Resistance to sunburn on Keto

(Bob M) #101

It’s supposedly more the lack of PUFAs than carbs. But you can eat a high PUFA keto diet, eg, chicken, avocado, seed oils. I find my exposure times are longer, but I can still get red.


I was just thinking about this today. I used to burn really easily & thought it was just my Scottish DNA. But since starting keto 3 years ago, I can’t recall getting sunburnt since (nor getting sick, not even once in 3 years!)… and I work outdoors.

(Susan) #103

I was on a 48 hour fast that I ended yesterday at 5pm (doing a 24 hour one atm) and got a bad sunburn -covered the grand kids in cream but neglected myself, my chest and arms, and face are all burned…


I don’t burn, but that’s because I avoid the sun at all costs. I’m extremely photo-sensitive; if the sun is out I’m half blind and my eyes water, and if it’s even a little hot I get light-headed and nauseous in less than a minute of exposure.

In my ongoing quest to improve my health, I came across Vit D deficiency. So I had mine tested. Some labs have the “normal” cutoff at 30, some labs have it at 50 (if I’m remembering the numbers right). My level was NINE. So now I take 10,000iu twice a week. Problem solved :slight_smile:


I have always burned easily and as a result over the past decade or more (when did sunscreen become a thing?) I have used lots and lots of sunscreen. No matter how vigilant I tried to be, however, usually at least once a summer I would forget and get a bad burn.

I’ve been Keto now for more than a year and a half. Last summer I wondered if something was different, but then this spring I went out on the first warm, sunny day and forgot sunscreen. I was wearing a tank top, and all that lily-white skin was just out there in the sun. Finally after a few hours I realized what I was doing - but I had to go in at that point anyway. I was burned, no doubt about it, but not badly. Before I would have been lobster red and in for a week of pain and blistering, etc. Not only did that not happen, but the next day I was fine. That has NEVER happened before. So there is something at work for at least some of us - no doubt this falls into the typical diet/health realm - its different for different people. But this is a game changer for me. I spend as much time outdoors, year round, as I can. I no longer have to be paranoid about the sun.

And re: the vitamin D issue - I have had my vitamin D level tested for years and have supplemented for years. D3, actually. I noticed a huge change with that, but it wasn’t about burning. Instead I found I no longer got sun sick after the first sunny day in spring. I used to have to be very, very careful, or I would be dealing with almost sunstroke. No more. Now I think of that as more specifically “vitamin D overdose disease.”

(Wendy) #106

Well I have lived in Parker Az for 36yrs! Ive been on Strict Keto Since April. And I have been sunburned this yr on the back of my neck already , and the Mosquitoes still Love me. So that doesn’t ring true for me! I no longer am a sun worshiper. Paid the price for that about 5yrs ago. Had to have a Mohs procedure done on my nose. Very painful,and was worried sick, that I would return within 2 yrs. But with hats,sunscreen and longsleve shirts. I’ve been cancer free for going on 6yrs! There are alot good tanning lotion options out there. They’ve come along way. Tan in a bottle is the safer and a less painful way to go. :sunglasses:

('Jackie P') #107

I always use factor 30-50 on my face for pure vanity since I heard the connection between sun and wrinkles!
I went for a good walk by the sea yesterday, my face is brown but my chest and back and a little on my arms are burnt! So I’m guessing I am exempt from the benefits and will be using sunscreen as usual😕

(April Harkness) #108

I typically get a nice tan ( im half filipino after all) , but noticed this summer i got darker! And i love it! No burns. I do put sunscreen on my face. Just in case but nevet put it on my body. This has not been the best Summer in Chicago. Did not start wearing my summwr clothes till a few days ago and noticed my skin was just glowing.

(Ellenor Malik (spare me thy resistant starch spiel)) #109

I have to wonder: does keto sunburn resistance come from people avoiding polyunsaturated fat excesses?


That’s a good theory for one way it could happen. Decreasing PUFA and increasing O3/O6 should help with cellular integrity at all levels. There’s also less oxidative damage in the body without carbs as a primary fuel. And there’s the effect of fat soluble vitamins being absorbed and balanced better. Plus people are likely to pay more attention to supplementing when they start keto.
Be nice to pinpoint which is the major factor.

(Bob M) #111

The problem with PUFAs is they supposedly take a while to get out of your body. Seen estimates of years.

(Ellenor Malik (spare me thy resistant starch spiel)) #112

The Canadian government still believes there’s no such thing as a healthy tan.


Well shucks, I’m in deep (high) ketosis and I’m still getting bitten by mosquitoes while backpacking but I’m not swelling up around the bites anywhere near as much as i use to. I’m still having to use DEET. But I’m also pumping out tones of Co2 so they find me quickly when I stop for a breather.

Havent had a chance to test the sunburn hypothesis, I’m getting to old to run around shirtless LOL


Chris Masterjohn explains the sunburn resistance at a cellular level on the Peter Attia Drive podcast. It is the regulation of inflammatory pathways and biochemical signalling via ketones and NAD at the biochemical level that creates it, especially in high wear and tear body epithelial tissues like the skin. Whereas PUFAs drive a different biochemistry of inflammation.

  • NAD: How it works, supplements, sirtuins, and the central role of the liver [1:09:30];

(Tyler) #115

I’m a mosquito magnet. One summer evening at the river a few years back I had 87 bites on my back.

I’ve probably had 3 bites since June 1. My bites’ swelling will dissipate after about a day but then will turn red and scar a little.

As for the sunburn, I have rosacea and have to wear special zinc and titanium sunscreen on my face. If I don’t wear it, I’ll have a very red rash with tiny pustules with inflammation. I’ve not been brave enough to spend all day on the water without covering up.

(Chris - #116

Found your problem.

(Ellenor Malik (spare me thy resistant starch spiel)) #118

Who hurt you, son?

(Empress of the Unexpected) #119

Feet laden with bites. It is all I can do to keep from scratching. Keto does not keep you safe from bug bites, sorry.

(Susan) #120

I am so covered in mosquito bites as well, Regina… tons of them so itchy!

(Empress of the Unexpected) #121

But why just the ankles and feet?