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Myths About Gluten In Skin Care Products

Aug 28, 2008
Myths About Gluten In Skin Care Products

There has been some debate in recent years about whether gluten found in skin care products, and various other non-edible substances can cause a reaction in people with Celiac's disease. The official answer to this question is no, gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin, so these products can only cause a reaction in celiacs if they are actually swallowed.

Check products that come into contact with your mouth

Check any products that you might use around your mouth such as lip balm or lipstick, and dental products such as mouthwash or toothpaste, to see if they contain gluten, as these may well be ingested and cause a reaction if you have gluten sensitivity. Sometimes it is difficult to see whether such a product contains gluten from the list of ingredients because gluten containing products have so many different names. If you are unsure, contact the manufacturer and ask.

Is dermatitis herpetiformis caused by skin products containing gluten?

No, although dermatitis herpetiformis is a skin related condition associated with Celiac's disease, which is characterized by an itchy blistering rash, it appears in reaction to digesting gluten, not absorbing it through the skin.

Experts state that skin products containing gluten will not have any effect on dermatitis herpetiformis. However, many people that suffer from this condition claim that their symptoms increase with the use of cosmetics containing gluten, so you may want to steer clear of these just to be on the safe side.

So what is causing my skin reaction?

If you have a skin reaction when you use a cosmetic product containing gluten, consult your doctor or dermatologist to find out what is causing it. It is possible that you do have an allergy to wheat or another grain that is not directly linked to Celiac's disease. Equally you may be sensitive to another ingredient in the products that has no relation to wheat or other grains at all.

Other non-edible products to consider

One item that has been the subject of investigation is the gum that is used on postage stamps and envelopes, that needs to be licked to make it sticky. Envelope manufacturers have confirmed that this gum does not contain gluten, so there is no need for celiacs to avoid licking envelopes.

Something that you should be aware of if your children are celiacs is the play dough they may use at kindergarten or school. This is often made with wheat flour, and if your child puts it in their mouth, they may ingest some of the gluten. If your child's teachers are aware of their gluten sensitivity, they should keep an eye on them when they play with dough, but mention it anyway as some people may not have made the connection.

There are all sorts of hidden sources of gluten to look out for, and cosmetic and dental products that will be used around the mouth can be a particular cause for concern. However, most skin care products should not cause a reaction in celiacs unless they are put in the mouth because gluten cannot be absorbed through the skin.
About the Author
Sean Ambrose runs http://www.gluten-answers.com the web's most thorough source on providing free information on learning to manage a Gluten free diet successfully.
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