We at LEMONĀDE want to awaken that little voice inside your head – that inner feeling or voice acting as a guide to the rightness or wrongness of your behavior – but, for healthy choices in your life. This one comes from Alexandra, dealing with an all-too-familiar summertime tradition…

Alexandra here with a friendly PSA because I’m sure your summer will be as booze-soaked as mine. Ignore at your own peril — you could get burned.

That little lime sitting atop your tequila shot isn’t as innocent as it looks.
Let’s rewind to the beginning of the year…

Keep the lime in the coconut, and keep the lime away from your coconuts // Photo by Gaelle Marcel

I was in Tulum for a friend’s wedding week. Sun, sand, tequila shots…you know the drill. It was all fun and games until two days after I got home and awoke to dark, red stains on my thigh.

Did I sit in red wine last night? Am I allergic to something? Did I catch a parasite? Do I have Zika??

Twenty seconds later, I was out of bed, Web MD-ing/scrambling to scrub off the “stain”. Deep down, I knew wasn’t wine and it wasn’t going to come off.

The Skin or No-Skin Doctor is IN // Photo by Samuel Zeller

After a few days, no conclusive answer, and no improvement, I went to the dermatologist. She took one look at my leg, laughed, and told me the five, angry streaks down my leg represented each one of my fingers. Phytophotodermatitis, the proper term for my “ailment,” (AKA margarita or “lime” disease) is a skin reaction that most often occurs when the sun is extra strong and the drinks are served or chased with a lime wedge. Apparently, I wiped the juice on my thigh, sensitizing my skin to the sun.

Be warned: phytophotodermatitis is not exclusive to limes; all citrus and some other plants and vegetables bear the same properties.

Long story short, the hyperpigmentation I “noticed” is usually an after effect of a blistering burn. Some people suffer second degree burns and land themselves in the hospital while on their trip. I have Mediterranean blood and a light olive complexion, which protected me from blistering, but I was informed that my skin tone in particular is notorious for the dreaded pigmentation it leaves behind. Consider yourself warned. While it’s faded a lot from its original state, there’s still a light handprint affixed to my thigh, five months later. If you, too, are a victim of phytophotodermatitis, the doctor reassured me most hyperpigmentation fades within a few months to a year. I’ve been slathering it with rosehip oil which I’m convinced is helping.

Don’t rub citrus on any part of you. For real. // Photo by Sanah Suvarna

The moral of the story? Don’t juice citrus outside, don’t squeeze your garnish and proceed to rub it on your body, and don’t take body shots. The doctor told me she’s seen some super embarrassing marks pop up post Spring Break. If you do come in contact with citrus, just wash it off, and you’re good to go.

It’s really that simple. Cheers!