Can You Add Lime To Any Beer? | Is it Safe?

can you add lime to any beer

Some commercials make a beer on the beach look so refreshing and attractive. Palm trees swaying in the soft breeze, as bare manicured toes dig into soft sand, and a tanned hand squeezes a fresh lime into a beer bottle under the tropical sun. Sounds divine. But hold up on that last part.

So, can you add lime to any beer? Yes you can, just don’t do it in direct sunlight. The fact is you could get “lime disease” from cutting and squeezing limes into your beer when exposed to the UV rays of the sun. This can cause serious skin irritation and blisters, among other things.

If you love the way a beer tastes when you put lime into it, don’t worry, there might be a way for you to keep adding lime to your beer. Let’s take a look at the ins and outs of adding a lime to your favorite brew.  Let’s take a minute to look further into this now.

Why Do People Like Adding Limes to Their Beer?

So why exactly do people feel the need to put a lime in their beer in the first place? There are actually a couple of logical reasons as well as a couple related to the taste.

  • Some people believe that the lime will clean the top of the bottle by eliminating any lingering germs due to the acidic content of the lime.
  • Limes can also mask the taste of a skunky beer, but who’s buying skunky beer in the first place?
  • A lot of people think that it looks pretty cool to have that lime wedge in the top of a Corona or other beer.

The thing most neglect to think about is the fact that most bartenders touch the limes with their bare hands as they put it in your beer. This is a huge health code violation because no one is supposed to have bare hand contact with ready to eat food. Just because the lime is going in the beer bottle doesn’t mean it isn’t still food.

Can You Add Lime to Any Beer?

You can do it, but you’ve got to take the proper precautions, which are mainly making sure you’re not exposed to a lot of direct sunlight. If you are exposed to a lot of sunlight you could get “lime disease,” also known as Phytophotodermatitis (It is important not to confuse this disease with “Lyme disease,” which is totally different).

Phytophotodermatitis can occur when you squeeze or cut a lime in direct sunlight. Limes can undergo a chemical reaction due to the UV rays of the sun. This can lead to your skin becoming irritated and even burned.

This disease can be mild, moderate, and even severe. Symptoms may include the following:

  •     Small to large blisters
  •    Skin irritations
  •    Conditions that are like second-degree burns
  •     Redness
  •     Brown marks that can last for months before fading

Also, you most likely will be in some pain until your disease clears up. Now, let’s take a closer look at why limes can cause Phytophotodermatitis.

Why Do Limes Cause Phytophotodermatitis?

There is a chemical found in limes called furocoumarin that can cause a toxic reaction when combined with the ultraviolet rays of the sun. This reaction can result in “lime disease,” also known as “Phytophotodermatitis.”

The effects of the reaction can begin within minutes of the lime juice being exposed to the sunlight. In most cases, a rash will appear on a person’s body within 24 hours. This rash can burn and become very painful.

Precautions to Take When Adding Limes to Beer

If you really love the taste of lime in your beer, don’t worry, you can decrease your odds of getting “lime disease” by cutting, squeezing, and adding limes to beer when you are out of direct sunlight.

So, make your lime/beer combo in the house and not out in the sun. A few other precautions you can take include the following:

  •     Wear a large-brimmed hat.
  •     Cover up your legs and arms.
  •     Sit under a big umbrella.
  •     Wear gloves.
  •     Use an SPF-50 sunscreen with broad-spectrum UVA/UVB.

Taking these precautions can help you beat the odds of getting Phytophotodermatitis, so why not give them a try the next time you decide to add lime to your favorite beer.

A word of caution: The risk of skin irritation is not limited to the type of alcohol used. In this case, we are talking about beer. The same risk is present, whether you are adding the lime to beer, a margarita or a vodka-tonic. It is the lime and sunlight that is the issue here.

Can You Add Lemons to Beer?

Some people have changed to adding lemons to their beer instead of limes, let’s take a quick look to see if it is safe to switch from adding lemons instead of limes to your beer.

The fact is you should be concerned about getting lemon juice on your skin when in direct sunlight. Yes, it could cause you to get Phytophotodermatitis, which can be painful.

However, using the same precautions mentioned above, such as cutting your lemons indoors, then squeezing them into your beer before going out in direct sunlight, will help decrease the odds of getting the disease.

Now, let’s talk a little bit more about Phytophotodermatitis just in case you do experience a rash or burn after mixing up your favorite lemon or lime beer drink.

Is Phytophotodermatitis Contagious?

According to Fairview.org, “Phytophotodermatitis is an inflammatory reaction of the skin.” It is often referred to as “lime disease” or “margarita disease.” It usually begins with a burning sensation; then, a red rash will appear, which in most cases turns into dark marks or blisters.

However, thankfully, it is not contagious.

You can feel the effects of the disease within minutes of being exposed, but it can take up to 24 hours before you will notice the rash and skin burns appear. The rash may get worse for 1 to 3 days.

Does Phytophotodermatitis Go Away?

The fact is Phytophotodermatitis isn’t as common as other types of dermatitis. However, it can cause nasty blisters to appear on the skin. The blisters and marks caused by the disease can be very painful.

Phytophotodermatitis usually goes away on its own, but in some instances, a person might need to seek the help of a dermatologist.

Some people choose to use home care treatments for the disease before they seek professional help, so let’s talk a little about the things you can do at home for your disease now.

Ways to Treat Phytophotodermatitis

There are some home care remedies for treating Phytophotodermatitis; you can try out; these include the following:

  •        Use ice packs: On the first day, you can put ice packs on the infected area to help relieve the pain. Also, you can find first aid creams at your local pharmacy that may also help with the pain.
  •        Apply a dressing: Some people find it helpful to apply a dressing to the burn. If you do put a dressing on your infected area, make sure to change it once a day. Also, remember a dressing might stick to your skin. If this happens, dampen the bandage with warm water and then carefully remove it.
  •        Wash it: You will need to wash the infected area at least once a day with soap and water. Remember to simply pat it dry with a towel.
  •        Apply hydrocortisone: This will help the inflammation around the infected area.

If the rash and burn don’t go away on its own, then you should see a medical professional. A doctor can usually diagnose Phytophotodermatitis with a simple physical exam. They may even be able to diagnose it just by asking you questions about your recent activity.

You should be aware that sometimes the disease gets misdiagnosed because it somewhat resembles a sunburn, fungal infection, chemical burn, and even a poison ivy rash.

Well, I hope this helps you answer whether or not you can add lime to your favorite beer. Remember, if you are going to add that lime to your favorite beer, then take as many precautions as possible. Also, if you do happen to notice a rash or burn on your skin that doesn’t go away, be smart, and act quickly to treat it before it worsens.

Matt Pingel

My name is Matt Pingel and I run WhatShouldIDrinkTonight.com. I enjoy writing, drinking, and relaxing, so this site makes perfect sense to me. My favorite drink of choice right now vodka and soda water, because my wife told me I needed to lose some weight when I wanted a medium sized blizzard from Dairy Queen. She's got some nerve...

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