A vegetable superfan ate so many carrots that she was left with a bright orange glow ‘like an Oompa Loompa’.
Dena Rendall, who lives in Edinburgh, ate up to 10 carrots, three peppers and one sweet potato daily in a bid to boost her health.
But the 21-year-old became worried when others noticed that her skin had turned orange and assumed dodgy fake tan, make-up disaster or jaundice was to blame.
However, after looking up her condition online, she self-diagnosed herself with carotenemia — a buildup in the blood of the pigment that gives carrots and other fruit and vegetables a yellow, orange or red colour.
The customer experience worker only cut her carrot intake to eight a day after a shocking photo showed her looking eerily similar to Roald Dahl‘s orange-faced characters from Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Ms Rendall now eats around six carrots a day — buying 6kg from Asda every week and spending £40 on vegetables in total — which she hails for leaving her with a tan ‘all year round’.
Dena Rendall, 21, from Edinburgh says she gets her bright orange glow from her love of carrots and used to eat as many as 10 a day
Ms Rendall’s love of carrots began aged 12 when she started eating around one or two per day — which slowly increased to up to a mammoth 10 per day.
She said: ‘When I started getting into dieting, I started eating carrots but a normal amount — maybe one or two per day.
‘Then at some point I was eating ten carrots every single day.
‘I do really love carrots and enjoy eating that many a day, but I know I don’t necessarily eat in a way that’s normal to other people.
‘I’ve convinced myself I’m never unwell because of all the fruit and veg I eat in a day.’
Her peers would ask what fake tan she wears or if she was wearing make-up, which made her feel insecure. This picture taken before an 18th birthday party exposed the shocking colour difference between her neck and face
She first noticed the change in her skin colour while at school, when her peers began to ask whether she was wearing fake tan or makeup.
Ms Rendall said: ‘People at school were starting to notice and asking me if I was wearing fake tan which made me a bit insecure.
‘Every time when I walked into school people would say “oh are you wearing make-up today”.
‘I’m not someone who wears makeup and that’s why I think people thought “has she tried to do her makeup and miserably failed” because she doesn’t do her make-up regularly.’
Her mother also noticed her skin colour and worried that she might have jaundice — yellowing of the skin due to a liver problem.
At this point, she hadn’t linked her carrot habit to the yellowing of her skin.
However, her mother then remembered a cousin who used to eat a lot of carrots and sometimes looked a little orange.
After researching her symptoms, Ms Rendall self-diagnosed herself with carotenemia.
The condition is caused by a build up of beta-carotene — the pigment in red, orange and yellow fruit and vegetables — in the blood which can give skin an orange hue.
It’s not just carrots that cause the condition. Apricots, cantaloupe, mangoes, oranges, pumpkin, squash and sweet potatoes are also high in beta-carotene and are therefore culprits when consumed in large quantities.
Carotenemia is usually a sign that someone is following a restrictive diet from eating large amounts of a specific food, which leaves them at risk of not getting enough nutrients from other types of food.
Ms Rendall was eating as many as ten carrots, three peppers and a sweet potato every day to improve her health
She confesses to spending £40 a week on vegetables alone and buying 6kg of carrots from Asda
After googling her symptoms to get to the bottom of what was causing her orange glow, it revealed she had carotenemia, and not a tan
Ms Rendall decided to drop her carrot intake from 10 to eight a day after a photo exposed the shocking colour difference between her neck and face.
She said: ‘I was on my way to my friend’s 18th birthday party and getting ready with all my girlfriends and we were taking photos.
‘No one said to me that I looked particularly orange when we were getting ready, it was just when we turned the flash on and everyone started laughing.
‘I didn’t know what was so funny and thought oh my god that cannot be real. I looked like an Oompa Loompa! I had mascara on but no face makeup at all, I haven’t worn face makeup since I was 13.
‘At that point I decided to reduce from 10 to eight carrots. It’s not something I would notice, it was more people would notice and point it out to me.’
Once she reduced her carrot intake, her orange tone became less obvious and the comments about her hue died down. Ms Rendall now eats around six carrots a day.
She said: ‘I’m a blonde pale girl with very fair skin but because I eat so many carrots I can have a tan all year round.’
Ms Rendall added: ‘I never think I have to get my carrots in, that’s just what I eat, I don’t think about it.
Ms Rendall decided to cut down from eating 10 carrots a day to eight which helped the appearance of her skin
Cutting down on her carrot intake made her orange tone become less obvious. Carotenemia can also cause the palms of your hands and soles of your feet to turn a yellowish colour
‘When people ask me what tan I use and I tell them I just eat a lot of carrots, they think I’m joking.
‘Some days I look orange and some days it’s just a nice natural glow, it changes.’
She encouraged others to try adding more carrots to their diet, rather than turning to sunbeds, which give out ultraviolet light that raises the risk of skin cancer.
She said: ‘It’s definitely healthier than sunbeds. I am very anti-sunbeds, I don’t think it’s healthy at all. I don’t think it’s worth risking the negative effects for me so I think I’ll just stick to my carrots.
‘I would definitely encourage people who are seeking out to change their skin tone then why not? It’s not going to have a negative impact on you, but maybe not to the extent I do where it’s an obsession and a fixation.
‘I wouldn’t encourage people to take it that far but if you want to add carrots into your diet to change your skin pigment, it’s not harmful, why not? It’s all in moderation.’
An average carrot has around 4 milligrams of beta-carotene and people would need to consume around 20 to 50 milligrams per day for weeks before they noticed a difference in their skin colour, according to dermatologists.
While carotenemia is not dangerous and fades within a few months, they advise eating an array of nutritious foods in the correct quantities to maintain good health.
What is carotenemia?
Carotenemia is a condition distinguished by the discoloration of the skin into a yellowish-orange pigment. It can be caused by the prolonged intake of foods rich in carotene.
Carotene is a lipochrome that adds a yellow color to the skin. It is found in pigmented fruits and vegetables like orange, squash, papaya, mango, carrots, and cabbage.
It is synthesized in fruits as they ripen. In vegetables, it is hidden by the green color of chlorophyll. Often, the more yellow or green a vegetable is, the more carotene it contains.
Eating too much of any food naturally high in beta-carotene, like apricots, mangoes, pumpkin or sweet potato, has the potential to turn your skin orange.
This occurs due to high blood levels of beta-carotene accumulating in the body.
It can also cause the palms of your hands and soles of your feet to turn a yellowish colour.
However, the desired orange glow could also mask other more serious health conditions, like jaundice.
Source: | This article originally belongs to Dailymail.co.uk