Can eating certain foods change the color of your skin?

Can eating certain foods change the color of your skin?

Myth or Fact: Eating too many carrots can turn your skin orange.

The surprising truth is that, yes, eating too many carrots can change the color of your skin.

“Carrots can, in fact, cause an orangish yellow skin pigmentation,” says Dr. Lady Dy, a dermatologist affiliated with Advocate Health Care. “It’s called carotenemia and is often most noticeable on thick skin like palms of your hands or the soles of your feet.”

The orangish yellow discoloration is a result of excess beta-carotene in the blood from consuming foods like carrots, says Dr. Dy.

Other foods that can cause the orangish yellow pigmentation include squash, sweet potatoes, cantaloupe and even dried apricots. All these foods are also high in beta-carotene.

The good news – it’s not toxic and doesn’t cause any other health issues aside from the slight discoloration.

“The skin discoloration is temporary and completely reverses once you change your dietary habits,” says Dr. Dy. “No treatment is necessary, as the condition will slowly reverse itself and the coloring will gradually improve over the course of a few weeks or months when the beta concentration in your blood normalizes.”

The skin discoloration typically occurs when blood carotene levels are three to four times normal. It is most often seen in children who have a high intake of certain baby food, people with liver disease, diabetes mellitus or hypothyroidism. It can sometimes be confused with jaundice but doesn’t cause a yellowing of the whites of the eyes.

The best treatment option – change of diet.

Skin turning red?

“It could be another condition related to food consumption called lycopenemia,” says Dr. Dy. “This skin condition is caused by excessive amounts of lycopene in the blood. Foods rich in lycopene include tomatoes, papayas, guava and even carrots.”

As with carotenemia, the condition is harmless aside from the discoloration of the skin.

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  1. Really it’s a awesome article. Thanks for informative article.

  2. HI, I noticed the orange color on my daughter’s skin when she was around 7 months old. Her favorite baby foods was carrots, sweet potatoes, and squash. It didn’t take long to go back to normal when I cut back on it.

  3. I eat green beans daily nothing has change.

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Health Care and Aurora Health Care sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.