What is Keto Rash? Causes and Treatment

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If you are a person concerned about a healthy lifestyle, you have certainly heard about the ketogenic diet.

The keto diet is short for the ketogenic diet, a high-fat low-carb diet.

Consuming low carbohydrate foods makes the body function on ketones instead of glucose from carbohydrates. This makes your body burn fat for fuel, leading to weight loss.

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However, we need to keep in mind that there may be some side effects at the beginning of a ketogenic diet, which is a rather drastic change in the body.

Some of these effects can be tiredness, stomach ache, dizziness, and even keto rash.

In the following, you will find out what the keto rash means, which is the cause and how it can be prevented and treated.

What is Keto Rash?

Keto rash is a rather rare inflammatory disease of unknown origin; the exact cause of the disease is not yet known.

The rash has the form of penetrating and high skin lesions. These lesions may be red, brown, or pink, depending on what stage the condition is.

Keto rash is similar to eczema or dermatitis and usually occurs on the neck, shoulders, back, chest, torso, axial areas, and very rarely occurs on the face and extremities of the body.

Like any other rash, the keto eruption may get worse if you try to do exercises, expose the rash to moisture, heat and rub it.

Fortunately, even if this rash is inconvenient, it is not life-threatening.

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What are the Symptoms of Keto Rash?

Keto rash is a type of dermatitis that can occur in anyone, mostly in Asian women, according to studies involving young Japanese women.

Symptoms of rash may be:

  • some red spots, called papules that take on a web-like appearance;
  • a rash that makes you feel itchy;
  • occurs mainly in the upper back, chest, and abdomen;

Once the stains disappear, there are some brown markings on the skin;

What Triggers Low Carb Keto Rash?

Although several studies have been conducted based on keto rash, the exact cause of this condition has not been discovered, but there are some associated conditions such as Sjogren’s Syndrome, H. Pylori Infection, Still’s Disease.

Here’s a list of potential causes of keto rash:

  • Prolonged Fasting Intervals: During a study, 50% of people doing it got get rash because the blood sugar levels are extremely low and ketosis can trigger the rash.
  • Ketones – Acetone secretion may be the main culprit. At the beginning of the ketogenic diet, the level of acetone can increase so much that the body starts to sweat excess amount of acetone and which irritates the skin and causes the keto eruption.
  • Allergic Reactions – Starting this low carb lifestyle means adding foods that you were eating before and causing allergic reactions that lead to keto rash. Pay attention to the new foods added since starting the keto diet and try to see if there’s any new food that may cause it.
  • Lack of nutrients: Giving up an entire food group, and not taking in any supplements to get through the keto flu period can lead to nutrient deficiency and prurigo pigmentosa.
  • Candida die off

Some researchers have liked ketosis and prurigo pigmentosa, but the exact cause of the disease is yet to be determined.

There is a link between cutaneous rash and the presence of ketosis, which occurs as a result of a restrictive diet, but can also be seen in diabetics.

It has been discovered that some people have had a rash after having undergone some diet changes.

Some also think other factors can aggravate this condition as well as:

  • sunlight
  • excessive heat
  • sweating
  • rubbing the skin
  • cutaneous trauma
  • food allergies;

How Long Does Carbs Withdrawal Rash Last?

Unfortunately, no exact time was found in which the keto rash will disappear. For some people, it may take several weeks to months, while for others, it may take several months to a few years.

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Generally, the eruption disappears after one or two weeks. Very few people have the misfortune to experience this condition over a long period.

It is good to note that this rash will disappear if you address the cause and trigger factors.

How to Cure Keto Rash?

There are some ways to treat the keto rash:

  1. Reintroduce carbohydrates in your diet – If you think skin rash is due to the recent change in diet, it’s good to start increasing carbs. According to a 2008 study, it was concluded that reintroduction of carbohydrates into the diet has greatly improved the symptoms of the rash. If you do not want to stop the keto lifestyle totally, you can adopt a diet low in carbohydrates.
  2. Nutrient consumption – Nutritional deficiencies can play an important role in skin inflammation, predominantly vitamin A, vitamin B-12, and vitamin C. A restrictive diet does not give your body all the vitamins and minerals it needs. So, you need to eat colorful fruits and vegetables to get all the nutrients you need for your body.
  3. Add anti-inflammatory supplements to your diet – When there are changes to the diet, it’s a good idea to consume supplements that help your body fight inflammatory affections. These include probiotics, prebiotics, fish oil supplements, vitamin D, which helps relieve dermatitis symptoms.
  4. Take care of your skin – we all know how important skin care is, especially in the case of inflammatory skin diseases. The National Eczema Association recommends skin care using lukewarm water in the bathroom or shower, and skin cleansing only with delicate and special skin soaps and oils.
  5. Eliminates food allergens – Considering that keto diet involves low carbohydrate consumption and rich in fat, it involves eating foods such as milk, eggs, fish, nuts, seeds. These foods, unfortunately, are on the list of common food allergens. Food allergens are a source of inflammation and should, therefore, be removed from your diet in order not to aggravate the symptoms of the rash.
  6. Ask for appropriate medication from your doctor – We strongly recommend visiting your medical care provider to determine what caused this reaction and prescribe you the right treatment. The best medicines for this condition are Doxycycline and Minocycline antibiotics and Dapsone (has more side effects than the other two) is also used in this issue.
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How to Prevent Keto Rash?

Although the development of keto skin eruption is quite rare, you can prevent it through the following precautions at the beginning of the ketogenic diet:

  1. Gently reduce carbohydrate consumption – Drastic elimination of carbohydrates and the switch to a high-fat diet can come with a few side effects the body, so it is good to eliminate carbohydrates gradually. You can also add a multivitamin daily to reduce the potential for nutritional deficiency at the start of the keto diet.
  2. Consult a doctor – If you are concerned about the side effects of the ketogenic diet, it is good to talk to a doctor about these effects, including rash. The doctor can recommend a dietitian who can make you transition to the ketogenic diet safe.


Keto Rash is an unfortunate side effect of the ketogenic diet and it’s not very common. The exact cause is unknown yet, but ketone production is thought to trigger this condition of the skin but it’s we don’t know yet how the keto diet can cause this itchy rash.

Fortunately, there are methods to remedy keto rash, such as increasing carbohydrate consumption, anti-inflammatory foods, vitamins, minerals, and omega-3 supplements, avoiding skin irritation and proper cleansing. If none of these remedies work, it is advisable to go to the doctor.

The good news is that Keto Rash is rare and disappears if you follow the recommendations above.

You should also take care of the other side effects of a ketogenic diet and most importantly, take care of your health and take action when you experience the side effects of a diet.


Ioana is a food and travel lover. Her greatest passion is developing mouthwatering recipes that are comforting, easy to make, and budget friendly! She firmly believes that cooking should be fun! About me...

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Hello! My name is Ioana Borcea, and I'm here to provide you with mouthwatering recipes. This blog is all about sharing my favorite tested easy to make, delicious low-carb & keto, nutrient-dense recipes.

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