to a different merchandise that doesn't incorporate nan allergen.

"This successful nary measurement implies anyone request to debar sunscreens aliases that sunscreens are dangerous," Adler said.

People tin besides get rashes aliases burns aft taking definite medications — specified arsenic communal humor unit medications — and being retired successful nan sun. In those cases, nan rash would look connected parts of nan assemblage that were exposed to nan sun’s rays.

Adler said there's apt a main constituent successful these medications that gets activated by ultraviolet light.

"Probably there’s a different system for each drug, and it’s not truthful good understood, but what we do cognize is: You extremity nan medication, nan sun sensitivity goes away," he said.

How to forestall and dainty sun-related rashes

The simplest measurement to forestall photocontact dermatitis is to lavation your hands thoroughly, Piliang said.

"If you're going to compression limes aliases make guacamole aliases make margaritas, lavation your hands afterwards pinch soap and h2o to get each that juice disconnected — possibly your forearms and elbows down," she said.

To dainty a rash aliases burn, use a cool compress aliases a mild topical steroid for illustration 1% hydrocortisone. People tin besides return an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory for illustration ibuprofen, Piliang said.

"If you person blisters, particularly blisters complete wide areas of nan body, past you should activity help. See a physician, spot a dermatologist," she said. 

But for astir people, Adler said, nan champion curen is steering clear of immoderate food, works aliases merchandise is triggering a tegument reaction.

"It's not about, 'Let's prescribe prescribe something,'" he said. "It's like, 'Let's fig retired really to debar what's causing nan problem.'"

Aria Bendix

Aria Bendix is nan breaking wellness newsman for NBC News Digital.