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Margarita Burn What It Is & How To Avoid It

Trendy Young People Drinking Tropical Cocktails at Boat Party

“3. burn, baby, margarita burn
Avoid phytophotodermatitis, aka margarita burn, aka what happens when you gallantly make lots of gin and tonics on a sailboat, inadvertently squeeze citric acid on your skin, and spend the day in the sun, inviting a low-grade chemical burn. You can skip this very specific seasonal hazard by always washing your hands after playing beach bartender.”

~Marnie Hanel, Summer: A Cookbook: Inspired Recipes for Lazy Days and Magical Nights

Beauty Editor’s Note

At the time that I am writing this, we’ve celebrated two major holidays that are indicative to summer in the states, Memorial Day and 4th of July.  Our holidays are heavily centered around celebrating with food and drinks. Recently on  my local news there was a report about a particular burn that you need to be aware of. So, before you have your next lemonade or margarita out in the sun read this post! Stay safe and have a great summer! ~Dana

What is Margarita burn or lime burn?

A Margarita with a lime garnish is sitting on a wooden mat on the beach.

This type of burn is called Phytophotodermatitis. It is a type of dermatitis derived from plants like poison ivy which causes a skin rash. Phytophotodermatitis is caused by a skin reaction to natural chemicals that are found in plants and fruits that are very sensitive to sunlight/ultraviolet light when it spreads on the skin. These sensitizing chemicals are found in citrus fruits such as lemons, limes, potentially oranges, and celery. Even parsley may cause issues.

“A lime or margarita burn is a skin reaction called Phytophotodermatitis”

~Dr. Sammer Jaber, a board-certified dermatologist at Washington Square Dermatology in New York

What happens?

The chemicals that are in these fruits and vegetables hit the skin and being exposed to ultraviolet light from the sun may lead to a rash that shows up hours later. It also can lead to blisters and swelling. Sometimes it can lead to second degree burns. The pain that is accompanied by this burn has been described by some as 10 times more painful than a sunburn.

How do you know if it’s Margarita burn?

One dermatologist said it can be confused with other rashes such as shingles and poison ivy. According to Good Morning America, the numbers aren’t clear how common this rash is but it is believed to be under-reported. The burns can lead to discoloration for a period of time.

Final words

The purpose of this post was to make you more cognitively aware. It is not intended to treat or diagnose, rather merely for information purposes. Always seek out medical professionals for additional support.

The key is to make sure you wash your hands and skin that the juices have come in contact with with soap and water. If you’re using these fruits and vegetables and the juice gets on any part of your skin use caution when going in the sun. Most cases tend to be mild; however, do not hesitate to seek medical attention if you experience swelling and blistering. Even if you’re not sure it doesn’t hurt to consult a doctor.

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By Dana Hinnant, Beauty Editor

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Author Bio

A headshot of Dana wearing a black scoop neck top under a black jacket. She has glowng caramel colored skin and short dark hair.
Dana Hinnant

Dana Hinnant, a Washingtonian native, whose journey into the beauty industry began 20 years ago after receiving her B.A. in Hearing and Speech Sciences from the University of Maryland in 2000. She received her aesthetics training at Von Lee International School of Esthetics in Baltimore, MD.

Dana started as a local makeup artist and events coordinator with Alluring Looks, Inc. in the Washington DC metropolitan area. Her articles were featured in local publications such as Pose Magazine and Yndigo newsletter. In the mid-2000s, she was a volunteer instructor with the American Cancer Society’s Look Good…Feel Better program, which landed her an esthetician position at an area day spa. 

Over the past several years, Dana has worked with various non-profit organizations and small businesses. During her tenure as the President of the Health and Wellness division of the National Federation of the Blind DC affiliate, she utilized the platform to provide salon safety tips and skincare advice throughout the community. She was a consultant with the Ecumenical Health Council in Port Towns, MD doing beauty and wellness presentations at area churches and events.

In 2019, Dana received the Maryland Association of Community Service Award for Volunteer of the Year due to her community engagement work for The Arc of Prince George’s County. In addition, she also received the Volunteer of the Year award for 2020 from The Arc of Maryland. She is a member and an ambassador with the Professional Beauty Association. Dana is one of the co-owners of Capitol Collective Consulting LLC which launched in April 2021.

Image Descriptions

  • Trendy young people drinking tropical cocktails at boat party.
  • A Margarita with a lime garnish is sitting on a wooden mat on the beach.
  • Author bio photo is a headshot of Dana wearing a black scoop neck top under a black jacket. She has glowing caramel colored skin and short dark hair.


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