rash on my arms,legs

Answered on August 19, 2014
Created May 20, 2012 at 11:46 PM

I have been fighting this rash for over a month now. I have been to a doctor and they don't know what is wrong. my skin is so irritated and it burns. I have tried very cream and lotion out there. I am at my witts end. I just want the burnin to stop. any advise on what I can do. please help



on May 21, 2012
at 12:14 AM

Where is it? On your arms, legs? Also, what do you eat?



on May 21, 2012
at 12:13 AM

Do you remember how did it start? Were you on Paleo then or did you go Paleo after you have developed it?

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7 Answers


on May 21, 2012
at 01:04 AM

I went through a similar and terrible ordeal 2 years ago with a crazy rash on arms/legs/torso. The rash would be terrible, then fade over 3 weeks, but a new cycle would begin elsewhere.

I went to my family doc, a dermatologist, allergist. I had biopsies taken (inconclusive). I tried strong prescription hydro cortisone creams, anti-fungal creams, etc. The allergy tests were not particularly helpful (only showed baker yeast & brewers yeast).

I thought maybe it was a reaction to the one prescription drug I was taking, so I stopped, but it didn't make a difference. Since I took lots of supplements, I likewise stopped them all, but it didn't have an effect.

I tried to rule out each of the top 8 food allergies (one by one). This turned out to be a terrible approach. It was an impossible to do task eating prepared foods, and eating out.

Based on yeast allergy result, someone suggested maybe it was a candida yeast problem, so I went on systemic anti-funcal pills, and cut back my carbs a great deal. After 4 or 5 months of that, I concluded it wasn't that.

Eventually (and I wish I did this sooner), I went on an extremely severe elimination diet: chicken, sunflower oil, rice and salt. I didn't get immediate relieve, but eventually things started to settle down. The one really confusing thing is that once an area of skin became involved, it took 3 weeks to resolve, making trouble-shooting confusing. I would make a diet change, and if the skin wasn't better in a few days, I would make a wrong conclusion.

With all that said, if confronted with the same problem again, here's what I would do:

Very low carb ketogenic diet (no sugar, no fruit)

Stick to a very few number of safe foods you don't seem to react to: (grass fed beef).

For the fat, I would use coconut oil because it is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial.

Avoid foods high in histamine (google 'low histamine food list').

Avoid left overs because they are high in tyramine and histamines. This wasn't obvious to me: I maintained very detailed food logs but didn't not account for how many days old the left overs were in the fridge. Consume all cooked proteins within 24 hours.

Also avoid fermented foods.

Once I did all of these (at the same time, and for a full month), things cleared up for me. If this has anything to do with food, this approach might help make it obvious.

Do keep a food diary (each day is a row, foods and food groups as different columns). Also include columns for environmental factors (if you switched detergents, etc.) Speaking of that, try switching to a hypo-allergenic laundry detergent.

Please keep us posted, Mike



on May 21, 2012
at 10:44 AM

I had the same issue, it was excema, which basically means a rash that they dont really know why you have it.

They say its a sign of whats happening inside you, and changing my diet to Paleo brought it out in full force. I also noticed that it had to do with the cold, damp conditions where we were living-would disappear when we went to warmer weather on the weekends. I've since moved and only one flare up in 6 months.

The only thing that got rid of it for me when it was super itchy and hot was a cortesone cream. Coconut oil helped the first day then made it extremely dry and 'thick' after a few days.

Start with your diet, elimination is the best best. Make changes to soaps, try not to itch (not easy).


on May 21, 2012
at 12:51 AM

I think if anyone is going to have a shot at helping you, we're going to need more information. So, if you would, please provide location, size, & a description of the rash. When did it first begin to bother you? Is it ever worse? Has any healing taken place? Do you have any known allergies? Etc.


on June 13, 2012
at 04:47 AM

The issue of Paleo or carb restricted diets causing nasty rashes is something that I think really warrants further research and analysis.

I experienced a persistent rash and small papules on my stomach for several months when restricting carbohydrates and sugar while losing 25 pounds. This was accompanied by intermittent constipation which I never experienced before in my life.

Eventually the rash went away, but came back for a few months a year later.

Even though I have continued for 18 months to eat significantly less carbs than I used to, I have concerns about whether this way of eating is actually very healthy for me, based upon the skin reactions I've had and the negative impact to my digestion.

It appears my "symptoms" are not unique.



on May 21, 2012
at 03:00 PM

Get allergy testing done (by an allergist) and if you haven't had a celiac test yet, get that done. Think of things that have changed since the rash came about- stress levels? Weather? New environment? New foods introduced? Humidity? Allergens?

In the meantime, to manage the itching, my boyfriend uses an old fisherman's trick: soak the affected areas in lightly salted oatmeal. It is the only real soothing thing he can do while he has it. Ditch all soaps- he washed his whole body with a cut-off nylon filled with oatmeal. Use a strong fragrance free moisturizer like shea butter, cocoa butter, or diaper cream. It may be worth it to get a cortesone cream, but watch for skin thinning and keep the use to the short term (if your skin is very delicate, it may thin and tear quite quickly).

Get tested for scabies, too.


on May 21, 2012
at 11:09 AM

Last year, when I switched back to low-carb (pre-paleo) and suddenly started losing a lot of weight, I ended up with an outbreak of dyshidrotic eczema on my right hand and forearm, plus a patch on my chin. It was tiny blisters that formed deep in the skin, then gradually rose to the surface and broke. I used to get it as a kid, but doctors had nothing useful to say about it back then, and a google search made it pretty clear they weren't going to have anything new to tell me now. The itching and burning was hellish, but there was nothing I could do but wait it out. It took four months to finally clear up.

I did get a hunch that it was related to the sudden weight loss, and that maybe there were "toxins" stored in my fat cells that were finally being released in large amounts, and that maybe the eczema was a sign that my other bodily systems were too swamped to deal with all of it. I didn't know for sure if that was it.

But someone else here, on an older thread asking about a rash (http://paleohacks.com/questions/39586/detox-rash-accompanies-fat-loss/64502#64502) has suggested that it was due to Omega-6s stored in fat cells and cell membranes that were being released during weight loss. They help create inflammatory hormones, and the rash is due to that. The solution she suggested was simple: take a boatload of Omega-3s to balance things out.

And right now, I'm dropping weight really quickly again, and having some new skin issues, so I think I'll try doing just that. I don't know if it will work for you, but it might be worth a shot.



on June 13, 2012
at 06:13 AM

When you starve your "bad" bacteria of sugar, they don't die -- they permeate the gut and invade other tissues in search of sustenance. If you're going down the low-carb abyss, STOP.

Climb out while you still can.

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