Skin issues on carnivore diet


Hello, I have an issue when going full carnivore, does anybody have similar experience or knows the underlying cause? After roughly two weeks of carnivore/zero carb(beef+chicken wings occasionally), I start getting underskin bumps on my face, in the hair and on my neck. It’s not standard acne, the skin is just slighly reddish with some matter below the skin creating a bump, Those bumps then stay there for a very long time until I stop strictly following the carnivore diet. Even a bit of fruit or some rice/potatoes consumed on one day make the problem disappear within the next 2-3 days. Without this however the same bumps can last even for weeks. I have reproduced this more than once so it is not just a random thing.

(Robin) #2

Welcome. The standard answer is to give it more time. But since you have tested the results with carnivore and then adding carbs back in already…. I can only assume you would do better on a regular keto diet.
Carnivore isn’t for everyone. If you have a very specific reason for going full carnivore… you may want to ease into it gradually.
You’ve provided no other information, like why. Weight loss? Diabetic? Arthritis? Age? current weight, etc etc etc.
Without more info, we can’t really provide any possible insights.


Not sure, but it sounds like what people refer to as oxalate dumping. The idea is that when you stop eating vegetables high in oxalates, your body begins getting rid of them, sometimes through the surface of the skin. I’ve read where people recommend adding back in a few vegetables and making a slower transition to carnivore. This isn’t an area where I feel very confident, so you might look it up on World Carnivore Tribe Facebook or such.


I try to answer your questions below. What other information do you need exactly? Also, thanks to the other poster for some insight.

Weight loss? Not the main reason though it obviously helps with that. I was diagnosed with metabolic syndrome a few years back - being very slim on most of the body but having excessive belly fat. I was able to handle that with keto exactly as you suggested. I’m trying the carnivore diet because it seems to stop 100% of my migraines and >90% of seborheic dermatitis which keto alone does not do.

Diabetic? As above, at one point I was probably pre-diabetic. On carnivore diet my blood tests are perfect.

Arthritis? Nope.

Age? 37.

Current weight? 67kg with 185cm which afaik is the very bottom of healthy BMI range. I cannot gain weight very easily now, that is the complete opposite of what was going on in the past. The metabolic syndrome thing happened at ~82kg with standard “western”-type diet…

(Bacon enough and time) #5

Unfortunately, I can’t be of any help, since my experience with skin problems has been the exact opposite of yours. My skin is much better, the less carbohydrate I eat.

(Robin) #6

Thanks for that info. There are folks on here for the same reasons as you… hopefully they will soon chime in.

(Edith) #7

Definitely look into oxalate dumping. It usually starts around the 2 week mark after removing all oxalate containing foods from your diet. It can be very uncomfortable, but a good thing in the long run.

That fact that eating some fruit helps it go away pretty much confirms it is oxalate dumping. Oxalates are found in fruits and veggies in differing amounts. For example, spinach is very high in oxalate. By eating some oxalate containing foods, your body stops the dumping process.

(Allie) #8

My thinking too.


Ok, thanks to all for the feedback. From what I read about it this explanation looks very reasonable. I will try to get through the process somehow and will report back with the result. It will take some time though…


I can’t offer much advice, as I’m just an individual with my own experiences but the bumps on your face sound a bit like roseaca? But then it could also just be an allergic reaction, a histamine response such as you get when you break out in hives. But I can relate to the frustration of skin problems, as I do have roseaca. I expected all this to get better on a ketogenic diet as I significantly lowered my carbs, my intake of fruit and vegetables and focused more on meats. But my skin did not improve, my roseaca has instead flared up. My type the bumpy kind where you get pimples and redness. It may in your case be a matter of your body dumping oxalates as some here have already mentioned. Or, because your body is going through such a substantial change, a healing crisis. When these sort of things happen where the body throws up a response, my response is never to toughen it out, but to rather ease back and see if a more gradual approach is better. But that is me and we’re all different and in the end it’s what feels right for you that matters.


Hello everyone, I have some random observations related to the problem I mentioned.

First of all, I was not able to solve the problem and it stays pretty much the same after more than 6 months of experimentation. Second of all, I don’t think that it has anything to do with oxalates as:
a) supplementing citrates and pure citric acid had no effect on me,
b) the skin problem seems to also be followed by other problems such as frequent urination and food comas occuring within 30-45 minutes after eating and these problems also worsen the longer I stay zero-carb; btw, I don’t get food comas when eating carbs,
c) all the problems (skin + all mentioned in b) ) are almost immediately improved by consuming low to no oxalate carbohydrates (refined sugar, honey, low-oxalate fruits).

I tried pretty much everything that I know trying to improve the symptoms - more/less protein, more/less fat, more/less salt, OMAD vs. multiple meals, supplementing betaine HCl and digestive enzimes… nothing helped. I also had my kidney function lab-tested as well as my A1C, everything seems to be fine except for slightly increased protein levels.

The weirdest complication actually seems to be those food comas which made me think there may be a problem with insulin signalling and/or maybe slight immediate hypoglycemia. Besides that theory I do not have a clue about what is happening.

(Robin) #13

Food comas? That’s a new one to me. What is that?

(Edith) #14

When I did my carnivore trials, I had the food comas particularly after eating a large beef meal. It didn’t happen after chicken, eggs, or pork. You might want to read up on histamine. My histamine intolerance got worse when I tried carnivore. When I went back to eating some vitamin C containing fruits, my histamine intolerance improved within just a few days.


There are a lot of cultures that consider food comas after eating lunch normal and a rest period/nap is common practice after lunch.

(Edith) #16

True, but here in the US, I think it would be frowned upon if I was found after lunch asleep at my desk, drooling on my keyboard. :rofl:


Lol, yes. Just saying, if a lot of cultures consider it normal, it can’t be a serious health issue for all (of course there can always be an underlying health issue for individuals).


I have read the definition of food coma. Sounds very normal to me. If I ate a huge amount of food, no matter what kind, I probably would get it. Maybe the word “lethargy” isn’t right but very low energy, sure. And office workers surely can stay sitting even when super low energy, I did it all the time… I just don’t necessary have the brain capacity to do anything. But it was my mornings (well-fasted), I never ate a ton in the office or at my flexible lunch break.

I almost never eat a huge amount of food, always stop at 2000 kcal. That’s pretty small with my dense food. I get lower-energy after a decent sized meal too (as if I wasn’t low energy enough before…) but my body need to focus on digestion or something. I get cheered up though (except when I get too hungry, that’s not fun) and I get weak without food and lose focus so eating is still a good deal (and the joy, don’t forget that).

IDK about other cultures but when I was a kid or a young adult, I totally considered food comas after a big holiday feast normal. Everyone looked like it was normal for them. So it didn’t happen after a workday lunch, at least not on a serious level.

Carbs or lack of them play some role but it’s quite similar without them, a big meal makes me lazy (well, even more than I normally am) and potentially sleepy. Just like a breakfast make me hungry, no matter the macros. Calories in the morn: bad. Too big meal: loss of energy. More carbs often mean more calories too though.

It’s unusual if one gets food comas on keto and not with carbs but maybe it’s about the fat…? Maybe they eat bigger meals on keto while it’s the opposite for me (or used to, I am not sure anymore) as I eat the usual amount of fat either way (typically more if there are more carbs)…? Or it’s something else.

(Eve) #19

@VirginiaEdie. Hi Virginia, which foods give you trouble with the histamine intolerance? And did tye keto diet help you?

(Edith) #20

When I did my carnivore trial, the biggest histamine culprits were beef (particularly grass fed) and seafood. Off carnivore, I still have trouble if I eat too much aged meat such as salami, seafood that isn’t VERY fresh, and fermented beverages such as wine. (I drink alcohol maybe two or three times a year, so that’s not really an issue.) Grass fed beef still causes me trouble but conventionally raised/finished beef bought from the grocery store does not. My theory is that grass fed beef is aged longer than the conventionally raised beef. There are fruits and vegetables that either contain histamine or cause the body to release histamine, but they don’t seem to bother me.

Making sure I put fresh meat in the freezer as soon as I get home and defrosting just before I use it, not eating leftovers that are more than a few days old, keeping aged and processed meats to a minimum, and making sure I get enough vitamin C seem to help me the most.

I noticed/figured out my histamine intolerance after starting keto, but I don’t think it was keto that caused it. I think doing keto and then reading papers and listening to podcasts about food and it’s effects on our minds and bodies helped me figure it out what was going on. My allergies in general are way better than they used to be. I think that keto and learning about histamine containing foods helped improve my allergies over all.

Oh, one last thing: Dairy! Dairy was big contributor to my allergies and joint problems. Stopping all dairy was probably the biggest help to my overall health.

(Bob M) #21

I must not have issues with histamines, as I have nothing that Edith has. I wonder if histamine intolerance is a genetic thing?

Hmm…as always, these things are complex.

I eat a lot of what is considered to be very high in histamines with no issues, so I must not have histamine intolerance.