Can You Really Get Orange Skin from Eating Too Many Carrots?

It sounds too crazy to be true—but we've unearthed some research about carrots.

True or False: You can get orange skin from carrots.

True! Your skin can actually turn an orange-yellowish color. It happens when you eat A LOT of carrots (or any beta-carotene rich vegetable, for that matter). Research from the University of California, Santa Barbara shows that eating an abundance of carrots could turn your skin an orange yellowish color.

It’s a phenomenon called carotenemia. That’s right—it’s a real condition!

Learn how to wash carrots and other vegetables the right way.

What is carotenemia?

It’s a coloring of the skin that’s most noticeable on the palms of your hands and the soles of your feet. It happens when you overeat beta-carotene rich foods like carrots, sweet potatoes or pumpkins. The condition is most common in infants, and usually appears when they start to eat “real food.” (We’re not too surprised since carrots are classic baby food.) Carotenemia may sound dangerous, but it’s mostly harmless.

For adults, though, even if you eat an entire pan of roasted carrots that likely won’t be enough to turn your skin orange. You’d have to eat a bunch of carrots (like, three large carrots a day, according to Columbia University) to develop carotenemia. It should be noted that beta-carotene is converted into vitamin A in your body, so eating carrots is good for your overall health.

(Psst! Carrots weren’t always orange; they used to be white! Why are carrots orange today? Through selective breeding, farmers started growing more and more orange carrots to distinguish them from wild ones.)

You can peel carrots without pinching your fingers—here’s how.

So, what can you do if this actually happens?

It’s pretty simple, really. Just switch to a lower carotene diet. That’s it! Just reduce your intake of carrots and other orange and yellow vegetables. It can take months for your skin to return to its usual shade, but it will usually change back. (It’s not a Violet Beauregarde situation.)

For most of us, eating healthy amounts of orange and yellow vegetables will provide vital nutrients for our eyes, skin and hair. Here’s how to make perfect roasted vegetables!

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Kristin George
Kristin George is a lifestyle + parenting writer and content creator living in Milwaukee, WI, with her husband and three boys. She is the founder of Dotted Comma, a marketing consulting agency driven to "cause a pause." In addition to her family and writing, she loves coffee, yoga, traveling, and making lists. You can connect with Kristin at dottedcomma.com.