Important Summer Reminder: Making Too Many Margaritas Might Give You Blisters

updated Jun 12, 2019
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Margaritas are great really any time of year, but I still think of the cocktail as a summer beverage (they’re just so refreshing!). Some of the expected consequences of making and drinking too many margaritas include but are not limited to, a spontaneous dance party, midnight karaoke, and probably a hangover. Here’s what you don’t know: Making margaritas for your friends can also result in bubble blisters all over your hands. Yes, you read that right. Blisters.

According to Prevention, blisters can pop up when plant chemicals, in particular those in citrus fruits, make your skin more sensitive to the sun. One woman who talked to the magazine said she woke up feeling as though her hands were “on fire,” after she spent the previous afternoon squeezing hundreds of limes for margaritas. When she glanced at her hands, she realized they were covered in blisters. The medical term for this condition is phytophotodermatitis, but has been dubbed “margarita burn.”

Here’s the science behind this scary chemical reaction: Citrus fruit contains a chemical compound called furocoumarins. When this compound comes in contact with UVA light (in other words, sunlight), it can cause damage to your skin cells. The resulting injury varies: Sometimes you might experience redness or a burning sensation, other times you get blisters.

Citrus fruit isn’t the only plant that might cause phytophotodermatitis. Compounds found in plants you might encounter while gardening or camping might also cause the condition, according to Prevention. And of course, if you’re standing outside in the sun with your hands drenched in lime juice, your risk goes way up.

So how can you prevent it? Well the easiest solution might just be to wear gloves if you’re planning on making a few pitchers of margaritas by the pool this summer. If you don’t have a pair handy, wash your hands thoroughly to get all the lime juice off your skin. And keep on enjoying your margaritas!