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Can Your Skin Change Color By Eating Certain Foods or Chemicals?

Changing skin color


Can Your Skin Change Color By Eating Certain Foods or Chemicals?

It’s common to hear stories or reports of people having their skin change color after ingesting large quantities of certain foods or chemicals. One of the most popular food item in these stories is the carrot.

Is there any truth to these wild claims? And if so, are there any other chemicals that have a similar effect on our skin? Let’s find out.

Can Your Skin Change Color By Eating Certain Foods?

The answer is yes, but it depends on the foods you eat. One popular example is a person’s skin turning orange or yellow by consuming large amounts of carrots. carrotsCarrots have a biochemical (or pigment) called carotene. Pure carotene is a deep orange color. It will dissolve in oil but not in water. Because it is stored in body fat, it can turn a person’s skin orange or yellow. The skin of someone who intentionally consumes pure carotene can indeed change color, but not significantly. It will resemble jaundice. The scientific term for this condition is ‘Carotenosis’. Carotenosis can be fatal, but it’s extremely rare – the last fatality from the condition was in 1972.

What About Other Colors?

The man pictured to the right is Paul Karason. argyriaHis skin has taken on a blue hue thanks to ingesting powdered colloidal silver mixed with water every day, over the course of years. Colloidal silver is often marketed to be a magical ‘cure-all’ and Karason swears by it. However, the medical effectiveness of colloidal silver has never been scientifically proven. In some jurisdictions, it is illegal to advertise it in such a way. Medical authorities and publications advise against the use of colloidal silver preparations because of their lack of proven effectiveness and because of the risk of argyria — argyria is the medical term when silver accumulates in your body and turns it blue.

The Man Who Turned Red

ruby red squirt In another documented case, a man turned red due to drinking eight liters of Ruby-Red Squirt a day. Because he was extremely sensitive to the bromine in the vegetable oil used in the soft drink, it caused his skin to turn bright red and produced open lesions on his hands called bromoderma.

In a similar, though more severe case, one man experienced tremors, extreme fatigue, a loss of memory, headache, decreased muscle coordination and a drooping of the right eyelid because he consumed two to four liters of a cola containing brominated vegetable oil on a daily basis. It took doctors two months to correctly diagnose the problem, and the patient eventually lost the ability to walk. After it was correctly diagnosed, hemodialysis was prescribed which resulted in a complete reversal of the disorder.

Bonus Fact: At one time, a common prank among college students in biomedical fields was to spike someone’s drink with methylene blue. The chemical is relatively harmless but will cause the victim’s urine to turn bright blue. (We do not recommend attempting this as methylene blue is not intended for human consumption.)

Maharshak N, Shapiro J, Trau H (2003). “Carotenoderma–a review of the current literature“. Int. J. Dermatol. 42 (3): 178–81.
Wadhera A, Fung M (2005). “Systemic argyria associated with ingestion of colloidal silver“. Dermatology Online Journal 11 (1): 12
Jih DM, Khanna V, Somach SC (2003). “Bromoderma after excessive ingestion of Ruby Red Squirt“. New England Journal of Medicine 348 (19): 1932–1934



  1. Hoping

    September 25, 2012 at 1:17 am

    Hello, I have a dark (brown with a yellow tone) skin of Indian skin tone. Both my parents and siblings have nice fair skin. Can I turn my skin into fair by eating some special food?

    • David Smith

      January 26, 2013 at 12:40 pm

      What is it with Indians wanting fair skin? Fair skin is only looked upon by Indians, because the British Raj gave India that set of mind. They taught Indians to believe that white skin in for the “superior.” In truth Indians have the best skin tone and skin. While many pale Americans burn hours in tanning salons with risk of cancer, Indians are gifted with rich, not to dark, not to light skin. Embrace yourself my friend.

      • Jarvis

        January 28, 2014 at 12:32 pm

        Surely it’s counter-productive to say one skin tone is better than others in response to someone thinking that one skin tone is better than others.

  2. Cassandra

    May 13, 2013 at 10:42 pm

    The guy who turned blue drank huge quantities of homemade (and improperly made) colloidal silver. He drank over a quart a day when you are only supposed to have a tablespoon. He also used regular water instead of distilled which is what caused the argyria. Since then the pharmaceutical companies have used him as a spokesperson against colloidal silver which HAS been Provence to work. It works against viruses in particular. Since silver and water cannot be patented the medical industry has no way to make any money off of it. And as we all know, it’s all about the money. There are ways to make this stuff properly. In the oped days people would put a silver coin in the bottom of containers storing drinks because it would kill bacteria. The reason people would eat using actual silver silverware was because it prevented all sorts of illnesses. I have used this stuff on several occasions and it worked for me. Others I know have had great results and it is harmless in proper doses. Don’t get scared off by the blue man… I know he’s creepy. You know that guy ran for mayor even though he had absolutely no credentials only because big pharmaceutical companies wanted him to get famous to scare people off of self medicating. So yeah… I’ve taken this stuff for a couple of years and I’m not blue. I haven’t had a cold in years either, and I work around a lot of people. Thought I’d share. Have a great day people and keep up the interesting articles Zidbits. You guys rock!!!!

    • joe smith

      April 17, 2016 at 11:55 pm

      Those are old wives’ tales mixed in with superstitions. Silver is great for wearing, but ingesting this crap could eventually harm you.

  3. dawa

    June 29, 2013 at 4:35 pm

    My wife has had hepatitis B since birth and the color of the skin on her face changed to a dark blue-red. I was wondering if you can give me some tips on what causes it, or a solution.

  4. Ty

    August 18, 2013 at 2:04 am

    I have black-skinned ancestors but by my generation, only some facial features remain. I am ok with my white tanned skin but am more comfortable with darker skin. How can the color be safely darkened biochemically / medically??

  5. ...

    June 23, 2014 at 10:16 pm

    What about the top picture? The one with a close up of a person with light green skin? Was that an oil painting, photoshop, or real? If real, tell me the cause.

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