Melanie’s Keto Rash Experience


Reader Melanie was kind enough to allow me to share her experience with the keto rash.  She also sent me a photo of her rash that she gave me permission to share.

Thank you for this blog! I just started a strict keto diet about 3 weeks ago and got the rash about 5 days ago. It started small and then spread into a pretty symmetrical rash all over my sides, lower torso, and mid back in two patches. The itch is making me crazy! It was only minimally calmed by hydrocortisone and calamine. Claritin didn’t do anything.

I went to the doctor last night (thought this was an atypical presentation of Shingles!) … The doctors didn’t know what it was so prescribed a 5 day moderately strong prednisone treatment (40 mg/day).

I’m going to add more fruits back into my diet and see what happens before I finish the prednisone.

Thanks again for creating this space to talk about the keto rash! Glad to know I’m not alone… never fun when your doctors call you a medical mystery!!


I checked in with her a few days later to see how adding in the fruits worked:

So far so good! Christmas fudge isn’t hurting either. 😉 the rash is fading and a lot less itchy already. Doctor prescribed me doxycycline after i left a voice mail about PP. I havent taken it yet… Hopefully it keeps disappearing and I won’t have to!

Merry Christmas!

After the holidays I touched bases with her again and that’s when she sent me the photo:

This is just one small portion of the overall problem… I had about 4x more rash on my torso than what’s in the one photo here.

Again, really glad you had this info out there or else I’d probably still be scratching my head.

I’ve been eating probably 70-125 g carbs/day and the rash is about 98% gone and still fading but darker pigmentation remains where the rash was… I probably won’t try full blown keto again.


She tried antihistamines, topical steroids, topical calamine lotion, and was even given oral steroids, none of which did the trick.  Given the available research thus far, I wouldn’t have expected these to.  It turns out, all she had to do was increase her carbs.

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  1. Berta

    Thank you SO much for your efforts on this site. I found it last night as I was kept away with my pain and itching, and this morning I had a bowl of oatmeal. Here’s hoping it works…fast! This rash is painful, crazy-making, and ugly. I have been on a diet for close to two months, very low carb, limiting eating to less than 8 hours a day (i.e., intermittent fasting), keeping myself under 1000 calories a day, and I have lost 15 pounds, more than 10% of my starting weight. The rash appeared last week when I was run down, started on my neck, moved to my earlobes, then chest and back and upper abdomen. It began as little bumps and now is flattened and red and looks like the pictures on this site. I had this rash before, more than a year ago, and I went to my primary (a young resident diagnosed scabies – nope), then a dermatologist (“I don’t know, probably a virus, do nothing.”) So I just tried to treat myself. Nothing works but some things provide minor temporary relief – most useful are colloidal oatmeal powder baths (Aveeno makes it, you can also get cheaper generic like Studio 36 brand), also hydrochortisol cream and antihistamine cream and Biafine brand cream. I also took an antihistamine and tried the lemon juice thing. Everything works a little bit, temporarily and then the itch and burn come back, I thought about what was common to my first experience of this awful rash and then today and I was on the cabbage soup diet back then. So, now I found your site and the rash pattern described matches mine. Weight loss is not worth this much pain and discomfort, not to mention I need to wear scarves every day because my neck is hideous with the rash, so back on the carbs I go. Hopefully, I’ll be able to maintain the weight loss as I add them back in. I’ve also noticed a constant thirst which I’ve read is another side effect of low carb/low calorie diets. My thirst has gotten worse with the rash. As for the cause, I’m curious about it and I will visit the site for that. I don’t believe it’s a “release of toxins.” Our body does a good enough job taking care of itself. I think it’s something else, something bad, our bodies getting pissed off at us that we’re doing something harmful somehow and sending a very loud signal that we should stop. Maybe it has to do with insulin, blood sugar maybe as the German doctor suggested. Either way, it’s not good. So fingers crossed the carbs will cure! Again, many thanks for this wonderful, helpful, thoughtful site.

    1. (Post author)

      I’m glad this site was able to help you and would love to hear how things worked out with the added carbs.

      In my opinion, it’s not necessary to be super low carb to lose weight. Weight loss is still possible while eating low-ish carbs without going ketogenic.

  2. Kathy

    I have same rash as her. I confirm Prurigo Pigmentosa and I am allergic to Minocycline.
    I have the same rash as her. all over my boob, my back.
    I treat my rash without antiobiotic. I bought a grapefruit seed extract online only about 10 bucks. I mix 10 drops into a cup of orange juice drink 2 times a day. My rash all gone.

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