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Redheads Beware: Lime Juice Could Cause Severe Sunburn

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While rarely consumed on their own, limes make a contribution to the flavors of many foods and drinks we consume. These fruits are also loaded with vitamin C which is very good for you, but when combined with sun can cause the skin to burn more!

We consulted with Fayne L. Frey, MD, a dermatologist in West Nyack, New York. “When lime is exposed to the ultraviolet light [UVA rays], a skin reaction can occur that resembles an exaggerated sunburn,” said Dr. Frey.

She continued, “To give you all a bit of history, in 1916, Dr. Freud noticed pigmented spots on the skin of a patient after application of eau de cologne perfume. The ingredient causing the pigmentation proved to be bergapten, a component of oil of bergamot, an oil that is found in the rind of Citrus bergamia, the bergamot lime. The lime caused a bad sunburn. When the sun’s UV rays interact with lime juice, the reaction is called phytophotodermatitis.”

“This reaction can definitely occur with topical exposure to lime. It can also occur with exposure to figs, celery, lemon oil, hogweed and others. Bergamot containing perfume may also ellicit this response,” Dr. Frey recommended.

Redheads, enjoy your limes this summer, but make sure hands are washed before touching another part of the body as transfer of the lime onto sun exposed skin may cause a bad skin reaction. And wear lots of sunscreen! The SPF can act as a chemical barrier to the sun’s UV rays and a physical barrier to lime juice.


Rock it like a Redhead!