Fruit, Vegetable and Dietary Carotenoid Intakes Explain Variation in Skin-Color in Young Caucasian Women: A Cross-Sectional Study

Nutrients. 2015 Jul 15;7(7):5800-15. doi: 10.3390/nu7075251.


Fruit and vegetables contain carotenoid pigments, which accumulate in human skin, contributing to its yellowness. This effect has a beneficial impact on appearance. The aim was to evaluate associations between diet (fruit, vegetable and dietary carotenoid intakes) and skin color in young women. Ninety-one Caucasian women (Median and Interquartile Range (IQR) age 22.1 (18.1-29.1) years, BMI 22.9 (18.5-31.9) kg/m2) were recruited from the Hunter region (Australia). Fruit, vegetable and dietary carotenoid intakes were estimated by a validated food frequency questionnaire. Skin color was measured at nine body locations (sun exposed and unexposed sites) using spectrophotometry. Multiple linear regression was used to assess the relationship between fruit and vegetable intakes and skin yellowness adjusting for known confounders. Higher combined fruit and vegetable intakes (β = 0.8, p = 0.017) were associated with higher overall skin yellowness values. Higher fruit combined fruit and vegetable intakes (β = 1.0, p = 0.004) were associated with increased unexposed skin yellowness. Combined fruit and vegetables plus dietary carotenoid intakes contribute to skin yellowness in young Caucasian women. Evaluation of interventions using improvements in appearance as an incentive for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption in young women is warranted.

Keywords: dietary carotenoids; fruit; skin color; skin reflectance; vegetables.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Carotenoids / chemistry
  • Carotenoids / metabolism*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Food Analysis
  • Fruit / chemistry*
  • Humans
  • Pigments, Biological / metabolism*
  • Skin Pigmentation*
  • Vegetables / chemistry*
  • Whites
  • Young Adult


  • Pigments, Biological
  • Carotenoids