This Is Why You Shouldn’t Make a Margarita on a Sunny Day


On a sunny Saturday in July several years ago, Kendra VanDusen was enjoying the afternoon on her deck when she noticed a splotchy rash she thought was a sunburn on both hands where she had been holding a drink glass. The next day, the burn was blistering and looked like a second degree chemical burn.

“I couldn’t figure out what could have caused it at first. I wondered if I was having a reaction to the glass I was holding, or if something in there caused the burn. I even went to the doctor and they didn’t know at first,” says VanDusen, who works as a program support supervisor in the University of Washington Registrar’s Office. “It took a while to learn it was from lime juice.”

Earlier in the day, she had been making a salad with fresh-squeezed lime. And while she thinks she washed her hands afterward, some of the juice was still on her hands, causing a reaction with the sun called phytophotodermatitis.

Also known as "margarita burn" or "margarita dermatitis," the reaction can lead to unpleasant rashes and burns—but can also be avoided with a few extra precautions.

Read the Right as Rain by UW Medicine article