The keto diet is a widely popular low carb diet. The focus is on reducing carbohydrate intake to less than 30 grams a day so that the body stops relying on glucose for its energy and starts burning ketones from stored fats.
People who are on the keto diet can eat high-quality fats; in fact, they should consume 75 percent of their calories from high-quality fats. There are many health benefits to the keto diet, including greater energy levels, weight loss, and healthy eating.
However, as people make this change from eating high-carb processed foods, there are some potential side effects as the body goes through the adjustment.
As the body is transitioning from functioning one way for a lifetime to the new process of burning stored fats, people can experience brain fogginess, feeling tired, and sometimes a keto rash.
Take a look at the symptoms of keto rash, what can cause it, and how to treat it and even prevent it from happening.
What Is the Keto Rash?
The keto rash is a condition where the skin is inflamed. It is called prurigo pigmentosa, and it sometimes shows up on people in the beginning of ketosis.
When it first appears, there are raised skin lesions that are itchy. They vary in color from brown to red to light pink, and it is uncomfortable, but it is not dangerous.
Its appearance is similar to eczema or dermatitis, and it is found on the upper body and neck areas. Occasionally, it appears on the face or back area as well depending on how extreme it becomes.
If you don’t take care of yourself, and this will be discussed further below, it can become worse.
In the beginning, it looks like pink scratch marks.
It is easy to not think much of it. As it develops, the scratch marks become lesions, and liquid or pus-filled cysts can appear.
At this point, it is very itchy and uncomfortable. Even though it isn’t dangerous, you will want to take care not to aggravate the rash.
What Are the Causes of the Keto Rash?
There are keto-related results that may trigger the rash, including the following:
- Ketones: When your body produces acetone during ketosis, it can cause perivascular inflammation that brings out the rash.
- Extreme Fasting: As your body depletes your glucose reserves to switch to ketosis, the switch may trigger the rash.
- Low-Carb Diet: A low-carb diet has been linked to the condition. See the following Article.
- Allergic Reaction: Some people may be allergic to keto-friendly foods.
- Nutrient Deficiency: The rash may be caused by a nutrient deficiency from cutting nutrients out of your diet and not replacing them with keto-friendly nutrient-dense foods.
There are different possible causes of the rash, but they are mostly related to a lack of nutrients or allergies, as well as the switch from using glucose for energy to using ketones from stored fats. It call also be a candida die-off as well from the lack of carbohydrates in the system.
The best thing you can do is work with your doctor to treat the symptoms and learn how to alleviate the discomfort and itching.
How to Treat the Keto Rash
It can be difficult to give a specific cure for the keto rash because it is linked to the low-carb keto diet, but the link is unclear. With that being said, there are ways how to get rid of the keto rash and ways that you can treat your symptoms.
Take a look at the following methods.
Wait a Week or Two: If the rash is a result of your body’s transition into ketosis, it may go away by itself once your body adjusts to its new way of making energy.
Take a couple of weeks to see if the rash resolves on its own. If it doesn’t you should move on to other methods.
Increase Your Carb Intake
To determine whether ketosis has caused the rash, increase your carb intake just enough to go out of ketosis to see if the rash clears up.
If this works, reduce your carb intake to get your body back into ketosis, and if the rash reappears, you will know that ketosis is the cause. You may want to explore alternate methods of dieting that include higher carbs combined with intermittent fasting.
Use an Elimination Diet to Explore Potential Allergens
Try to isolate certain foods if you have recently added new items or increased how much of a food you eat. Foods to check for are dairy products, eggs, fish, and nuts.
These are common foods that may cause allergies. Start by removing the suspected allergen, and see if your rash clears up. If it does, add in one food at a time. If the rash comes back, you will know which food is causing it.
Try Taking Supplements
In case your rash is the result of a nutrient deficiency, you can try taking a micronutrient dense supplement with trace elements.
Avoid Heat or Exercise
Be sure to avoid anything that makes the rash more itchy or uncomfortable. Try to stay away from exercise until it clears up, as sweat can exacerbate the rash. Wear comfortable loose fitting clothes, and don’t scratch. Use lotion to keep your skin moisturized.
The important thing is to find out what is causing your rash through trial and error, and then avoid whatever triggers the rash in your body.
How to Prevent the Keto Rash
Knowing what can cause the keto rash makes it possible to take steps to try to prevent it. If you are concerned about getting the rash, try the following:
- Gradually reduce your carb intake
- Increase your carb intake if you see signs of the rash
- Take supplements to prevent a nutrient deficiency
Although the best way to find out whether or not you will get the rash is to see if it appears, you can take these precautions to reduce your odds of it appearing.
Most people find that the keto rash is mild, but there have been some extreme cases of people developing a severe reaction which requires a medical professional to diagnose and treat.
If you find yourself uncomfortable to any degree- its best to get yourself checked.
And remember, undoing a lifetime of unhealthy eating can come with some unexpected consequences. Don’t give up! Find support in your friends and family and others who have done this before you.
We know and understand the path isn’t always easy, but the journey and the end goal are worth it.