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Demand for gluten-free beauty products growing

If you have celiac disease or non-celiac gluten sensitivity and still occasionally get ill even though you believe you have been diligent in your label checking it can leave you scratching your head at times. When people are first diagnosed, not surprisingly all the attention goes to the obvious offenders which are most carbs and their brethren.

Gluten-free beauty products on the rise
Photo by Hannah Reyes/Getty Images

Now more and more people are finding out that gluten exists in some less obvious places. Is your lip gloss making you sick? Well it very well could be if it contains hydrologized wheat protein. Is your shampoo making the back of your neck burn? Gluten could be the culprit again sorry to say!

There are many culprits that most people may not have even thought of like stamp and envelope glues, lip balms, and toothpaste as an example. Although it may seem that all this is a little on the hypochondriac side, if you are intolerant or very sensitive to gluten, wiping it on your lips or skin is indeed enough to cause an adverse reaction.

As with all things, demand drives the market and there are now several well-known companies filling that demand. Many of the products are sold in Whole Foods and other health food chains. If the products have been certified by a third party then an icon should be on the packaging.

Some companies capitalizing on demand are Acure, Murad, EO, MyChelle, and Suntegrity. Skin care companies such as Avalon Organics and Jason have recently introduced products such as Avalon’s gluten-free cucumber products and Jason's gluten-free lotions, washes and hair products.

So what is wheat, normally thought of existing solely in food products, doing in cosmetics and skin care? It’s because wheat protein is used as a binding agent for skin firming creams and hair products designed to make hair stronger.

Children's products are on the rise as well. The Whole Foods house brand 365 has recently put out a line of gluten-free bubble bath and even older established companies such as derma-e are reformulating the few products they have that contained gluten.

Jenny Kim, associate professor of clinical medicine at the University of California-Los Angeles’s David Geffen school of medicine said that most thought gluten-free skin care was just a fad in part because the gluten molecules are too large to penetrate through skin. As it turns out, that’s only true for skin that’s intact and healthy, which doesn’t include people with eczema and other skin conditions.

Reactions to these gluten containing cosmetics for some people with skin conditions includes rashes and even respiratory problems. Whether you are celiac or even sensitive to gluten, it makes sense to put a little energy into researching which beauty products don’t contain the allergen going forward.

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