Yellow Skin Among Adults: Cause, Symptom and Treatment

Known as jaundice, yellow skin can happen for several different reasons. Liver disease is the most common reasons for it. A majority of the time, it is from the hepatitis virus, cholangitis or alcohol. Someone can also develop a yellowing of the skin from consuming an abundance of carrot juice or carrots. Jaundice in adults can result from several different medical conditions, some that are quite serious and potentially life-threatening. Any adult who has developed jaundice will need to go through a comprehensive medical exam to find the cause.

What Causes Yellow Skin in Adults?

The yellowing of the whites of the eyes and the skin is known as jaundice. It is caused by a buildup in the blood and tissues of the body of a substance called bilirubin. In adults, jaundice is many times indicative of:

Symptoms of Jaundice in Adults Besides Yellow Skin

Jaundice is not a disease, but instead a visible sign of an underlying disease process. Anyone with jaundice will have a yellow discoloration of the skin in different degrees, and could also show yellowing of the mucous membranes of the whites of the eyes. Depending on the underlying cause of the jaundice, however, different people can show different symptoms. Some might have very few symptoms if any at all, while others might experience symptoms that are more pronounced and severe. People with jaundice could experience any of the following symptoms and signs:

How to Treat Yellow Skin in Adults


Jaundice is diagnosed by recognizing the patient’s appearance and the symptoms that accompany it. A blood test will confirm that the bilirubin levels are raised, and other tests will be used as well like the ones for hemolysis and hepatitis, which are done on the blood.

An ultrasound is a good way to look at the bile ducts and liver for any signs of obstruction that can many times give useful information on the pancreas gland. CT scanning can also help to diagnose obstructive jaundice accurately.


The jaundice treatment will completely depend upon what the underlying cause is. After the diagnosis has been figured out, the right course of treatment can be started. Some patients will need hospitalization, while others could be managed as outpatients at home.

How to Prevent Yellow Skin in Adults

Jaundice may be prevented by staying away from the underlying cause. These can include:

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