Causes of Orange Skin

The main causes of orange skin include:

  • Bruising. A bruise may occasionally have an orange hue as part of its healing process.
  • Carotenemia (excessive consumption of orange vegetables, esp. if pureed or mashed)
  • Secondary Carotenoderma
  • Lycopenemia (excessive red food pigment such as tomatoes)

Simple Carotenemia: There’s one really common cause of true “orange skin” and it is called carotenemia. This occurs when the skin contains excessive levels of the pigment substance called “carotene”.

In its common form, this is a mostly harmless cosmetic disorder caused by overeating of orange vegetables such as carrots, pumpkin, sweet potato, and similar vegetables. If these foods are mashed or pureed then the amount of carotene absorbed is increased.

Orange Baby: The typical carotenemia case is a baby or infant eating lots of orange-colored processed baby food or hand-mashed fresh orange foods. If this is the cause, it is mostly a cosmetic issue and the orange skin coloring will gradually recede once the child reduces eating these foods. (However, occasionally there is a secondary cause, and it is also very important to be sure it is not yellow skin, due to jaundice, or some other skin color.)

Terminology: Strictly speaking, carotenemia is high levels of carotene in the blood, whereas “carotenoderma” means high levels of the substance in the skin, which actually causes the orange skin color.

Secondary Carotenoderma: A number of disorders can lead to carotenoderma, even when eating only normal amounts of the vegetables with the pigment, such as:

Similar Conditions: The conditions that may appear somewhat like orange skin, but not exactly, include:

Similar Symptoms: See also the causes of other similar symptoms, such as:



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Note: This site is for informational purposes only and is not medical advice. See your doctor or other qualified medical professional for all your medical needs.