Every once in a while people will contact me about a rash that they think might be keto-rash. I do my best to respond to all of them, and sometime I hear back and sometimes I don’t. Well here’s a case where someone with a rash tried treating it by increasing their carb intake and provided wonderful followup.
In early December I received this e-mail from a visitor named Apryl:
“I found this page by Googling “low carb diet rash”… after breaking out into a rash under my breast and rib cage area. It wasn’t itchy at first but now it is getting itchy and spreading.
It showed up within days of dropping my carb intake to 20g net. ( was around 100g before and also included grains) I have tracked my calories and foods on fitness pal app so I know for sure the timing coincides.
My weight is down to almost 130 now so I am going to up my carb intake to at least 150. Using fruit and other high carb veggies… sweet potato and plantains. Which I have been missing 🙂
Hopefully it will start to show improvement. I’ve never tested with strips as to whether or not I was in ketosis.
Just curious (to the owner of this blog)… How many carbs per day were you consuming when the rash started to show improvement? and did you add back grains as those carbs?”
I replied by saying that I noticed the rash began to abate when I ate at least 100 gm of carbs, however whenever I noticed the rash coming on I normally ate far more than 100 gm.
I asked her how things were going and a few days later this is what she said:
“This is only my second day upping my carbs. No improvement yet. Totally stressing me out too haha.
Benadryl doesn’t really seem to affect it either.
I’m gonna shoot for 100 grams also. Because that’s about where I was before I dropped to 20 net. And when I was at 100 I was still having small amount of grains as well as wheat. I’m not going to stop any other foods I been eating just add back carbs with fruit and veggies.
I honestly think that the rash is almost an immune response. The weirdest thing. Was so happy to find our blog though. My rash looks just like yours and is in the same area. I will try and send a pic… I happen to have some diaper rash ointment with zinc oxide and smothered that on there so it looks faded but really it is super red. “
Apryl was even kind enough to send a picture (included above). About 4 days later, she sent me a follow up email:
“It got better within days! Thank goodness. I’m saying in the range between 75 and 100 grams of carbs and around 1500 calories. I’m convinced it wasn’t a food allergy, as I only added foods back in.
I still think it was an immune reaction. I also read somewhere that there is a rash brought on by low cholesterol. Can’t remember the name of the rash but you should easily come across it if you google.
I hope more people come forward and this thing gets figured out before we cause any unneeded permanent damage to ourselves [Emphasis mine].
I wonder a lot about the immunity association and the antibiotics you took. If they helped because it helped with inflammation and not because it was a rash from bacteria.??? Who the hell knows! Haha “
When I asked Apryl what she thought of this post so far, she added:
“I would definitely emphasize that I didn’t not add grains back into my diet and that I also eat dairy… Mostly fermented dairy. And that I was not eating any grains when I was in ketosis.
Also, I was eating this way (Paleo’ish… Grain free and sugar free) for about a month BEFORE the rash set it. It just showed up once I dropped from around 100 to a strict 20 carbs.
I have not to tried to induce the rash again by dropping to that level like you have. I feel like my diet is much more nutrient dense at 100 to 150 carbs. I also did not gain back any weight eating this way.
I fluctuate between 130 and 135. I may try extra low carb again in the future and see what happens. If I do I will send you an update. Thank you so much for all your hard work.”
I was so glad to hear that she was able to treat her rash and discovered what worked for her to both maintain her weight while keeping the rash away (carbs in the range of 75-100 gm).
Getting this sort of follow up goes a long way in helping others who are dealing with the same thing.
If you think you are experiencing the same thing and are willing to share your experience please don’t hesitate to contact me. The more cases we can organize and put together the better!