Sun Plus Certain Foods, Meds Can Bring on ‘Margarita Rashes’

Sun Plus Certain Foods, Meds Can Bring on 'Margarita Rashes'

March 11, 2024, Monday — Dermatologists say that cutting up fresh limes for a drink while sitting in the sun could be bad for some people’s skin.

People with sensitive skin can get “margarita rashes” if they eat certain fruits or veggies and then go out in the sun right after. This skin condition is called photocontact dermatitis in the medical world.

An assistant professor of dermatology at the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a board-certified dermatologist, Dr. Brandon Adler, said, “Sun sensitivity is a common condition that can make people’s quality of life worse.” He talked about it at the yearly meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology on Friday.

Atopic dermatitis can happen to some people when they handle plants like hogweed and St. John’s Wort or fruits and vegetables like lime, figs, and celery.

Adler said that medicines, whether they are eaten or put on the skin, can help some people have skin responses. A medicine cream might only give you a rash where you put it, but a pill could give you a rash that spreads all over your body after being in the sun.

Adler said that photocontact spots usually show up on the face, neck, arms, or legs because they get the most sun.

“Anti-inflammatory drugs are often prescribed to treat photocontact dermatitis, but the main treatment is to find and stay away from the irritant or allergen,” he said in a news release about the meeting. “Most of the time, these reactions can be reversed, which means that if the person stops using the substance that is causing the reaction, they will no longer have symptoms and won’t need ongoing treatment.”

People with lighter skin used to be thought to be the only ones who needed to worry about photocontact dermatitis. But new study has shown that people with darker skin are also at risk.

The truth is that people with darker skin can be more likely to get two different kinds of photosensitivity. These are polymorphous light eruption (PMLE), which makes small bumps or rashes appear and disappear when exposed to sun, and chronic actinic dermatitis, which causes rashes all year long on parts of the body that are exposed to sun because the skin is sensitive to light.

Adler said that people who are at risk of photosensitive rashes should follow the same tips that experts give people who want to avoid getting skin cancer: find shade, wear clothes that protect you from the sun, and put on a broad-spectrum, water-resistant sunscreen with an SPF of 30 or higher.

Adler said, “If you get a rash or blisters on your body after being in the sun, you should see a board-certified dermatologist. They can tell you if you have a skin disorder caused by the sun.” “Every case is different. A board-certified dermatologist can figure out why your skin is so sensitive to the sun and give you the best treatment for your situation.

Note that the statistical information in medical articles only shows broad trends and does not apply to specific people. Different things can make a big difference. When making decisions about your own health care, you should always get personalized medical advice.