For many redheads, our tans have to come from a bottle or a spray tan machine. Many of us do not tan naturally and our skin is at too high a risk for skin cancer to ever opt for sunless tanning beds. So, faux tan it is! But there’s way people are getting their glow on and the ingredient is (probably) right in your fridge. TikTokers are claiming that eating carrots helps their skin look tanner. Before you laugh this off and before you go gobble down enough carrots to fuel a rabbit, let’s talk about this.
How does a “carrot tan” work exactly?
“Carrot tans” aren’t really tans at all, but they are a change in the pigment of your skin. Foods high in beta carotene, which carrots are, can add an orangy hue to your skin. Carrots aren’t the only food that can do this, other beta-carotene-rich foods like mangos, squash, and sweet potatoes can have the same effect. When you ingest enough beta carotene, a phenomenon called “carotenemia” happens.
But how any carrots do you have to eat?
The amount of carrots (or other beta-carotene-rich foods) you would have to eat is pretty high. You need about 20 to 50 milligrams of beta carotene per day to see a change in the skin tone. That’s around 10 full carrots per day.
Is it safe to eat that many carrots*?
While eating carrots isn’t inherently bad for you, the issue comes with too much Vitamin A. Carrots contain a lot of Vitamin A and 10 carrots gives your body way more than you need, especially if you don’t have a Vitamin A deficiency.
According to the National Institute of Health, the recommended Vitamin A intake for an adult female ages 19-50 is about 700 mcg (900 for an adult male of the same age) and 1 cup of raw carrots will fulfill your daily intake need. That means that by eating 10 carrots a day (roughly 5 cups) your Vitamin A intake would be around 5x what you need. That doesn’t include any other foods you are eating that contain Vitamin A. Consuming too much Vitamin A can cause hair loss, nausea, skin irritation, headaches, and other things.
*Before you try to get a carrot tan, consider the side effects and always consult with your doctor. Eating carrots in moderation, along with other beta-carotene-rich foods, can give your skin a nice healthy glow. But, trying to change the color of your skin through carotenemia probably isn’t the way to go.
Rock it like a Redhead!