What Are Citrus Burns?

When life hands you lemons, don’t squeeze them outdoors – oh, and watch what type of drink you spill on yourself…

Did you recently get a burn after drinking a citrus drink or coming in contact with a citrus juice while outdoors? This is referred to a citrus burn or a margarita burn, but what are citrus burns and why do they happen?

According to J. Mark Jackson, board-certified dermatologist with Forefront Dermatology, “Citrus burns are chemical burns that occur when a citrus juice reacts to sunlight on your skin, a condition called phytophotodermatitis. Limes are the most common culprit, but it can also be caused by carrots, parsnips, parsley, celery, dill, lemons and oranges. The burn commonly appears a cross between a sunburn and a rash and can leave you quite concerned as it may cover a large area, depending how much juice came in contact with your skin.”

Symptoms don’t appear until a few days after exposure, making phytophotodermatitis a very sneaky condition. “Symptoms can range from mild redness to blisters and second-degree burns, depending on how long you’re in the sun and how much of the juice gets on your skin,” added Dr. Jackson. “After the inflammation starts to reside, it commonly leaves behind a brown itchy patch. While the patch will disappear with time, a dermatologist may prescribe a hydroquinone to help lighten it.”

To prevent a citrus burn, immediately wash off residue with soap and water after a spill occurs.

Get Checked.
Regardless of whether you have noticed an odd or changing mole, a yearly skin examination is always recommended as a preventative measure to skin cancer. The skin health experts at Forefront Dermatology are ready to see you for a simple, 10 minute skin cancer screening. Find a dermatologist near you.