Limes and Sunlight Leave Florida Man With 'Burns' After Mixing Margaritas

Reaction between lime juice and sunlight can cause burn-like wounds.

June 03, 2015, 4:59 PM

— -- Don't forget your sunblock this summer, especially if you want to enjoy your margaritas.

One Florida man learned this the hard way after he said a rare reaction between lime juice and sunlight left his hands with wounds resembling severe second-degree burns and sent him to the emergency room.

Aaron Peers said he is recovering after the reaction called phytophotodermatitis, which can occur when fruit juice or acidic citrus juice hits the skin, leaving it vulnerable to sunlight exposure. The simple mix of sun and juice can be toxic to the skin, resulting in blisters, discoloration and raw, pink-looking skin.

“The most normal reaction is ‘That’s gross,’” Peers told ABC News affiliate WJXX in Jacksonville, Florida. “Which I agree that’s super gross.”

Peers and his fiancée, Alyse Golden, were making margaritas in their backyard on Memorial Day weekend when the rare reaction occurred. It took about 24 to 48 hours for the worst blisters to form, Golden told ABC News.

"At first, he thought it was a sunburn, but the pattern didn’t make sense at all," she told ABC news.

Peers told ABC News affiliate WJXX that he could see exactly how the lime just traveled down his arm as he made margaritas.

Golden dubbed the reaction, “margarita dermatitis,” and phytophotodermatitis is even playfully called "lime disease" online because so many people get it while prepping citrus drinks.

Dr. Barney Kenet, a dermatologist based in New York, said the reaction can happen if people come into contact with a variety of fruit or vegetable juices and are then exposed to direct sunlight.

“You see it on people who go to Caribbean and end up with mango and lime juice [on their hands],” said Kenet. “[The wound has] got a drippy pattern -- like it was dripping down the skin.”

Golden told ABC News they now plan on being careful when preparing their next batch of margaritas.

"Now, we know to always use a proper citrus juicer, I guess," Golden said.

The two are planning on getting married in the next few weeks and Peers said he’s hopeful his ring will fit after the ordeal.

In spite of the injury the couple plans on heading to Hawaii this week for their wedding and honeymoon, although they'll have plenty of sunscreen and medication to protect Peers' hands as they recover.

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