Keto Diet And Skin Health

keto and skin health

On a total keto diet, your body is restricted into a natural metabolic state called ketosis. During ketosis, your body breaks down ketones from fat, which becomes your body’s basic source of vitality, rather than carbohydrates or protein. While this altered ability to eat can affect your overall health, it likewise has some specific effects on your skin. However, a nutrient-rich keto diet has helped people reduce skin conditions like skin inflammation. In others, however, a full keto diet has triggered problems such as  rosacea or even rashes. This article throws light on how a keto diet can help reduce and manage skin problems.

How Does The Keto Diet Affect Your Skin?

In addition to the weight loss benefits of the keto diet, there is a wealth of anecdotal evidence that people who commit to a keto diet find that their skin ends up looking younger and more vibrant, and their once thinning hair becomes shiny and strong. Some low-carb dieters have even reported a significant reduction in the appearance of scars and improvements in skin conditions such as eczema.

While no studies have directly linked the keto diet to skin health, medical experts seem to believe that the keto diet can be anti-aging. Among the many culprits of the aging process are elevated levels of glucose, insulin and triglycerides. Since a keto diet can lower these glucose, triglyceride and insulin levels, this low-carb diet may also have a positive impact on your skin health.

Let’s take a closer look at the positive and negative effects of a ketogenic diet on your skin.

The Positive Effects of Keto on the Skin

Reduces Inflammation

When we eat carbohydrates, especially those high in sugar, our glucose levels rise and our bodies produce more insulin to convert it into energy. One of the downsides of this process is that insulin can lead to inflammation. Therefore, when you reduce your intake of simple carbohydrates with a low-carb keto diet, you are reducing insulin production and minimizing the risk of inflammation throughout the body.

Elevated insulin levels in the body lead to inflammation and skin redness, which can also lead to other skin conditions such as eczema, rosacea and psoriasis.

Your skin can benefit from the positive anti-inflammatory effects of a low-carb diet, reducing redness and an overall healthier appearance. Eating less sugar and carbohydrates will also help your skin look younger and more radiant – a win-win.


Keto diets are believed to help firm skin because they are very low in carbohydrates and refined sugars. Too much sugar in the diet leads to glycation (the combination of sugar and protein), which in turn weakens collagen, leading to wrinkles, fine lines and sagging skin. Therefore, significantly reducing the consumption of carbohydrates and sugars in the diet should improve overall skin firmness.

The keto diet also emphasizes eating foods rich in omega-3 and -6 fatty acids, nutrients that are understood to protect against sun damage. At the same time, this diet omits the trans fats commonly found in fried and processed foods, which are known to cause inflammation, acne and collagen loss.

Relieve Oxidative Stress

When your body runs on ketones, it produces more glutathione, which has an antioxidant effect. The reduced oxidative stress can improve psoriasis and other skin conditions.

Reduces Acne Breakouts

“There’s not a lot of research on how a keto diet affects skin health, but theoretically, a keto diet could be beneficial for acne,” said registered dietitian Suzanne Dixon. “”Higher levels of insulin and related hormones can make acne worse, and a keto diet lowers insulin levels.” she added.

Reduced Skin Cancer Risks

In 1931, Otto Warburg was awarded the Nobel Prize for an amazing discovery. He discovered that cancer cells prefer to be metabolized through glycolysis. This would make the keto diet a suitable way to starve cancer cells. It also showed some promise in reducing tumors. 

Encourages Consumption of Skin-boosting Foods

“Many skin-friendly foods can be included in a keto diet,” says Alisha Temples, a licensed dietitian with Fueled and Fed Nutrition.” These foods include non-starchy vegetables such as spinach, kale, cucumbers and cauliflower,” she explains. Other foods include plant-based sources of fat, such as olive oil and avocado, and fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel and sardines, she added.

The Negative Effects of Keto on the Skin

Keto Rash

Keto rash, also known as pigmented pruritus, is one of the negative effects associated with the early stages of ketosis. Due to the keto diet and ketosis state, the skin becomes irritated and itchy.

Pigmented urticaria is a rare form of dermatitis that causes a network of red itchy bumps and patches on the skin. These rashes usually affect the upper part of the body, including the neck, chest and back, but not usually the face.

The exact cause of pigmented urticaria is unknown, but it is associated with a state of ketosis because it tends to appear in people following a keto diet, people who are fasting, or people with diabetes. For this reason, it is known as the “keto rash”.

Fortunately, not everyone who tries a keto diet will develop a keto rash. If you find yourself suffering from this itchy rash, your treatment can include keeping your skin well hydrated, avoiding contact with the affected area, and topical medication as prescribed by your doctor.

Impact Gut Bacteria

“Keto diets are high in protein and fat, but lack fiber-rich sources,” says registered dietitian Kelly Springer. This can damage gut bacteria and lead to nutritional deficiencies, she says. Our skin, hair and nails are usually affected first, she suggests, because the body sends nutrients to the heart, liver and brain to keep the body alive.


To sum up, the keto diet exert both positive and negative effects on your skin. You can change some parts of the diet accordingly. Ultimately, if you’re hoping to use keto to help clear your skin, talk to your doctor and dermatologist before trying it out to see if it’s safe for you. 

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