Best Benefits of Beta Carotene for Skin and Hair Health

Dr. Ashish Bhora

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ashish Bhora


10 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Beta carotene contains powerful antioxidant properties
  • Beta carotene can strengthen immunity and prevent cancer
  • Beta carotene can prevent dandruff and promote hair growth

There are around 500 different carotenoids and an important one you should know about is beta carotene. The name is derived from the Latin word for carrot. β-Carotene is a plant pigment that gives yellow and orange fruits and vegetables their vibrant color. It is considered a provitamin A because your body can convert it into retinol or vitamin A. It contains powerful antioxidant properties [1] and your body needs these for optimal function.

The Beta carotene vitamin offers you many health benefits. It is great for your skin and hair health. You even get these supplements for skin health as it can reduce skin rashes and help you have glowing skin. It is excellent for hair growth and can be your go-to dandruff treatment option. Read on to know all about the different β -Carotene skin and hair benefits.

Additional Read: What Is Dandruff and How to Get Rid Of It?

What exactly is Beta Carotene?

Beta Carotene

Initially extracted from the roots of carrots, beta carotene is the pigment found naturally and abundantly in plants, because of which fruits and vegetables have brilliant hues because of carotenoids. The following are some important facts regarding beta-carotene:

  • The world of plants and algae is thought to contain 500 distinct carotenoids, including beta-carotene, alpha-carotene, lutein, cryptoxanthin, and zeaxanthin
  • It is an organic compound that is precisely categorized as a terpenoid and a hydrocarbon chemically
  • The rich hues of the yellow and orange fruits and vegetables are due to a pigment with a strong color
  • Once consumed, it transforms into vitamin A (retinol), which the body uses for a variety of biological processes
  • Moreover, vitamin A functions as an antioxidant to shield cells from the harm caused by dangerous free radicals
  • Due to their role as precursors in the body's manufacturing of vitamin A, beta carotene and several other carotenoids are often referred to as "provitamin A"
  • Lycopene, lutein, and zeaxanthin are some examples of other carotenoids that cannot be converted into vitamin A
  • The beta carotene and other carotenoids in a vegetarian diet make up around 50% of vitamin A. Moreover, beta-carotene is made synthetically or from sources including palm oil, algae, and fungi
  • Glycoprotein synthesis depends on vitamin A. It is turned into retinoic acid, which is then employed for procedures including cell growth and differentiation, and is crucial for vision

What are the health benefits of beta-carotene?

Builds the Immune System

The thymus gland is one of the important parts of your immune system and it is a vital source of immune protection. It enables your immune system to kill viruses and infections. It helps destroy cancerous cells and prevents them from spreading. Beta carotene activates the thymus gland and strengthens your immune system.

Boosts Cardiovascular Health

Beta carotene improves your cardiovascular health by partnering with vitamin E to reduce bad cholesterol. This further lowers the risk of you developing coronary heart disease and atherosclerosis [2]. These are benefits you shouldn’t pass up, especially if you’re at risk. Switch to a diet rich in β-Carotene to reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Beta Carotene food

Improves Cognitive Function

Beta carotene improves cognitive function due to its antioxidant effects. Research suggests that consuming fruits and vegetables rich in β-Carotene can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. It reduces the risk of conditions like dementia [4]. This vitamin can also fight oxidative stress that is known to damage brain cells.

Aids in Preventing Macular Degeneration

The eye condition known as age-related macular degeneration causes the macula in charge of central vision to degenerate. Eating enough beta carotene (15 mg) and other nutrients (ARMD) can slow down age-related macular degeneration.

Enhances Respiratory Health

Consuming enough beta carotene can prevent breathing disorders such as:

Consuming foods containing a high amount of beta carotene can relieve respiratory ailments and increase your lung capacity. A study involving over 2,500 people found that eating fruits and vegetables rich in carotenoids can protect against lung cancer [5].

Prevents Certain Cancers

Beta carotene has an antioxidant capacity that helps lower the risk of several cancers. Research states that consuming foods rich in antioxidants like β-Carotene protects against the formation of certain cancers [3]. This includes:

  • premenopausal breast cancer
  • colon cancer
  • oral cavity cancer
  • lung cancer
  • pancreatic cancer

This vitamin also helps keep your body cells healthy, thereby preventing the growth of cancer cells.

Prevents Metabolic Syndrome

An accumulation of illnesses known as metabolic syndrome raises the risk of diabetes and heart disease. If you experience at least three of the following symptoms, you have metabolic syndrome:

  • High blood pressure
  • Elevated blood sugar
  • High cholesterol
  • Extra body fat around the waist
  • High levels of triglycerides

In a 910-person observational research, those with higher levels of beta-carotene had a decreased chance of getting metabolic syndrome during the following ten years. Moreover, their likelihood of having elevated cholesterol was decreased (dyslipidaemia). [1]

Beta Carotene

Prevents Diabetes

Many studies support the claim that people who get sufficient beta carotene in their bodies have a lower risk of diabetes. They are also less likely to get affected by impaired glucose tolerance. So, eat foods rich in β-Carotene to help prevent diabetes.

Reduced Levels of Uric Acid

Gout and kidney stones can result from high uric acid levels. In an observational study involving approximately 14,000 participants (hyperuricemia), low beta-carotene levels were associated with higher uric acid levels. [2]

Prevents Rheumatoid Arthritis

A lack of vitamin C and β-Carotene in your body is associated with rheumatoid arthritis. It is vital to protect yourself from getting arthritis.

Potential Radiation Protection

Beta-carotene supplementation significantly reduced cell damage in 709 kids exposed to various radiation exposures before and after the Chornobyl tragedy. In rats, radioactive iodine, which is used to diagnose thyroid diseases, was significantly radioprotective and antimutagenic by beta-carotene. [3

What are the Beta Carotene benefits for skin?

Beta Carotene: Benefits on Skin

Beta carotene gets converted into vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is necessary for healthy skin. This vitamin acts as an antioxidant and helps you prevent premature aging. It helps reduce oxygen damage by ultraviolet rays, pollutants, and other environmental factors. Consuming this vitamin makes your skin look attractive and beautiful by imparting a

natural glow to your skin. Some reports even suggest that high amounts of beta carotene can make your skin less sensitive to the sun.

Getting enough of this nutrient in your foods is effective against skin conditions like dry skin, eczema, and psoriasis. It can be used for the treatment of oral leukoplakia [6] and scleroderma [7] too.

The following are some benefits of beta carotene on the skin in detail:

Defends Against Premature Aging

Beta carotene inhibits premature skin ageing as an antioxidant that lessens oxygen damage brought on by UV light, smog, and other environmental dangers like smoking. However, excessive consumption should be avoided because it can turn your nose, palms of your hands, nose, and even the whites of your eyes pumpkin yellow.

Cuts down on Sun Sensitivity

Your skin experiences less sun-sensitive when you consume adequate amounts of beta carotene. Thus, it is especially advantageous for those who have erythropoietic protoporphyria. Moreover, it may increase the efficiency of sunscreen. In addition, beta-carotene consumption may protect against UV deterioration.

Treatment for Oral Leucoplakia

Years of smoking or drinking alcohol can lead to a disorder called oral leucoplakia, which is characterised by white lesions in the mouth or tongue. Beta-carotene consumption lowers the signs and likelihood of having this illness.

Assists With Scleroderma Therapy

A connective tissue illness called scleroderma is characterised by rigid skin, and low blood levels of beta carotene are the cause of it. For those who have scleroderma, beta-carotene pills are regarded to be beneficial.

Treats a variety of Skin Diseases

Skin disorders like eczema, psoriasis, and dry skin can be effectively treated with beta-carotene. As a potent antioxidant, vitamin A is useful for healing open ulcers, impetigo, boils, carbuncles, and age spots when applied externally. Moreover, it hastens the recovery of cuts, wounds, and skin blemishes.

Hair Benefits of Beta Carotene

Beta Carotene: Benefits on Hair

A deficiency in vitamin A can lead to dry, dull hair, and a dry scalp. This can flake off into dandruff. Consuming foods rich in β-Carotene can prevent dandruff and other conditions. Another sign you should look for is thinning hair, as it is a sign of vitamin deficiency. You can stop or control these issues by consuming enough beta carotene vitamin through natural foods. Beta carotene repairs fragile and damaged hair, promotes hair growth, and has overall benefits for people with thin hair.

Additional Read: How to Stop Hair Fall: 20 Easy Ways to Reduce Hair Loss

The following are the top benefits of beta carotene on hair:

Prevents Dandruff and Other Hair Issues

A lack of vitamin A can lead to dry hair that is dull and lifeless, as well as a dry scalp that can flake off into dandruff. Thus, eating foods high in beta-carotene is essential for avoiding these diseases.

Promotes Hair Growth

Poor nutrition is a major contributor to hair thinning, especially in women. So, eating the recommended daily allowance of beta-carotene if you have hair loss is advised to reduce hair loss and promote hair regrowth.

Makes hair shinier

Beta carotene aids in cell and follicle generation on the scalp. It also maintains follicles, resulting in shiny and beautiful hair. 

Protects hair from the sun damage

It has anti-inflammatory properties, which protect the scalp from free radicals and the inflammation caused by the sun. 

Stops the growth of unwanted microbes

Beta carotene also has antimicrobial peptides, which stop the production of microbes around the root of the hair. 

What are the Possible Side Effects that you should be aware of

Beta carotene supplements are not connected to significant side effects, even at high supplement levels of 20–30 mg per day, according to the National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NCCIH)Trusted Source. [4]

Over time, consuming exceptionally high quantities of beta carotene can cause carotenoderma, a benign disorder where the skin turns yellow-orange.

However, it's advised that smokers, and maybe ex-smokers, avoid beta carotene pills and multivitamins that contain more than 100% of the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, either in the form of preformed retinol or beta carotene. This is due to research that links high supplement doses of these minerals to a higher risk of lung cancer in smokers.

It's also critical to remember that consuming large amounts of any antioxidant in supplement form can impair the body's natural defences and interfere with the absorption of other critical nutrients.

Instead of using beta-carotene tablets, health professionals typically advise eating a diet high in fruits and vegetables packed with antioxidants and other vital nutrients.

What should be the dosage of Beta Carotene?

Beta Carotene: Recommended Dosage

If your diet consists of a variety of veggies then you don't have to consume supplements for beta-carotene.

Vegetables contain provitamin A carotenoids and vitamin A, which satisfy the daily vitamin A recommendations (measured in retinol activity equivalents) (RAE).

Adult males need 900 mcg of RAE daily, whereas adult females need 700 mcg. Women who are pregnant or nursing need 770 mcg and 1,300 mcg of RAE, respectively.

A tolerable upper intake level (UL) has been established for preformed vitamin A but not for provitamin A carotenoids like beta carotene. This is due to the fact that even at large concentrations, beta-carotene and other carotenoids are unlikely to have negative effects on health. However, remember that supplements containing beta-carotene differ from foods high in pigment in that they can adversely affect health.

Preformed vitamin A has an upper limit (UL) of 3,000 mcg for both men and women, including those who are pregnant or nursing.

Speak to your doctor about your specific requirements and potential hazards if you're thinking about taking supplements.

Disease Interactions

Disease interactions with beta-carotene:

Beta-carotene and two different diseases have been shown to interact with each other.

  • Malabsorption syndrome
  • Hepatobiliary dysfunction

There are many sources of β-Carotene such as apricots, carrots, and spinach. You should do your best to include these beta carotene-rich foods in your diet. To get a proper meal plan and advice on vital nutrients, find doctors on Bajaj Finserv Health. Book a virtual appointment and get the best hair and skincare tips for men and women.

Published on 23 Nov 2021Last updated on 12 Apr 2023

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.

Dr. Ashish Bhora

Medically reviewed by

Dr. Ashish Bhora




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