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Do Carrots Give You Orange Skin?

by Carolyn Robbins

Can carrots give you orange skin?

Adam Gault/Digital Vision/Getty Images

Orange skin resulting from excessive carrot consumption sounds like something out of a science fiction novel or a bizarre comedy. However, the fact is that yellow skin pigmentation resulting from increased beta-carotene levels in the blood is a real clinical condition called carotenemia. Though carotenemia is harmless, it's easy to confuse with jaundice in young children. Should you notice yellowing of the skin in yourself or your children, contact your physician.

Carotene

Carotene is a lipochrome that gives carrots, squash and sweet potatoes their yellowish-orange pigmentation. Accumulation of carotene in the blood can give the skin an orange tint, particularly in areas of the body with dense subcutaneous fat or thick skin including the palms and soles.

Treatment

Carotenemia is common in infants and toddlers whose diets consist mainly of pureed fruits and vegetables. The skin pigmentation is harmless and treatment consists of removing carotene from the diet temporarily. The discoloration may remain for several months.