Sipping a margarita poolside sounds like a pretty prime way to spend your summer days—the worst that could happen is a hangover and some tan lines, right? Think again. It turns out that when citrus hits your skin and is exposed to sun, you could be in for a seriously scary chemical reaction.


Photo by Sam Cicatello

If the lime juice found in margaritas and other fruity cocktails gets on your skin and you go out for a little fun in the sun, the result can be a brutal chemical burn, otherwise known as phytophotodermatitis. It’s like a sunburn, but you don’t get the bronze glow. Instead, you end up with blistering, hyperpigmentation, and brown scarring that can last for a couple of months.

This chemical reaction is caused by contact between oil or dander of some fruits and plants and UV rays. Common culprits include lime, oranges, celery, parsley and lemon, which include substances or chemicals that make skin super sensitive to sunlight.

It keeps getting bigger 🙁 #lime + #sun = #chemicalburn

A photo posted by lordyoseph (@lordyoseph) on Feb 25, 2013 at 12:54pm PST

The best way to avoid this sunburn from hell is to take preventative measures. After handling any type of citrus, like when you’re muddling limes for your mojito, be sure to wash any skin that came into contact with fruit juice with soap and water. Even if you’re indoors, stay away from windows when playing bartender because UV light can still penetrate through the glass.

So while you’re soaking up all the sun you can this summer, be sure to keep your skin far, far away from your fruity drinks, or just stick to drinks without citrus.