The natural chemical beta-carotene found in carrots, and a few other fruits and vegetables can turn your skin orange if you consume too much of it in a day and over an extended period of time.
When this does occur it’s a condition known as carotenemia.
Other than the physical appearance, here’s whether it’s bad if your skin turns orange from carrots.
Today, I will explain more details about how carrots turn your skin orange, and cover if it really does happen, why it happens, how much beta-carotene it takes to develop carotenemia, and how many carrots a day is too much.
Is It True if You Eat Carrots Your Skin Turns Orange?
First of all, there are a lot of myths out there, so it’s important to see if it’s actually true that carrots can cause your skin to turn orange.
Based on what medical professionals and dermatologists have to say about whether your skin can actually turn orange from carrots.
The medical professionals at the Cleveland Clinic (source) state that it’s rare to develop orange skin from carrots.
And if it does develop it will go away on its own after a few months.
The foods that are also high in beta-carotene are generally orange-colored foods and are:
- Sweet potatoes
- Cantaloupe (rock melon)
Each of these different fruits/vegetables contain a different amount of beta-carotene.
And there is a specific amount of beta carotene that will turn your skin orange.
However, it takes a minimum of 2 weeks of eating more than the amount of beta carotene it takes to turn your skin orange.
I will explain the exact amounts of beta-carotene in each further below.
But, first here’s how the amount of beta-carotene in each of these fruits/vegetables compares to the amount of beta-carotene in carrots, ordered from most beta-carotene to the lowest amount of beta-carotene.
|Highest beta-carotene fruits/vegetables||Amount of beta carotene per 3.4 oz (100g) = half a cup||Percent compared to carrots|
|Sweet potatoes||11.500 mg||287.50%|
|Cantaloupe (rock melon)||1.250 mg||31.25%|
Interestingly, sweet potatoes contain much more beta carotene than carrots.
And have almost 3 times the amount that carrots have.
This is for the variety of sweet potatoes that are orange on the inside.
Unlike the more common sweet potatoes that have purple skin and yellow flesh.
Carrots contain on average 4 mg of beta carotene per half a cup.
Which makes them rank second on the list of fruits and vegetables that contain the most beta-carotene.
And significantly more than the second-highest – which is pumpkin, which has about half the beta-carotene that carrots have.
Here’s a good video from a doctor where he explains what beta-carotene is and how it affects the body:
Carrots are also very high in vitamin A, which is known to be very good for your skin.
I explained what a good amount of carrots are to consume to improve the appearance of your skin based on the advice of dermatologists in this article about whether carrots make your skin glow.
How Many Carrots until Your Skin Turns Orange?
It’s true that your skin can turn orange from eating a lot of carrots.
However, most people eat carrots somewhat regularly and don’t develop orange skin.
So, here’s a summary of how many carrots you need to consume and for how long in order for them to turn your skin orange.
Medical professionals say that you need 20 mg to 50 mg of beta-carotene a day for 2 weeks.
An average carrot contains 4mg of beta-carotene.
I’ve put together a table below that shows how many of the other fruits and vegetables that are high in beta carotene are required to turn your skin orange.
|Highest beta-carotene fruits/vegetables||Amount of beta carotene per 3.4 oz (100g) = half a cup||Amount of individual fruits or vegetables|
|Sweet potatoes||11.500 mg||1.5|
|Cantaloupe (rock melon)||1.250 mg||1|
As you can see, for some fruits and vegetables it’s almost impossible to eat enough of them to turn your skin orange.
Whereas, others you can come quite close. Some fruits and vegetables are quite large, however.
For example, it would be difficult to eat a whole pumpkin, and possibly a whole cantaloupe.
Based on all of this info the one vegetable to watch out for in particular is the sweet potato variety that has orange flesh.
And you should aim to only consume a maximum of 1.5 of them a day on average.
Any more than this and you are at risk of your skin turning orange.
It takes, however, about 10 average-sized carrots to make one cup of carrot juice.
This means if you consume a cup of carrot juice everyday, it’s possible for your skin to turn orange.
Is 4 Carrots a Day Too Much?
1 carrot or so is all that’s needed for a typical meal such as a vegetable stir fry, a salad, or a stew.
But, you may enjoy eating carrots or consuming carrot juice which contains a lot of carrots.
Some of the nutrients found in carrots are in high amounts which can give you too much of them, so this is how many carrots is too much.
Therefore, you should not drink more than about a cup of carrot juice, everyday.
If you don’t drink carrot juice everyday, then you can consume a bit more.
This is because the effects of beta-carotene turning your skin orange only occurs if you consume a high amount of beta-carotene everyday.
I’m Chris Watson & the Founder of EatForLonger.com. I’m a food and wellbeing enthusiast researching and sharing foodstuffs and simple food-based concepts, such as fasting and clean eating.
I hope it inspires you to make tiny changes to what you eat and when you eat while optimizing your healthspan and all-around well-being.
Read more About Me here.