171. Carotenaemia

  1. Alan D. Irvine MD, FRCPI, FRCP2,3,
  2. Peter H. Hoeger MD4,5 and
  3. Albert C. Yan MD, FAAP, FAAD6,7
  1. Peter T. Clayton MD, FRCP, FRCPCH and
  2. Emma J. Footitt MBBS, BSc, MRCPCH

Published Online: 24 MAY 2011

DOI: 10.1002/9781444345384.ch171

Harper's Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, Volume 1, 2, Third Edition

Harper's Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, Volume 1, 2, Third Edition

How to Cite

Clayton, P. T. and Footitt, E. J. (2011) Carotenaemia, in Harper's Textbook of Pediatric Dermatology, Volume 1, 2, Third Edition (eds A. D. Irvine, P. H. Hoeger and A. C. Yan), Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford, UK. doi: 10.1002/9781444345384.ch171

Editor Information

  1. 2

    Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland

  2. 3

    Our Lady's Children's Hospital, Dublin, Ireland

  3. 4

    University of Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

  4. 5

    Catholic Children's Hospital Wilhelmstift, Hamburg, Germany

  5. 6

    University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA

  6. 7

    The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Philadelphia, PA, USA

Author Information

  1. University College London Institute of Child, Health with Great Ormond Street Hospital for Children, NHS Trust, London, UK

Publication History

  1. Published Online: 24 MAY 2011
  2. Published Print: 3 JUN 2011

ISBN Information

Print ISBN: 9781405176958

Online ISBN: 9781444345384



  • β-carotene;
  • carotenaemia;
  • carotenoid 15,15′-mono-oxygenase;
  • retinol;
  • retinol-binding protein 4;
  • vitamin A;
  • xanthodermia


Carotenaemia is a condition in which the plasma concentration of carotenoids (principally β-carotene) is elevated, producing a yellowish discoloration of the skin (xanthodermia). Ingested carotene is largely converted to vitamin A (retinol) in the intestinal mucosa by carotenoid 15,15′-mono-oxygenase and retinaldehyde reductase. A small proportion is absorbed unchanged and the absorption of β-carotene is increased in subjects taking a high-fat diet. Carotenaemia or hypercarotenaemia can therefore arise as a result of excessive ingestion of β-carotene, defective conversion to vitamin A (metabolic carotenaemia) or hyperlipidaemia. Aetiology (including rare genetic causes secondary to inherited enzyme defects), clinical features, differential diagnosis, treatment and prognosis are discussed.