Help! I’m Turning Yellow!!

carotenosis

That orange/yellow hand is mine. The other one is my mom’s. Notice the difference? I’m turning yellow!!

I never noticed I was turning yellow. A few weeks ago, my sister saw my hands and said they looked yellow, but I just thought my skin tone was just a little yellowish. I didn’t think anything of it. Until a couple days ago. I was hanging out with some friends, and they both said my hands were really yellow. After I compared my hands to theirs, I realized mine were really weird colored!

So, I went home and showed my mom, and she said she and my dad had already noticed. She told me she could see yellow in my face between my nose and mouth when I didn’t wear makeup. My dad said he could see yellow on the sides of my armpits when I wore tank tops. How could I not notice this!?

Here’s a picture of my face without makeup… don’t mind the pimples, but check out that discoloration!

hypercarotenemia

I was really freaked out at first. I thought it was jaundice, so I was afraid something was wrong with my liver. So, I started googling my symptoms, and luckily, I only have hypercarotenemia, also known as carotenosis. It’s basically when your skin turns yellow because of an excess of carotene due to over-consumption of foods high in beta-carotene. It’s more common in vegans and vegetarians because foods highest in beta-carotene are mostly fruits and vegetables. Even though I’m not vegetarian or vegan, most of my diet consists of fruits and vegetables.

Now, keep in mind I’m not any sort of doctor or specialist; I just know how to use Google, and I like Wikipedia. So while this information is useful, it’s also from the Internet where anyone can say anything.

Symptoms of hypercarotenemia:

  • Yellow palms
  • Yellow soles of feet
  • Yellowing of the skin between mouth and nose
  • Yellow knuckles
  • Yellow knees
  • Yellow armpits
  • NOT yellowing of the whites of eyes (if you have this, go see a doctor)

These symptoms are caused by eating too much beta-carotene. Carrots are known for having high levels of beta-carotene. One article said eating three 8″ carrots is enough to trigger hypercarotenemia. I eat at least 3-4 large carrots each day, plus frozen carrots, along with many other vegetables high in beta-carotene. Uh-oh!! I guess you really are what you eat! I’m actually turning into a giant carrot!

Lots of fruits and vegetables have high levels of beta-carotene. Click here if you want to see a complete list on Wikipedia.

If you have hypercarotenemia, don’t worry. It’s not dangerous. All you need to do is cut back on how much beta-carotene you eat, and your body should go back to normal coloring (although it can take several months). If you don’t mind being a little yellow, then go ahead and eat those carrots anyway! I’m going to cut back on carrots, but not other fruits or vegetables. I’m scared if I keep going at this rate, I’ll be an Oompa Loompa in no time! (Not really, but I don’t want to be yellow anymore…)

Anybody out there have this same problem? Or do you not consider it to be a problem since you’re just a little yellow? I can’t be the only one!

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10 thoughts on “Help! I’m Turning Yellow!!

      • i also experienced this a weeks ago.. i went to the doctor and he said im lacked of beta-carotene.. and when i red your blog why it came in opposite? we have the same symptoms 😦

      • That’s really strange. I never saw a doctor for my symptoms, but once I cut back on carrots, my skin went back to a normal color. Maybe it’s because you were eating so much beta-carotene that your body was flushing it out instead of digesting/absorbing enough of it (other than in your skin). But I’m not a professional in any way, so I’d definitely listen to your doctor. Hopefully he can help you!

  1. You do have to be careful eating too many carrots, as your body can’t dispose of excess Vitamin A, as it can the other vitamins and it is possible to become toxic. I think you have to eat more carrots than you do eat, but just be careful with Vitamin A sources.

  2. Whoa! Scary but a good lesson to be learned and glad it isn’t more serious. Keep us posted on your progress from carrot back to human!

  3. Yes. I am yellow too! I learned today that my mom and sister had a private medical conference amongst themselves about my “condition” and diagnosed me with some rather serious illnesses… so when I told my mom that it’s a simple carrot addiction she was relieved. 🙂

    I’m going to stop eating carrots for now I guess, as yellow is not too lovely on me.

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