Keto Rash: Symptoms, Causes and Treatment

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If you are up to date on the latest trends in lifestyle and diets, I am sure you must have heard of the keto diet. The ketogenic diet is based on the principle that the body can run on ketones, which are obtained from fats. This diet follows the rule of getting high fat and low carb meals. Due to low carbs, the body doesn’t run on glucose but instead takes ketones from the fats. This sudden change in the diet will lead to many side effects like weakness, electrolyte imbalance, and even keto rash. Let’s discuss further what keto rash is and how to cure it.

In this article:

What is Keto Rash?
Symptoms of Keto Rash
Causes of Keto Rash
Treatment of Keto Rash
Prevention of Keto Rash
Remedies for Keto Rash

All You Need to Know About Keto Rash

What is Keto Rash?

Keto rash is also known as prurigo pigmentosa. It is an inflammatory condition of the skin. It is a form of dermatitis. It is a bright red, itchy rash mainly on the upper part of the body like the trunk and neck of a person. The presentation of the keto rash is almost always symmetrical on both sides of the body. It causes a lot of itching, resulting in disturbed and poor sleep, and the side effects emerging from it. It is found that it affects women more than men. It can occur in anyone but is found commonly amongst Asian women.

keto rash

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From a number of studies, 3 main reasons have been found to be the cause of the keto rash which are :

  • Diets that work on the principle of ketosis
  • Exposure to skin irritants
  • Excessive emotional disturbances.

All cases of keto rashes can be classified as prurigo pigmentosa, but not all cases of prurigo pigmentosa can be called keto rashes.

Symptoms of Keto Rash

  • Keto rash on the face is possible as it can appear anywhere on the body, but it is rather uncommon for it to appear on the face.
  • It starts with the redness, inflammation which is found mainly on the chest, armpits, back, and abdomen. Itching is present in the areas of inflammation.
  • In the early stages, the rashes are pink colored and look like scratch marks.
  • In the fully developed stages, red-colored papules are seen, which are show the presence of liquid-filled cysts, or sometimes pus-filled They show a web-like appearance.
  • In the resolving stage, the papules start to form crusts in their outer layer, and the red papules begin to darken in color.
  • After the red spots are gone, they leave behind a brown-colored pattern on the skin. It is called as reticulated hyperpigmentation.
  • The appearance of the brown-colored pattern means that the rash is almost resolved, the pigmentation will remain for a few weeks and eventually disappear.

Keto rash can easily resemble other conditions of the skin like contact dermatitis, eczema, urticaria or drug reactions. One of the key features of keto rash, which makes it possible to differentiate it from the other skin eruptions, is the characteristic network – like brown pattern which takes the place of the red eruptions after they are gone.

Causes of Keto Rash

There is no solid connection between the keto diet and the keto rash. However, researchers have found some proof that ketosis and the rash are related to each other, hence the name “keto rash”. Ketosis is the basic foundation upon which the ketogenic diet is based.

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Ketosis occurs most commonly due to restrictions in the diet. If ketosis is associated with uncontrolled sugar levels it can lead to ketoacidosis, which can be fatal. Fasting, diabetes, hormonal changes, may also lead to ketosis and the development of keto rash.

External factors such as excessive heat, sweating, friction, sunlight may also aggravate the keto rash. Unfortunately, there is no set time frame for the rash to heal. In the best-case scenario, it may resolve in a couple of weeks but in the worst-case scenario, it is possible for some people to struggle with it for years.

Treatment of Keto Rash

  • The best way to treat keto rash immediately is the addition of carbs back into your diet. This improves your condition a lot. If you still wish to follow the keto diet, make sure that you still ingest carbs on a moderate level, to keep the keto rash at bay.
  • By depleting your body of the vitamins it needs, the rash will continue to spread. It is a known fact that vitamins play an important role in the skin, as well as your body. Add assorted fruits and vegetables to fill your body with the nutrients it was lacking.
  • Some of the most common food products eaten on a keto diet are fish, nuts and milk products. It is possible that you might have developed an allergy to some of these foods, so you need to eliminate them from your diet.
  • Skincare is an essential part of the treatment, but most of us take it for granted. You may make excuses like it is time – consuming or that you forget about it, but for the keto rash to disappear completely you may need to pay extra attention to your skincare habits. Clean your skin with gentle soaps and with lukewarm water. Keep your skin moisturized and put on some sunscreen if you are staying out in the sunlight.
  • The rash will rarely go away on its own if you do not find and remove the cause.

Prevention of Keto Rash

By making a few changes in your lifestyle, it is possible to keep the keto rash away.

  • Supplement a multivitamin when you start your diet so that your body doesn’t experience any deficiencies.
  • Lower your carb intake slowly rather than doing it at once. Your body will get time to get accustomed to the new diet you follow and will progressively make changes to adapt. This is better than an abrupt change which will have a bad impact on your body.

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Remedies for Keto Rash

If your keto rash fails to go away after the changes you have made in your lifestyle, consult a doctor. He is likely to start you on a course of antibiotics like doxycycline. Complete the course, along with a balanced diet full of nutritional food.

Instead of going on a keto diet, it is better to go for a balanced one and gradually lose weight rather than sending your body on a breakdown.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5945928/

www.healthline.com

www.medicalnewstoday.com

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