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    Watch out for citrus fruits in sunny weather!

    Citrus fruits contain phototoxic compounds. In summer, you should be careful, because when the skin comes into contact with the juice of these fruits – for example, when peeling them – and then exposes them to the sun, this can lead to persistent discolouration.

    In summer, it doesn’t take much to change the skin. UV radiation has a detrimental effect on them, as experts pointed out at the 11th Melanoma Awareness Week from 17 to 23 May 2022.


    Prof. Piotr Rutkowski, Head of the Clinic for Cancers of the Soft tissues, Bones and Melanoma at the Maria Skłodowska-Curie National Institute of Oncology – State Research Institute in Warsaw – emphasises that skin cancer is the most common cancer among white people (approximately 10% of all cancers). An important risk factor for the development of these diseases is the sun.


    The ultraviolet radiation emitted by the sun can also contribute to phototoxic reactions, according to Prof. Grażyna Kaminska-Winciorek, Head of the Department of Cancer and Skin Melanoma at the M. Skłodowska-Curie National Institute of Oncology – State Research Institute, branch in Gliwice. They are caused by skin inflammation and/or persistent discolouration due to a combination of two factors – skin contact with a phototoxic substance and sun exposure.


    Many plants that contain such substances contain citrus fruit, like lime, orange, pomelo and grapefruit.


    “Exposure to lime usually occurs when the fruit is pressed into a drink. The juice that drips over the skin, in conjunction with sunlight, can lead to characteristic streaks of dermatitis or hyperpigmentation,” we can read in a scientific article on contact reactions to food by Claudia Killig and Thomas Werfel, which was published in the journal of “Medycyna po Dyplomie.”



    The medical literature describes the case of a woman who, while sunbathing, peeled a pomelo flesh on her bare abdomen. At this point, on the comb of the hand and between the fingers, there was a rash and inflammation that developed into discolouration.


    Such cases are described in the dermatological literature (a girl with blisters on her hands after squeezing lime and exposure to the sun, a young woman with dark stripes on the face of her legs and hands after contact with citrus juice in Cambodia, etc.).


    Prof. Kamińska-Winciorek recalls what the gold rules of skincare are:


    • in sunny weather every few hours with SPF high-filter creams (up to four applications per day),
    • avoidance of sunlight between 10 a. m. and 4 p. m.,
    • wearing hats,
    • examination of the entire skin by a dermatologist once a year (but not earlier than 6 weeks after sunlight),
    • self-observation of marks every month.

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