I eat so many carrots I look like an Oompa Loompa

Woman, 21, claims she was left looking like an ‘Oompa Loompa’ due to 10-a-day carrot habit

  • Dena Rendall says her peers thought her orange skin was a make-up disaster
  • But she insists it’s her decade long love of carrots that’s given her carotenemia

A 21-year-old ate has told how she ate so many carrots she was left resembling an ‘Oompa Loompa’ with her bright orange glow.

Dena Rendall, who lives in Edinburgh, used to get through up to 10 carrots, three peppers and one sweet potato daily in a bid to boost her health.

But she became worried when others noticed that her skin had turned orange and assumed dodgy fake tan, a make-up disaster or jaundice was to blame.

After looking up her condition online, she self-diagnosed herself with carotenemia – a build-up in the blood of the pigment that gives carrots their colour.

Ms Rendall, a customer experience worker, cut her carrot intake to eight a day after noticing she looked strangely 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.

Oranges — and other fruits, such as mangoes, apricots and pumpkins — contain a natural pigment called beta carotene.

This substance gives them their distinctive hue.

Over time, consuming excessive amounts of beta carotene can cause the skin to turn a yellow-orange colour.

Carotenemia, as it is medically known, is harmless.

But it can take several months for the skin to return to a normal colour.

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.

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

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.

‘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.’

How eating too many carrots can turn your skin orange

Oranges contain a natural pigment called beta carotene.

This substance is found in high levels in yellow and orange fruit and vegetables and gives them their distinctive hue.

High levels can be found in carrots, mango, apricots and oranges.

Eating a large amount of these foods over a long time can cause your skin to turn a yellow-orange colour as beta carotene accumulates in the body.

There is no known negative health conditions linked to consuming too much beta carotene.

As part of a balanced diet the substance it is actually beneficial.

This is because the human body can turn beta carotene into vitamin A.

Vitamin A is needed to support the immune system, improve eye health, and maintain good skin condition.

Some people take a beta carotene to dye their skin supplement as a substitute for natural tanning.

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