How eating ‘healthy fats’ can affect your skin

How eating ‘healthy fats’ can affect your skin

Despite its cult-like following, the beloved keto diet comes with some need-to-know side effects, from keto crotch to the dreaded keto flu.

Now, a new study published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology has shed further light on how a ketogenic diet can influence skin health. Despite healthy fats generally being regarded as good for our skin microbiome, researchers have found the types of healthy fats we put into our bodies might matter.

Researchers looked at different variations of the high-fat keto diet and found certain fats affected skin inflammation conditions. For instance, keto diets that were high in medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) such as coconut, lead to psoriasis-induced inflammation, especially if paired with omega-3 fatty acids. While, on the other hand, a keto diet heavy in long-chain triglycerides (LCTs) such as olive oil, fish, nuts and avocados, did not.

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So what does this mean, exactly? Basically, if you are prone to skin inflammation, such as psoriasis, you might want to go easy on the coconut and bulletproof coffee. Although that is not to say you should never consume these things either, as MCTs have been shown to have many health benefits, from boosting energy to lowering cholesterol.

This new research backs up previous studies that have found a keto diet can cause skin inflammation, otherwise known as a “keto rash”. However the point of difference here is that those studies tended to focus on the impact of carb restriction, rather than increasing certain types of healthy fats, on our skin.

“This study leads to a broader understanding of possible effects of ketogenic diets with a very high fat content on skin inflammation and underlines the importance of the composition of fatty acids in the diet,” said Barbara Kofler, co-lead investigator of the study.

“I think most people following a ketogenic diet don’t need to worry about unwanted skin inflammation side effects. However, patients with psoriasis should not consider a ketogenic diet an adjuvant therapeutic option.”

In other words, if you are prone to inflammatory skin conditions, it is something to be aware of.