Just lime juice?

Published on August 26th, 2011
Just lime juice?

Limes are quite difficult to find in SA, so you’re unlikely to end up in a lime-juice fight … but if you do, you might walk away with more than just sticky skin.

Did you know that a substance in lime juice can cause a person’s skin to become discoloured if it’s exposed to the sun? This substance is called psoralen (so-rah-lin) and it is used to make the skin more sensitive to a wavelength of ultraviolet light and to treat certain skin conditions. Lemons also contain psoralen, but not as much as limes. As a matter of fact, this is why people sometimes put lemon juice in their hair to lighten it.

While the possibility of discolouring your skin doesn’t sound great, scientists have discovered that this could be a solution to vitiligo, a skin disorder that causes white blotches on the sufferer’s skin. Using a combination of psoralen and a process called photochemotherapy, repigmentation of the skin takes place. To better understand this process, click here.

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