Can the Keto Diet Improve Skin?

Keto, keto, keto–it’s everywhere, but can the keto diet improve skin? A ketogenic diet, otherwise known as “keto”, involves minimizing carbohydrate consumption to trick your body into burning more fat for energy. The theory works like this: if you cut out sugars and other carbs, your body will be forced to burn fat and it will learn to do so faster and more efficiently. Without carbs, the body enters into a state of “ketosis”. During ketosis, ketone bodies from fats are the main source of energy. 

A table filled with vegetables, meats and cheese

How the Keto Diet Helps with Inflammation

A low-carb diet can be an effective tool for losing weight and is helpful for managing type-II diabetes. Eating fewer carbohydrates can even reduce inflammation. It is well known that excess sugar consumption can cause chronic low-grade inflammation. For example, people with high sugar diets have more inflammatory markers in their blood. This is because excess sugar triggers the liver to produce additional fatty acids, causing an inflammatory response. 

Excess sugar can also speed up the breakdown of collagen in your skin, leading to more wrinkles and fine lines. People who follow a low sugar diet would not be affected by this and could potentially have firmer skin.  However, it is important to find balance to avoid having serious health effects. If you decide to go on the Keto diet check with your doctor to be sure it is safe for you.

  • Do not eliminate ALL carbs from your diet; continue to eat lots of vegetables and fruits.
  • Protein and fats are very important. About 65% of your calories should come from fats and the remaining 35% should be split between proteins and carbs. 
  • Since you will be eating more fat than usual, be sure to monitor your cholesterol levels and HDL/ LDL ratio with your physician. This will help to control your risk of cardiovascular disease. 

Possible Negative Effects of Keto Diet

Since we are all different, some of us may not have a positive response to this dietary change.

  • A high fat diet may increase sebum (oil) production. This could lead to more breakouts and blemishes.
  • A low carb diet can lead to malnutrition and constipation if not enough vegetables are eaten. This is why balanced eating is essential. 

Good Fats and Bad Fats

It’s important to note that eating a diet rich in good fats is different from bad fats. A high “good fat” diet would consist of unsaturated fats and essential fatty acids (EFA’s). You can read more about EFA’s in a previous post. To get good fats you would likely consume wild-caught salmon, avocado, eggs, chicken and nuts to name a few. A “bad fat” diet would include saturated fats from foods like short ribs, pork chops, french fries, whipped cream and chips. 

Can the Keto Diet Improve the Skin?

So, to answer the question of whether or not the keto diet can improve the skin, the answer is possibly. It will work for some and not for others. Deciding to diet or follow food restrictive guidelines is very personal and everyone does it for their own reasons. Personally, I don’t follow this diet, but feel that it’s a relevant topic and nice to know if it can improve the skin. I was introduced to the keto diet because I shop on Thrive Market and they’ve created filters with all of the various diets. Please share your personal experience about the keto diet in the comments, I’d love to hear from you.

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Photo credit goes to niklas_hamann@hamann, Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis@louishansel and Dan Gold @danielcgold

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