Squeezing lime into your beach drink could give you an ugly skin reaction

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We already knew that while drinking in the sun is a popular summer tradition — and no doubt a fun one— it can put you at serious risk for getting a horrible sunburn. The culprit? Squeezing lime into your drink under the sun.


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Not to be confused with the dreaded Lyme Disease, “Lime Disease” (officially known as Phytophotodermatitis) is a skin reaction activated when higher levels of UVA rays come into contact with a chemical mixture found in limes. So squeezing that lime into your beer on the beach could put you at risk for developing this highly-unpleasant skin reaction.

Since you’ve likely never heard of this condition, you might be thinking that it must be rare. But NYC-based dermatologist Barry Goldman says that he sees it almost every day during the summer. The trouble is that people often mistake the reaction for other look-alike skin conditions like poison ivy or sun poisoning. In addition, the symptoms of “Lime Disease” usually don’t appear ’till a couple of days after sun exposure, so people probably don’t think to associate the skin reaction that they’re experiencing with that time they drank lime Coronas on the beach a few days ago.

Symptoms of Lime Disease can be mild to severe and look pretty gross, if you ask us. They include redness, blistering, inflammation, tenderness, pain, and pigmentation most commonly affecting the legs, arms and hands. The redness and blistering usually takes two days to a week to fade, but you’ll be left with a brownish rash that could take months to go away.

To keep yourself from getting “Lime Disease” this summer, squeeze lime into your drinks before heading outside and avoid lime garnishes in your beach cocktails. It’s a small price to pay to keep from getting an ugly and painful rash.

And if that’s not enough reason to take it easy on the Corona and limes, drinking in the sun can actually increase a person’s likelihood of developing melanoma skin cancer by 73 percent compared to people who don’t drink in the sun.

This is because the ethanol in alcohol is converted to acetaldehyde when it is processed by your metabolism and scientists believe that this process could cause the growth of carcinogenesis — the beginnings of skin cancer. Pair this with hours of relatively unprotected sun exposure, and you’ve got yourself a dermatologist’s worst nightmare.

This article first appeared on Swirled