Erika Lotterhos was celebrating her bachelorette party with friends and never thought that drinks they were making would lead to blistering skin. As reported by WOFL Fox 35, the bride-to-be noticed red marks she thought were sunburns where she had missed applying sunblock. But days later, those marks became a more serious concern. Lotterhos said, "I noticed on the second day they were looking a little puffy. By this morning being day three, they turned into pretty significant blisters."
Ms. Lotterhos also noticed that the red marks were in a characteristic drip pattern. She traced it back to the cocktails that the group made during her bachelorette party. “We were making fresh margaritas on the boat and some lime juice inadvertently dripped onto my knees," recalled Lotterhos. Research led to her to a self-diagnosis that the blisters were Phytophotodermatitis, or ‘Margarita burn.’
WOFL spoke to Dr. J. Matthew Knight, a dermatologist who confirmed Lotterhos’ conclusion. "Phytophotodermatitis is a phototoxic eruption of the skin. It basically is like a sunburn and when you have some sort of photosensitizer, in this case limes, followed ultraviolet light, ultra violet A, it activates the substance and you end up with a really bad sunburn-like reaction," the doctor explained. “We've see it a million times before. It has this particular pattern to it and we say, “Ah ha! You've been drinking limes.’ Or, ‘You’ve been drinking Coronas haven’t you?’"
According to a November 2000 article in the Archives of Family Medicine, “Furocoumarins (eg, 5-methoxypsoralen), found in limes, lemons, oranges, celery, fig, parsnip, parsley, carrots, dill, and perfumes, are commonly implicated,” photosensitizing compounds.
Dr. Knight added that the burn is fairly common this time of year and fortunately it is not that serious. The hyper-pigmentation remains for a few weeks. It’s one worry that soon-to-be-married Lotterhos won’t have saying, "I'm getting married in a month and I'm really thankful I'm that I have a long wedding dress."