How does Canthaxanthin work?

Canthaxanthin is a dye similar to the carotenes in vegetables such as carrots. It deposits in the skin to produce an artificial "tan." It might protect against sun sensitivity through antioxidant activity.

Are there safety concerns?

Canthaxanthin appears to be unsafe. It can cause damage to the eyes when taken at doses used for tanning or medicinal uses. At high doses, it has caused a serious, potentially fatal blood disorder called aplastic anemia. It can also cause diarrhea, nausea, stomach cramps, dry and itchy skin, hives, orange or red body secretions, and other side effects.

Do not take canthaxanthin if:
  • You are pregnant or breast-feeding.
  • You are allergic to vitamin A or carotenoids.

Dosing considerations for Canthaxanthin.

The following doses have been studied in scientific research:

  • For reducing and treating rash, itch, and/or eczema (symptoms of photosensitivity) in people with erythropoietic protoporphyria (EPP) when they are exposed to sunlight: 60 to 90 mg of canthaxanthin daily on average for three to five months per year.

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You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.