Soy Sauce & Skin: Facts Behind the Darkening Myth


Last Updated on 2023-06-04 , 10:47 am

You may have come across an old saying that asserts eating soy sauce will darken your skin. This fascinating theory sparked our curiosity, and we decided to delve deeper to ascertain its credibility. But how much of it is grounded in reality?

There are popular beliefs cautioning us to steer clear of soy sauce post-surgery or injury, citing that it could “turn the wound dark.”

Moreover, if you find your skin darkening, people might advise cutting down on soy sauce. It’s often said that “You are what you eat,” but to what extent does it hold true in this case?

Does Soy Sauce Make Your Skin Darker?

Well, the definitive answer to the myth that eating soy sauce darkens your skin is a resounding no.

If it were true that consuming dark-colored foods caused skin darkening, then we would have to forgo a plethora of other edibles, including chocolate and seaweed.

Tires would be on that list too if they were part of the usual diet!

Understanding the Link between Soy Sauce and Skin Color

It is true that soy sauce contains an amino acid called tyrosine, which can contribute to skin darkening.

Often used in tanning lotions, tyrosine is naturally produced in our bodies. When exposed to the sun, tyrosine transforms into melanin, the pigment responsible for dark skin.

Before you begin questioning our previous statement, let us clarify why we asserted that the concept of soy sauce darkening skin is a myth.

Many Food, Other Than Soy Sauce Contains Tyrosine

Numerous foods contain tyrosine, and some even have higher levels than soy sauce. A few examples include lima beans, fava beans, lentils, snow peas, brewer’s yeast, beer, and red wine.

Now, you might be tempted to avoid these foods to maintain a fair complexion. However, it’s essential to realize that the impact of consuming foods with tyrosine on skin color is essentially negligible.

No matter how tyrosine enters your body (whether orally or topically), your body uses it as needed, and excessive intake won’t increase melanin production or enhance tanning.

Consequently, ingesting tyrosine won’t cause melanoma. Tyrosine is simply a melanin building block, and you still need UV exposure for tanning.

Essentially, without sun exposure, you won’t develop darker skin.

How About Scars?

As we’ve established, soy sauce doesn’t directly affect your skin color or scar appearance.


Like with skin, it won’t darken your scars because your skin tone and scars’ darkness are influenced by factors beyond just your dietary intake of tyrosine.

Does Soy Sauce Stain?

Yes, soy sauce can leave stains, but only on materials like fabric and not on your skin. So, while it’s wise to be careful while handling soy sauce to avoid clothing stains, you don’t have to worry about it staining or darkening your skin.

So, feel free to liberally add soy sauce to your dishes without worrying about its effects on your skin. Enjoy your meal!