Gluten-free cosmetics: does it matter?

Recently, I received some hair products for testing and I noticed that one of them states that it is gluten-free. I know something about gluten-free diet but I have no idea that we actually have gluten-free haircare or skincare products.

Effects of gluten on health and skin
Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye, barley and various types of grains – so most breads, pasta, and baked goods contain gluten. Some people with conditions such as celiac disease, autism, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADD, ADHD) need to eat gluten-free foods as gluten leads to inflammation of their small intestines and make them ill. I also understand that people who are sensitive to gluten may also suffer from skin conditions such as dry skin, eczema, or psoriasis. Although gluten sensitivity is specific to the intestines, using haircare and skincare products may trigger a gluten reaction.

Danger of ingesting gluten ingredients from cosmetics
Well, apparently, some believe that such ingredients in cosmetics can get absorbed into the body and trigger a gluten reaction. However, from my understanding, only ingesting the ingredient can cause such a reaction. But it’s best for those with gluten sensitivity to avoid cosmetics containing gluten because they may accidentally eat the cosmetic. So lip balms, lipsticks or even toothpaste need to be gluten-free. Shampoos, conditioners and facial cleansers are best gluten-free because users may accidentally swallow them since such products are used near the mouth.

Glutenous cosmetic ingredients
For a list of glutenous cosmetic ingredients, refer to this list at Gluten free Cosmetic Counter. But those with gluten sensitivity can take heart that various cosmetic companies have developed products that are gluten-free. Even if the products contain certain glutenous ingredients like wheat germ, these have been denatured to remove gliadin, and are completely safe and labelled as “gluten-free”.

Share your experience
I have no sensitivity towards gluten and hence, have no idea how cosmetics can trigger the condition. If you know something about this or perhaps am someone with sensitivity towards gluten, perhaps you can share your experience with us?

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  1. Lisa Rubin says:

    IN case you didn’t know, we actually ingest the lipstick on our lips so if you have a condition like celiac, you need gluten free lipstick. The remaining reasons for use of gluten free skin care and cosmetics is that if you use a face cream, hand cream or any kind of cosmetic and touch your face, then eat lunch, well, there you go… you are eating gluten! All you need is the smallest microscopic bits to set off a gastrointestinal reaction.I hope this helps.

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