Red or irritated skin after drinking something citrusy outdoors? Here’s what you need to know about ‘daisy dermatitis’

Jimmy Buffet sang it best on his timeless bop, “Margaritaville”: But there is booze in the blender, and soon it will produce that frozen concoction that helps me hang on.. There’s something about summer that cries out for a frozen drink with a lemon wedge on this side. But if you’re spending the day in the sun with that frozen bunch (or even a virgin version), keep in mind that dermatologists want you to know an important word: phytophotodermatitis.

This mouthful of a word obviously wouldn’t fit into a Buffet song, but dermatologist Snehal Amin, MD, says it’s still a term worth mentioning when the UV index is high. “Phytophotodermatitis occurs when light causes a reaction in the skin,” says Dr. Amin. “The prefix ‘phyto-‘ means plant, so a phytoPhotodermatitis is a rash caused by a combination of a plant and sunlight. The most common example of this is dermatitis daisy. Yes, you read that right: “daisy dermatitis”.

Now, let’s be clear. You’re not going to get margarita dermatitis from drinking a margarita. Citrus has to come into contact with your skin to cause any kind of reaction, so you’re much more likely to get this skin irritation if you’re serving friends and end up accidentally spraying lime juice on your arm or hands . and it is not single A daisy problem: You can also experience phytophotodermatitis when other plants (such as celery, other citrus fruits, figs, grass, certain weeds, and bergamot oil) touch your skin and then come into contact with UV rays.

“It’s a reaction that can occur as a result of the interaction of furocoumarins, which can be present in certain plants and commonly in citrus, and UV exposure,” says Marisa Garshick, MD, FAAD, a board-certified dermatologist. meeting. “It often appears as a linear or irregular looking patch that may appear red or brown and may be associated with blisters. While it may initially appear red within the first 24 hours after exposure, it can lead to hyperpigmentation that may go unnoticed for days or weeks after initial exposure.”

According to Dr. Garshick, beach days aren’t the only summer fun that can lead to phytophotodermatitis. People who love spending time outdoors, such as runners or hikers, tend to be exposed to both plants and the sun and are therefore more susceptible to this skin irritation. Additionally, people whose careers expose them to plants and/or UV rays (such as chefs, farmworkers, or bartenders) will also need to be a little more vigilant than, say, someone who only drinks margaritas outdoors occasionally.

Generally speaking, everyone can prevent dermatitis by washing the citrus splattered area with soap and water before going outside. But if you want to be extra Cautious, esthetician Kerry Benjamin, founder of StackedSkincare, recommends avoiding foods containing furocoumarin altogether. “Stay away from citrus and plants that can cause this. For example, I never sit on the grass. I know my skin will have an immediate reaction because I am allergic to grass and it causes phytophotodermatitis on my skin,” says Benjamin. Over time, you may become more attuned to the reactions of the plant and the sun that make your own skin unhappy, and you can make sun-safe decisions from there.

However, as Dr. Garshick mentioned, daisy dermatitis is usually benign and should clear up on its own within a few weeks. That said, if you are concerned about your case of daisy dermatitis, you can always consult your dermatologist. Now, back to Margaritaville.

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