Do You Really Need Gluten-Free Beauty Products?

Experts still don't agree about the effects of gluten in beauty products. Choosing gluten free beauty products depends mainly on the product and how sensitive you are to gluten.

October 19, 2015
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I have a few friends who suffer from celiac disease. They work hard to avoid gluten at all costs. I’ve changed my diet to cut out gluten because of auto-immune issues. One thing I hadn’t worried about was beauty products.

Take a look at your favorite foundation or lipstick. Does it mention anything about wheat or grain? Most beauty products aren’t clearly labeled, but many do contain small trace amounts of gluten. The question my friends worry about most is whether those beauty products are safe or not.

The Debate Rages On

So far, experts haven’t provided a clear yes or no answer on the effect of gluten in beauty products. I’m kind of shocked myself that no definitive proof has been found either way.

Some experts believe the amounts used in lotion, makeup and other beauty products are so minuscule that it doesn’t trigger the gluten allergy. Others claim the only way to experience a negative side effect is if the beauty product is digested.

Other medical professionals believe any gluten in any form is bad. They believe it’s possible to experience skin rashes. If the gluten levels are high enough, the gluten could be absorbed through the skin.

Avoid Digestible Products

I know it might seem disgusting to think of eating your beauty products, but think about it. You lick your lips with lipstick or lip balm on. You might swallow a tiny bit of toothpaste or mouthwash. You may even accidentally digest hand lotion after eating chicken wings.

My friends have converted to gluten free beauty products for all products they might digest. I don’t blame them. I wouldn’t take the risk either.

It’s the one area nearly all medical experts agree on. If you could swallow the product, those trace amounts of gluten could be dangerous. The less sensitive you are to gluten, the less likely you are to have a reaction.

Testing Your Own Reaction

I didn’t think a little bit of wheat in body lotion would be a problem. It wasn’t until my friend developed a rash on her legs that we discovered gluten free beauty products might not be a bad idea.

Before you rush out to buy gluten free everything, I’d also like to say another friend tested the same lotion with no negative side effects. The key is to test the products yourself.

Try any beauty product on a small area of skin for a few days to see how you react to it. If you develop a rash or any other side effects, stop using the product immediately.

I would also recommend testing any eye makeup when you don’t have to go out. Once again, the friend who had the reaction to the lotion had itchy, watery eyes after using mascara with gluten in it. You don’t want side effects popping up in the middle of an important first date or interview.

Diet Matters Most

The best thing to do for celiac disease or a gluten allergy is to change your diet. Even if you have dermatitis herpetiformis, a gluten free diet is still the most effective treatment.

I wish there was a clear answer about gluten free beauty products. For now, doctors believe most reactions to gluten only occur when gluten is digested. Placing small amounts on the skin shouldn’t affect you.

My friend found out certain products didn’t work so well with her. Other friends have no problem.

Even though I don’t have a gluten allergy, I’ve had skin rashes from using certain beauty products containing Vitamin C. This proves that a negative side effect can happen from other ingredients and not just gluten.

What Should You Do

Finding gluten free beauty products isn’t always easy. Eliminate any potential digestible beauty products and replace them with gluten free varieties. You may have to contact the company to find out if the product is truly gluten free. For everything else, test it first.

My friends haven’t gone completely gluten free for beauty and they’re doing fine. I recommend switching only when needed and keep using your favorite beauty products.

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