Causes of Skin Discolorations

Image Credit: John-Morgan / flickr

My skin is turning orange (carotenoderma)–too many carrots?

Not necessarily related to beets, but related to how certain veggies and fruit cause skin colorations. My palms and soles of my feet are orange. I know this is from beta carotene. Is it cause for concern? It got better for awhile, but I noticed they are very orange again :(

Amy Freudenberg Dover / Originally posted on the NutritionFacts.org Facebook page

Answer:

Sounds like you have carotenoderma, caused by the buildup of carotenoid phytonutrients in your skin.  The condition itself is harmless, but if you haven’t increased your vegetable intake in the last month or two (juicing carrots is a common cause) and there’s still a significant increase in coloration then you should check with your doctor to make sure you’re not suffering from secondary carotenoderma, in which the high levels in your skin are not because you’re eating a lot, but because there may be an underlying disease state such as hypothyroidism, anorexia, diabetes, or kidney disease that is increasing levels in your blood stream. Carotenoderma can also sometimes be confused with jaundice, a sign of liver dysfunction, but the two can be differentiated by looking at the whites of the eyes, which remain white in carotenoderma, but turn yellow in jaundice. For more on carotenoid deposition in the skin see my videos Golden Glow and Produce, Not Pills.

Image Credit: John-Morgan / flickr

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Michael Greger M.D., FACLM

Michael Greger, M.D. FACLM, is a physician, New York Times bestselling author, and internationally recognized professional speaker on a number of important public health issues. Dr. Greger has lectured at the Conference on World Affairs, the National Institutes of Health, and the International Bird Flu Summit, testified before Congress, appeared on The Dr. Oz Show and The Colbert Report, and was invited as an expert witness in defense of Oprah Winfrey at the infamous "meat defamation" trial.


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