The promising potential role of ketones in inflammatory dermatologic disease: a new frontier in treatment research

J Dermatolog Treat. 2017 Sep;28(6):484-487. doi: 10.1080/09546634.2016.1276259. Epub 2017 Jan 24.


The ketogenic diet has been shown to be beneficial for numerous diseases across different organ systems, but a dearth of information exists regarding these benefits for skin disease. Here, we searched the literature for known mechanisms behind inflammation in dermatologic disease and correlated that with suggested mechanisms of anti-inflammatory activity of ketones and a ketogenic state in the human body to observe how ketones and ketosis might aid in the treatment of inflammatory skin diseases based on these mechanisms. Specifically, we found that ketones modulate the NRPL3 inflammasome, augment anti-oxidation against reactive oxygen species through various direct and indirect means, and may influence mTOR activity, which are all involved in inflammatory dermatologic diseases to an extent. This evidence shows that ketones and the ketogenic diet may have a promising role in the dermatologist's disease treatment repertoire. Our goal is to provide a novel direction for research in the role of a ketogenic diet and even exogenous ketone therapy in the treatment of inflammatory dermatologic disease.

Keywords: Ketogenic; diet; inflammasome; inflammation; mTOR.

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / etiology
  • Diet, Ketogenic / adverse effects
  • Humans
  • Inflammasomes / metabolism
  • Ketones / metabolism
  • Ketones / therapeutic use*
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein / metabolism
  • Oxidative Stress
  • Reactive Oxygen Species / metabolism
  • Skin Diseases / diet therapy*
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases / metabolism


  • Inflammasomes
  • Ketones
  • NLR Family, Pyrin Domain-Containing 3 Protein
  • NLRP3 protein, human
  • Reactive Oxygen Species
  • MTOR protein, human
  • TOR Serine-Threonine Kinases