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What is Margarita Burn and How To Avoid It

Summer and margaritas go together like, well, tequila and salt. And that's what Courtney Fallon thought too when she was enjoying a long Memorial Day Weekend with her family in Florida as told to Wanting to make the perfect margaritas, she "squeezed hundreds of limes" to make a giant pitcher. In went the freshly squeezed lime juice, the ice, the tequila, and with a quick stir, the margs were brought out in festive to-go cups to enjoy poolside

The next morning, however, Courtney woke up with a pain much worse than a hangover headache. Her hands felt like they were "on fire" so she looked down and to her horror, her hands were covered in giant red blisters. It wasn't second-degree burns from laying in the sun all day but rather, Courtney was suffering from phytophotodermatitis, also known as margarita burn, a chemical reaction between uv light and citrus juice.

What is Margarita Burn?


According to MedscapePhytophotodermatitis is an inflammatory eruption resulting from contact with botanical substances then exposure to UVA rays. Simply put, it's a chemical burn from juice and oil from citrus fruits that reacts to sun exposure by blistering. 

And while phytophotodermatitis is nicknamed a margarita burn, it's totally possible to get this skin reaction from any kind of citrus fruit, celery, figs, fennel, and even parsnips. The reaction typically forms within 24 hours of exposure and can grow into a patch of painful large blisters. Once the swelling goes down the blisters turn into dark patches which can last for months. 

How To Treat Margarita Burns

Once you realize you are suffering from phytophotodermatitis, determine the severity of it. For mild burns, an over-the-counter medication like Tylenol can help alleviate the pain. If it seems your skin condition is a moderate to severe case, seek medical help. Your doctor may be able to prescribe you oral corticosteroids or antihistamines to help with the swelling. 

When the swelling subsides, avoid picking or peeling at your skin and keep it hydrated with an emollient-based cream to help prevent scarring. 

How To Prevent Margarita Burns

Thankfully, it's pretty easy to avoid these types of burns when you have the right tools. If you are planning on making a margarita, slip on some food preparation gloves beforehand to avoid getting lime juice all over your hands. And always remember to put on sunscreen before going outside.

Watch: 10 of the Best Margaritas in Texas