Lime juice combined with summer sun could lead to a ‘margarita burn’

CLEVELAND, OH - It's a little known skin condition caused by a dangerous chemical reaction, that could ruin your summer backyard barbecues.

And it's all thanks to a common ingredient in numerous summer dishes and cocktails: lime.

When singer/songwriter Adam Levy isn’t on stage, he’s at home being a dad.

He says, “I was cooking a bunch of food on a Sunday morning for about three hours."

During his preparation of authentic Mexican food for his daughter’s graduation party, one dish in particular called for limes.

"One of the last things I did is that I squeezed about a dozen limes. And I did not wash my hands after squeezing those limes," said Levy.

The next day, he noticed a rash similar to a sunburn on his hand. His skin then began to swell and blister. He was suffering from a condition called phytophotodermatitis, also known as the “margarita burn.”

Dermatologist Dr. Kord Honda with University Hospitals says the condition is more common than you might think.

Dr. Honday says, "It's simply the chemical in some plants, noticeably citrus in this case, so the peel of a lime or a lemon, it's most concentrated. The chemical actually potentates or increases the strength of the sun on our skin."

Dr. Honda says when your skin gets in contact with that chemical, then exposed to the sun, a burn can start with red, itchy skin then develop into painful blisters, not immediately, but gradually.

"Then after the blister and redness goes away, you'll get some darkening of the skin and that can last for months, even longer," said Honda.

Experts also say people of all ages and race are susceptible.

Doctors say that very same potentially dangerous chemical can be found in different plants like the fig or mulberry tree, hog weed, celery and parsnips.

Experts recommend cutting the culprit in the shade or indoors, washing hands thoroughly or even wearing gloves to avoid exposure.