You may have noticed as you walk the aisles of your local grocery store that more and more foods are being labeled as “gluten-free.” For people with gluten sensitivity, these foods are a game changer for improving their quality of life. But what about gluten in skincare products? Stay tuned!
Celiac disease is a debilitating disease causing diarrhea, abdominal pain, fatigue, and weight loss. This is all caused by an allergy to gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, rye and other grains. Eating just the tiniest microscopic amount of gluten will set off an attack in people with gluten sensitivity regardless of their symptoms.
In some cases, people also get an intolerably itchy bumpy rash called dermatitis herpetiformis. And some people even get the rash without gastrointestinal symptoms.
The rash typically consists of small, itchy, red bumps which actually have tiny blisters in them and are usually distributed symmetrically on extensor surfaces like the buttocks, scalp, elbows, knees, back, or even the face. The bumps are so itchy that people wind up scratching them until they bleed. Despite its name, dermatitis herpetiformis is not related to or caused by the herpes virus: the name simply means that it’s a skin inflammation having an appearance similar to herpes.
But in people with dermatitis herpetiformis, what about gluten in skincare products? There are increasing reports of people with gluten sensitivity developing symptoms from gluten containing skincare products. And with the increasing popularity of “natural” skincare products, more and more products either include ingredients derived from gluten containing grains or ingredients that are contaminated with them. For example, skincare products containing the effective antioxidant Vitamin E are very popular. But Vitamin E is sometimes derived from a wheat source. Hydrolyzed Wheat Protein and Wheat Germ Oil are two other ingredients to look out for.
So if you are gluten insensitive, look for gluten free skincare products which are becoming increasingly available. A Google search will easily help you find them. What you put on your skin may be just as important as what you put in your stomach.