Why Am I Itching When Losing Weight?

More than one possible cause of developing itchy skin while losing weight exists. The cause may be the diet itself: low-fat diets in particular are likely to cause dry skin, which may become itchy. A lack of other nutrients, such as B and C vitamins, can also dry the skin, and fungal infections could be a factor as well. It's possible to manage this issue and still lose weight.

Feet standing on bathroom scale Credit: mark wragg/iStock/Getty Images

Low Fat Gives You an Itch

It's appropriate to cut out saturated fat, but cutting out all fat could cause itchy skin due to dryness. Without some "good" unsaturated fats, your skin doesn't get the nutrients needed to strengthen the cell membranes and keep the epidermis plumped up and holding moisture. Dermatologist Cheryl Karcher, in an interview in "Health" magazine, recommends that everyone gets 20 percent of their daily calories from unsaturated fats. According to the Harvard School of Public Health, dieters should keep an eye on the calories but include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats to keep the heart and skin healthy. You may also want to add a vitamin C supplement, or eat more citrus fruit. Keeping well hydrated is also essential.


Another potential cause is a rash caused by a fungal or bacterial infection. The medical term for this is "intertrigo." People going through extreme weight loss programs are often left with excess skin folds. The rash develops because it is difficult to keep the skin between the folds dry, particularly if the person is prone to sweating, leading to irritation and infection.

Is This an Emergency?

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.
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