Surprising factors that may cause skin irritation

skin irritationWarmer weather is just around the corner, and though you may know to slather on the sunscreen before heading outdoors, there are other less well-known factors that can cause damage and irritation to your skin.

Protect yourself this coming spring by becoming aware of the hidden hazards you may find in your own backyard—citrus fruits, flower, plants, and even spicy foods can cause you to break out in a rash that will leave you itchy and miserable. Continue reading to learn which factors to watch out for and the best prevention tips to ensure your skin stays safe this spring.


Citrus and the sun: Sitting back and catching some rays by the pool with a margarita or even a glass of fresh squeezed lemonade can cause a reaction similar to one caused by poison ivy. The combination of the sun’s UV rays and exposure to citrus fruits—like the lemons and limes found in these drinks—can lead to a condition known as phytophotodermatitis, causing red, itchy skin that may darken in places. Avoid this irritating rash by taking a dip in the pool after your beverage to rinse your skin, then reapplying your sunscreen.

Spicy foods: Some of the plants used in spicy foods like chili peppers and horseradish contain compounds that may irritate your skin, so it is important to be aware of this when preparing any dishes involving these foods. If you have overly sensitive skin, you may want to use gloves when handling chili peppers or other spicy plants to prevent any irritation.
Flowers and plants: Most of us know to steer clear of poison ivy and may follow the adage “leave of three, leave it be”—a good rule of thumb as this applies to poison oak as well. However, there are other plants that you may find in your home or backyard that can cause rashes and hives. Cacti and thistles may release chemicals into the skin through their prickly spines, while flowers like chrysanthemums as well as tulip and daffodil bulbs contain compounds that can irritate the skin and cause an allergic reaction.

Being aware of the potential allergens and hazards around you will allow you to take better care of your skin this season and avoid painful and irritating rashes. Be sure to use sunscreen when heading outdoors and reapply it often. Also, if you come into contact with any of the listed allergens, the American Academy of Dermatology recommends you rinse your skin with water as soon as possible in order to minimize any potential irritation.

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