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What is a Margarita burn?

I must admit, I had to look this term up. As it turns out, Margarita burn is very, very real, and it can be extremely painful.

Margarita burn occurs when you juice lots of limes for Margs — because everyone knows the best Margaritas are made with fresh lime juice — and the juice and oil of the lime seeps into your skin. The problem arises when you head out into the sun to drink said Margs.

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Medically known as phytophotodermatitis, citrus fruits make our skin more sensitive to the sun, and the result is a nasty burn that can entail blisters. The blisters and burn will appear a few hours after exposure to sunlight, and they can be mild to severe. These burns might be mistaken for severe sunburn, but they are actually a chemical reaction between the sun and compounds from the citrus, known as furocoumarins. When furocoumarins are exposed to sunlight, a resulting chemical reaction breaks down skin cells. For mild burns, you can relieve the pain with over-the-counter pain medications, but if the burn is more severe, you’ll want to see a dermatologist for a prescription cream, corticosteroid, or antihistamine.

To prevent the burn in the first place, doctors recommend wearing plastic gloves if you’re going to be juicing a lot of limes for Margaritas, or make sure you very thoroughly wash your hands before heading out in the sun. A delicious Margarita isn’t worth a nasty burn.