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Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jan 5, 2023.

Phytophotodermatitis is a colored, bumpy rash on your skin. The rash develops when you touch certain plants or fruits and then expose that skin to the sun. The rash may be an odd shape, look like a bruise, or develop blisters. Plants that can cause phytophotodermatitis include parsley, dill, carrot, and grass. You also may have a reaction from the juice of citrus fruit, such as limes or oranges.


Call your local emergency number (911 in the US) if:

  • You have trouble breathing or swallowing.

Return to the emergency department if:

  • Your face, mouth, or throat is swollen.

Call your doctor or dermatologist if:

  • You have a fever.
  • The rash area becomes more swollen.
  • You get open sores in the rash area.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.


You may need any of the following:

  • Steroids are used to decrease redness, pain, and swelling. This medicine may be given as a pill or cream.
  • Antihistamines may be given to help decrease itching.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell your provider if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.


  • Wash the area. Use mild soap and water, or soak in a cool oatmeal bath to soothe your skin.
  • Apply a cool compress. Wet a washcloth with cool water and put it on your rash. Do this several times a day to help decrease itching, pain, and swelling.
  • Use topical creams. Put anti-itch creams directly on the area. These are available without a doctor's order. Do not use them on broken skin.
  • Protect your skin from the sun's ultraviolet (UVA UVB) rays. Your skin may be sensitive to the sun after phytophotodermatitis. The following can help you protect your skin:
    Prevent Sun Damage
    • Wear sunscreen when you are outside. Use sunscreen that has an SPF (sun protectant factor) of 30 or higher. Make sure it has UVA and UVB protection. Follow directions when you use sunscreen. Put on more sunscreen if you swim, sweat, or are in the sun for longer than an hour. Protect your lips by using lipsticks and lip balms that contain sunscreen.
    • Stay out of the sun between 10 am and 4 pm. This is when the sun is strongest and most damaging to your skin.
    • Wear protective clothing. Long-sleeved shirts and pants will protect your arms and legs when you are out in the sun. A wide-brimmed hat can protect both your face and neck. Wear sunglasses that have UVA and UVB protection.

Treatment options

The following list of medications are in some way related to or used in the treatment of this condition.

View more treatment options

Follow up with your doctor or dermatologist in 2 to 3 days:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

© Copyright Merative 2022 Information is for End User's use only and may not be sold, redistributed or otherwise used for commercial purposes.

The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.