What is carotenemia?

Carotenemia is a harmless condition in which the skin turns a yellowish color from eating lots of certain foods. Unlike jaundice, the whites of the eyes remain white. This happens most often between 6 and 18 months of age. Your child's skin turns a yellow-orange color because of the pigment (carotene) found in yellow vegetables (squash, carrots, sweet potatoes), as well as some fruits (such as oranges, apricots, and peaches). Carotene is also found in green vegetables (for example green beans and peas). You do not need to have your child stop eating these foods unless you want to change your child's skin tone.

After a return to a more normal diet, the carotenemia color will disappear in 3 or 4 weeks. Even without dietary change, the skin color will gradually return to normal by 2 or 3 years of age.

When should I call my child's health care provider?


  • Your child has vomited any blood.
  • Your child is confused or difficult to awaken.
  • Your child is acting very sick.