Low skin turgur and dry skin


Hi all,

TL;DR: I have decreased skin turgor on carnivore. It is not a fat, salt or hydration issue. I suspect it is some kind of deficiency since it resolved 2-3 days after reintroducing plants. What would you say is the most probable cause?

My story:

I started carnivore for the second time now.

First time was to try and cure a recurrent corneal erosion that is not caused by an injury (instead probably some autoimmune condition). However, I also was curious about what it does to my other conditions, such as atopic dermatitis, digestion issues, migraine, joint pains. And also I thought it would be nice to lose some weight although I am not overweight. I went all in and started on a lion diet for 3 months. Only fatty meat, salt and water for a proper elimination diet. Also liver once a week for extra vitamins and bone marrow sometimes for more fat.

Most of the things that one can read about came true:

  • Transitional phase was not nice with all the minerals leaving with the water (Yes, I know, salt. Playing with the quantities did not do much though.)

  • Dermatitis disappeared in the first week, came back worse than before and then slowly disappeared again. And it stayed away for 6 months after I changed to a “normal” diet with a lot of crap in it.

  • Digestion got better but never resolved on carnivore. I suspect too much fat. I wanted to do it right so I took extra care to eat enough fat. But after the diet it was perfect for a good amount of time.

  • Joint pains disappeared and stayed away for some time but came back. But not in all places and not as bad as before.

  • Migraine never came back

  • Weight went down dramatically. But also my hunger. I was so sick of meat that in the end I had to force myself to eat and I am sure I did not get to 2000 calories/day which is probably less than I need. So the weight went down more than I wanted.

  • No side effects except for bad skin turgor

  • Unfortunately the diet had no effect on my eyes

Reintroducing food was pretty easy. I started eating everything again within two days with no issues. The skin turgor normalized within 2-3 days with the introduction of plant food.

Since some time after quitting the diet everything came back (except for the migraine) I am trying to do this a second time but now with more variation. So basically I do not eat plant products. I do eat lamb, beef, chicken, fish, dairy, eggs. I still try to get the fatty cuts but I do not put so much emphasis on fat as before and my digestion is fine this time and I felt crappy about two days in the first week. Which is way better than the last time. But the damned turgor issue came back the same week I started. As said, I experimented with the amounts of fat, salt, water and even some liver when doing it the first time and couldn’t get rid of it. Any suggestions what else I could try?

Also, if you are interested in some details regarding my story, ask away.

(Bacon enough and time) #2

Sounds like dehydration and not enough sodium, to me. Ensure sodium intake is in the range of 4-6 g/day (including sodium already present in food), which translates to 10-15 g/day of sodium chloride. Also be sure to drink to thirst (i.e., not to a predetermined water target). That will minimise hypovolaemia and your skin issues, without diluting your electrolytes. Once you get your salt intake in the proper range, you can then investigate whether you need to supplement your magnesium and/or potassium intake, but get the sodium right, first, because enough sodium helps the body with regulating the other two.



I tried that during my first round of the lion diet. About 5g of salt for about a week with drinking to thirst. Also tried targeting for about 3 liters of water which is more than I usually want to drink. No changes at all. Magnesium and potassium would be the next things I think I want to try. I also went through the vitamin alphabet already. That did not change anything either.

(Bacon enough and time) #4

I’m not a carnivore myself, for various reasons, but the long-term carnivores all advise giving the new way of eating a lengthy trial, of at least three months. The reason is that even going from keto levels of carb intake to zero-carb requires an adaptation period, and things can get worse before they get better.

However you decide to proceed, good luck to you.


My first lion diet attempt went for three months for exactly that reason. The turgor only got worse during that time.

(Bacon enough and time) #6

Well, then, don’t listen to me. I’m out of ideas, sorry!

(KM) #7

Keto and carnivore both cause a release of metabolic water. Even if you’re not dehydrated, the volume of water in your body will decrease. Our skin gets a lot less elastic as we age. I’m not sure decreased skin turgor is necessarily an issue or symptom of anything other than the fact that you are indeed in ketosis. How old are you? I’m 60, keto has definitely left me with more inelastic loose skin than I’d desire.


I am 34. My grandma is over 90 and her hands currently look better than mine.

(Bacon enough and time) #9

I’d like to say that this issue will probably sort itself out over time, but that would simply be wishful thinking on my part. My skin is better on keto than it ever was before, but I also lost weight slowly enough for it to remain tight.

It just occurred to me that a collagen supplement might be helpful. A number of our members swear by it. If you do a forum search on collagen, some useful information will probably turn up.


I did not try to supplement but I tried eating more stuff with collagen in it. Skin, tripe and pork rinds. Can’t eat pork rinds anymore because I had to barf from an overdose one night…
All of those did not help either


Turns out humans need a ridiculous amount of potassium. Assuming I eat about 1kg of food per day with 400mg/100g of potassium, I get about the amount I theoretically need. However, I started supplementing another 1000mg per day. It got slightly better, then worse again. And in addition I got severe stomach pains. This is not the first time. I already had these issues with another potassium supplement. So I decided to stop it. Issue is still not solved and it does not seem to me that potassium is the culprit.

So I already tried supplementing:
Vitamins a, b (all of them), c, d, e, k2
Omega 3

All of them in high amounts for some time (like a week). Considering that it resolved the last time in only 2-3 days after returning to plants, all of this should be more than enough if it was causing this issue.

More suggestions?


More than one month ago I went on vacation and basically ate whatever I wanted for a week (you know, cake, wheat, all the deadly stuff). After returning one month ago I went back to carnivore right away. During the vacation the skin turgor issue resolved again within few days. And after getting back on the diet I don’t have these issues anymore. I changed nothing carnivore wise. I still eat the same stuff as before my vacation. Wtf?

(Mike W.) #14

What time of year was it? My skin is always way worse in the Winter when it’s so dry. In the Summer there is much more natural humidity in the air.


It was colder when my skin was dry. But I don’t really see why that issue resolves when introducing food. It just doesn’t seem very plausible that there is a connection between humidity and the type of skin issues I had. My hands were not “just a little dryer than usual”.

(Bacon enough and time) #16

It wasn’t introducing food, it was reintroducing carbohydrate, also known as glucose. For every glucose molecule the body stores, it also has to store three water molecules, so the bloat from the carbs filled out your skin. This is why in my original post in this thread I was talking about getting enough sodium and drinking to thirst, so that you could stay fully hydrated.

(Mike W.) #17

Exactly. Turgur, which I just found what it was but have experienced for a while, is almost always associated with dehydration and a pretty late stage of it. I’m with Paul. You’re dehydrated.


I have no direct knowledge (or so I thought) and had to look it up but I actually seem to be experiencing it today (the skin on my hands looks crepier than usual (50s). It is the end of the day here and I did get a lot of summer sun this weekend and a lot more walking around than normal. I drank a ton yesterday and a decent amount today (or so I thought but I am a little thirsty but cannot drink as much as I would like or I will be up all night). I am not doing carnivore and while I try to be as low carb as possible, the last week or so it has probably been around 100grs a day or so which is probably too high but I do not seem to be gaining (trying an experiment to make my eating window earlier and have been eating a lot of commercially prepared food). I have eaten a lot of Chinese food this week which is high in sodium but I do not seem to be retaining water either

Not sure if this is the same. Dr. Jason Fung who is a big proponent of fasting talks about how none of his patients with large weight losses through fasting have had to have plastic surgery for excess skin. This is because fasting stimulates autophagy which results in the breakdown of old protein during extended fasting including those found in old skin cells