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People Are Attempting To Get Tans By Eating Carrots, Apparently

It may not turn out like you'd hoped.

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

James Felton

Senior Staff Writer

James is a published author with four pop-history and science books to his name. He specializes in history, strange science, and anything out of the ordinary.

Senior Staff Writer

A woman's back. Half is pale, the other half a bright orange.

Carrots can turn the skin a yellowy-orange.

Image credit: Albina Gavrilovic/, color altered by IFLScience.

According to a video going around the Internet, there is a "carrot tan skin hack" that can give you tanned-looking skin without soaking up those UV rays.

The video posted to TikTok suggests that eating three carrots a day can make you "glow from the inside out".


So, is this possible? Kind of, with larger quantities of carrots, but it is definitely not advisable. Carrots contain beta-carotene, the pigment which gives them their distinctive color. Eat enough of it – above 30 mg/day – and you can develop carotenodermia: Yellow discoloration of the skin.

"Carotenoderma gives your skin a yellow/orange pigment that is not the same colour you’d turn from a sun tan," dietitian, researcher, and lecturer Emily Burch and professor of community health and wellbeing Lauren Ball write in a piece for The Conversation. "It is concentrated in the palms of the hands, the soles of the feet and smile lines near the nose."


Carotenoderma usually occurs in young children and infants. It occasionally affects adults, though it usually happens through exceptional circumstances. One 47-year-old man asked physicians for help after mild stomach pains and yellow/orange coloring of the skin. They found him to have a colon full of stool, and elevated liver enzymes.

"Upon further questioning, the patient reported ingesting 6–7 pounds of carrots per week to facilitate his dieting effort," his doctors noted in their case report.

Though it's alarming to see your skin change color, potentially confusable with jaundice, carotenoderma is usually harmless and can be treated with a cessation of carrots. It is not possible to suffer a vitamin A overdose by eating carrots alone (they contain a precursor to vitamin A, rather than the active version), but there is evidence that carotene supplements increase the risk of lung cancer in smokers and former smokers, which might not be worth the risk to turn an unhealthy shade of yellow.


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