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What is it?

The phytophotodermatitis is an allergic manifestation caused by sun exposure of skin that had contact with plants or some fruit juice, especially lemon, orange and tangerine. Other products such as perfumes and soft drinks can also cause a similar reaction, called photodermatitis.

Characteristics and symptoms

The disease is characterized by the appearance of dark blotches in the affected areas. The format of the spots depends on skin exposure to substances and dotted spots caused by splashes of squeezed lemon are often seen. The most commonly affected areas are the backs of the hands, forearms, neck and lips.

More intense reactions may give rise to the appearance of redness on the skin and even blisters, which may be accompanied by itching or burning symptoms (below).


To prevent phytophotodermatitis, avoid sun exposure after cutting or squeezing fruits or drinking soft drinks and fruit juices while exposed to the sunlight. Even washing the areas which had contact with the fruits, the reaction may occur. Avoid using perfume before exposing the skin to the sun.

The disappearance of the spots occurs gradually and spontaneously, and the skin should be protected from sun exposure with potent sunscreens. Medication to lighten the spots may be used to accelerate the process. The most intense reactions may require the use of medication for its control, such as corticosteroids, which should be indicated by a dermatologist.

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