Excessive intake of carotenes can result in a yellow color to the skin (carotenoderma).


Sources of carotenes:

(1) fruits and vegetables containing carotenes (mangoes, apricots, carrots, oranges, green vegetables)

(2) beta-carotene dietary supplements

(3) vitamin A supplements


Risk factors:

(1) diabetes mellitus

(2) hypothyroidism

(3) familial disorder


Clinical findings:

(1) There is a yellowish coloration to the skin.

(2) The color is most intense behind the ears, in the nasolabial folds, and on the palms and soles.

(3) The sclera are white.


Vitamin A intoxication does not take place unless the person is taking excessive vitamin A. A patient has only limited conversion of beta-carotene to retinol.


Laboratory findings:

(1) elevated serum carotene level

(2) normal serum total bilirubin (unless concurrent cholestasis)


Differential diagnosis:

(1) jaundice (the sclera are yellow and serum total bilirubin increased).


To read more or access our algorithms and calculators, please log in or register.