October 19, 2010

Lime Responsible For ‘Mexican Beer Dermatitis’

A television commercial for a popular brand of beer is also advertising something else--the cause of a skin condition described in the October edition of the Archives of Dermatology.

In the advertisement, according to Reuters, "a woman on a beach, irritated by her companion ogling a bikini-clad blonde, squirts him with the lime sitting atop his beer." However, according to Dr. Scott Flugman of the Department of Dermatology at Huntington Hospital in New York, a substance in the lime could cause the skin to become discolored, similar to a poison ivy infection or a jellyfish sting.

Flugman is calling the condition "Mexican beer dermatitis," because Corona and many other Mexican brands of beer are often served with slices of lime wedged in the bottle tops. However, according to Flugman, limes contain a substance called psoralen that can cause discoloration if it comes in contact with the skin and, according to the doctor, it can even last for months.

"It's just a cosmetic issue," Flugman told Reuters Health on Monday, adding that the syndrome has not been linked to skin cancer or other such ailments. "People are worried that it's something serious. You might have some brown spots you're been looking at for a few months."

According to Reuters, psoralen is "used to make the skin more sensitive to a wavelength of ultraviolet light, UV-A, used to treat certain skin conditions."

Flugman told the news organization that he typically sees two or three cases each year, and that olive-skinned Caucasians are the most susceptible. He also said that those who are diagnosed with the condition are often confused when he asks them if they had recently consumed any Mexican beers, and advises anyone whose skin comes in contact with the lime juice to "just wash it off"¦ Don't leave it on there and sit out in the sun."


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