While watching TV the other day I saw an amusing Corona beer commercial. A young couple is sitting on beach chairs next to an idyllic ocean as relaxing waves crest and fall. Into this Eden walks another scantily clad, curvaceous woman, who tempts the gaze of the man away from the sea and onto her hips. He is subtle as he obviously checks her out, but not subtle enough, as his girlfriend/wife punishes him with a massive squirt of lime juice from the lime wedge on his bottle.
Cute, but actually frightening if you consider that she has just set in motion a skin reaction that could potentially disfigure him for months, even years. The man rubs the lime juice into his face, and the two keep sitting there, presumably for several more hours tanning away.
The combination of lime juice (more from the peel) and ultraviolet radiation can cause a skin reaction called phytophotodermatitis, a red, blistering, burning inflammatory response that can leave behind dark pigmented spots on the skin for months.
Here is the commercial, for your entertainment and forewarning:
While some might argue that no retribution is too great for the transgression of looking at another woman, I would argue that the ensuing rash does not fit the crime. Limes are among the list of plants and fruits that contain photosensitizing chemicals such as psoralens and furocoumarins, which when combined with certain wavelengths of ultraviolet radiation induce a photochemical reaction that damages cell membranes and DNA. Erythema, blistering, epidermal necrosis, and eventual peeling soon follow.
Here’s an example:
Yikes. This rash and hyperpigmentation will persist for months, or even years. I’ve seen it several times in my office, almost aways from lime juice exposure on the beach (likely from the tiny droplets expelled from the peel). Bartenders and grocers are classic victims of this malady. Other plants that produce photosensitizing substances include parsnips, celery, parsley, fig, and Queen Anne’s Lace among others.
Steroid creams often help decrease the inflammatory response, but should be used only in consultation with a physician. Avoiding girlfriends that spray lime juice may be an important preventative measure.
But now back to the Corona commercial. The Examining Room has commissioned an “artist” to provide an “artist’s conception” of what the man in the commercial might look like in a few days, assuming he smeared in the lime juice really well and stayed on the beach for the rest of that beautiful day:
This is probably an exaggeration, given the limited budget of this website to commission quality artists, but you get the idea. As the makers of Corona would probably agree, drink responsibly. This includes averting the eyes when presented with an observational dilemma on the beach, as well as moderating total alcohol consumption. Jealous significant others should not squeeze limes onto their partners at home, as this sort of behavior conflicts with Corona’s own “Relax Responsibly” imperative.