by Laurice Wardini

Although the keto diet is an excellent diet for quick weight loss, there are disadvantages that some people experience. One of these being an itchy rash, often called keto rash. Since it’s such a new phenomenon, experts are still unsure exactly what causes it – we just know it tends to show up when the body is in ketosis for long periods of time. 

Although it’s unattractive and uncomfortable, it doesn’t affect your health. Even so, you’re probably searching for ways to get rid of this gnarly rash. We share tips you can try out below! 


What Is Keto Rash?

This rare, itchy, bumpy, red rash takes on a web-like appearance. Once these spots disappear, a dark brown pattern is left where the spots were. It looks similar to eczema or dermatitis and typically emerges on the back, neck, chest, shoulders, torso, and armpit areas (although less common, it can show up on the face and other areas). The rash worsens when exposed to friction, sweat, heat, and other irritants. 

The technical name for this rash is prurigo pigmentosa. It primarily shows up on people following keto diets, but can also show up in other circumstances. For example, people who fast often, have lost a lot of weight too quickly, or have Type 1 diabetes have experienced the rash as well. 


Why Does Keto Rash Occur?

Experts aren’t 100% sure why this phenomenon occurs, but they have theories. One speculation is that people following keto diets may be eating large quantities of allergens such as dairy, eggs, and seafood since the diet is very high in fat. These can trigger reactions that cause issues such as skin problems and joint pain. 

This is one reason we recommend plant-based keto. If you find yourself with a bad case of keto rash, try switching to plant-based before giving up entirely. This cuts out all of the animal-based allergens that could be causing the rash. Our keto series of products is plant-based, made specifically to keep your body in ketosis and follow the macronutrient guidelines. 

Plant-based keto has plenty of additional benefits. There are plenty of tasty foods and recipes you can create on the diet. 


Plant-Based Keto Foods

  • Coconut-Based Fats (milk, butter, oil, yogurt, kefir)
  • Vegetables (grown above ground – asparagus, cauliflower, cabbage, zucchini, etc.)
  • Low-Glycemic Fruits (avocado, berries) 
  • Fermented Foods (kimchi, sauerkraut, pickled vegetables) 
  • Sea Vegetables (kelp, dulse, arame, and so on)
  • Stevia & Monk Fruit Sweeteners
  • Plant-Based Cheese
  • Shirataki Noodles
  • Vegetable Broth
  • Leafy Greens
  • Raw Cacao
  • Hemp Seeds
  • Avocado Oil
  • Mushrooms
  • Seitan

How to Get Rid of Keto Rash

In addition to switching to plant-based keto, there are some other methods you can try to get rid of keto rash. 

Anti-Inflammatory Foods & Supplements – Keto rash is a result of inflammation, so you can try to combat it by eating more anti-inflammatory foods. A few examples are turmeric, low carb vegetables, low carb fruits, olive oil, omega-3 supplements, sodium, magnesium, and potassium. Also, make sure to drink plenty of water since most people lose high amounts of fluids when starting keto.


Ask Your Doctor – A few cases have been treated by doctors with antibiotics. If nothing else is working, ask your doctor to see if there are any antibiotics they can offer you. 


Be Patient – Some people have found that the rash goes away after a few weeks of waiting it out. However, it can also come and go. 


Eat More Carbs – Unfortunately, many people find that the only way to get rid of keto rash is to slowly introduce carbs back into their diet. Consider paleo as an alternative to lose weight in a healthy manner. This diet eliminates unhealthy, processed foods and replaces them with whole foods. Weight loss will naturally occur, just not as quickly as keto. 

Bottom Line

Unfortunately, keto rash is such a new phenomenon that there isn’t much research to tell you what's going on. Even the experts can’t say exactly what it is and why it occurs. If you’re experiencing this uncomfortable side effect of the keto diet, don’t give up yet – try our recommendations above to combat the rash.

Laurice Wardini
Laurice Wardini


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