carotenosis cutis


Carotenosis, or carotenosis cutis, is a benign yellowing of the skin in fair skinned humans caused by high dietary uptake of carotenoids. Conversion of carotenoids to retinol is capped, and excess carotenoids are stored in adipose tissues, including subcutaneous fat, thus altering the skin color. No other symptoms are known, but carotenosis may be part of a case of malnutrition.

Depending on the culture and individual disposition, the aesthetic effect on skin color may be seen as positive or negative. Carotenosis is most often caused by excessive consumption of carotene supplements, though very excessive consumption of carrots may also cause it. Some people intentionally contract carotenosis as a substitute for suntanning.

Carotenosis is sometimes misdiagnosed as jaundice. The latter, however, also affects the color of the sclera, while the former does not. A bilirubin serum test can also be used to verify whether jaundice is involved.

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