Keto Side Effects: How to Deal with Keto Rash

No one really knows for certain what triggers a keto rash but a correlation between the presence of ketones and sweat has been established.

woman with keto rash

The ketogenic diet is presently one of the most popular diets. And rightly so. With its numerous health benefits, more and more people are switching to this type of diet to enjoy what it can potentially offer them. However, not everything is rosy where this diet is concerned. There have been a couple of side effects attributed to the keto diet. One of which is the not-too-common keto rash. Here are some of the things you can do just in case you develop such an unfortunate reaction to ketosis.

What Ketosis Is All About

Before going into detail about keto rash, it is essential to go back to what ketosis is all about. The body goes into ketosis when it burns through glucose and uses fat as an alternative source of body fuel. This is the reason why this diet is really effective at weight loss because the body burns up fat rather than storing it. In order to get into a ketogenic state, you have to drastically reduce your carb intake while dramatically increasing good fat intake. The most popular keto ratio is 70% fat, 25% protein, and 5% carbohydrates. If you want to go high pro, you do 60% fat, 35% protein, and 5% carbohydrates.


While the keto rash is, indeed, an unfortunate side effect, it happens only in rare cases. For the most part, the ketogenic diet offers many potential benefits These include the following:

  • Effective at weight loss
  • Lowers bad cholesterol
  • Lowers risk of cardiovascular diseases
  • Enhances sensitivity to insulin
  • Regulates body glucose
  • Help treat symptoms of brain injury, Parkinson’s disease, and Alzheimer’s disease

Side Effects

While the keto diet can be really effective, in rare cases, some side effects have been reported. These could include fatigue, electrolyte imbalance, brain fog, and the main thing this article is addressing: keto rash.

Keto Rash

No one really knows for certain what triggers a keto rash but a correlation between the presence of ketones and sweat has been established. When ketones dry up on the skin, this might cause the itching. The good thing about the keto rash, formally known as prurigo pigmentosa, is that it can be addressed and it does go away over time. Here are some of the things to take note of if you or someone you know is prone to develop a keto rash.

Keto Rash Symptoms

The best thing is to have this condition diagnosed as soon as possible. This way, the problem can be addressed immediately. One of the key factors of early detection is knowing keto rash symptoms. Here are some of them:

  • Itchy, red rash particularly prevalent in certain areas such as the chest, abdomen, and back
  • Rashes look like spider webs.
  • A dark brown pattern that remains on the skin after the rash subsides


There are different ways to respond to keto rash. Here are some of them:

  1. Manage sweating. Since the most probably cause of keto rash is dried ketones on skin after sweating, what you want to do is to manage that. Take a shower after you exercise. Wear comfortable clothing so you do not sweat as much. Make sure you cool down after doing physical activity. Managing sweating lessens the risk of developing the rash or the recurrent of it.
  2. Look at what you are eating. If it is not the ketones in the sweat, certain nutrition deficiencies may be causing your keto rash which is typical for restrictive diet. Try to naturally increase Vitamins A, B12, and C. These three are really friendly to skin so they might help lessen the risk of having keto rash. Apart from the vitamins, you might also want to look at the type of food you are eating. Look into those that are the most allergy-inducing such as dairy, milk, eggs, peanuts, shellfish, fish, wheat, soy, avocado, celery, and so on. It would be best to discontinue intake of these to see if it can be the cause of the keto rash.
  3. Take care of your body. You might need to use external help to keep keto rash at bay. You can take anti-inflammatory supplements or you might need to put topical cream after bathing or showering using lukewarm water and gentle soap.
  4. Exit ketosis. If your keto rash is persistent, it is time to discontinue the diet. Have more carbohydrates, meanwhile, as your skin heals.
  5. See the doctor. Your doctor can give you a holistic way of dealing with keto rash once and for all. Intervention might encompass a mix of food intake, supplements, anti-inflammatory medication, and change in diet. You can then consult him or her if the ketogenic way is the right one for you given your adverse reaction to it.

A keto rash should not stop you from giving the keto diet a try. While yes this is an adverse reaction, you can adjust the way you keto in order to lessen the risk of developing this itchy situation. Best thing to do is to also bring expert keto advice. This way, you can design a keto diet plan that can truly fit your needs.

keto rash

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